Rainy days have always been known for being tough on kids. In fact, "The Cat in the Hat" choses a rainy day to reek havoc on the two children in the story simply because they were cooped up inside. While cold, wind and wet are cause for concern and such weather may make you want to shorten play time outside, they don't have to prevent it all-together.
It is pretty well established that outdoor time is a key ingredient in growing up balanced, confident and healthy. So why should a little water get in the way? Some rainy day activities to consider:
Have your child put on some rubber boots, clothes that can get a little muddy, and a warm jacket underneath their over-sized rain coat and . . .
1. Encourage a full-out-splash war. Your kids will probably be especially impressed if you join them and everyone will be getting a little exercise together. When they wear themselves out, or you deem they're too wet and getting cold, bring them in for a warm bath or shower and a steaming cup of hot cocoa.
2. Hand over a camera (perhaps disposable?) and ask them to go on a photo hunt. They can get pics of a pile of wet leaves, a rippling puddle, someone with an umbrella, a soggy pet, a tree trunk that has dry and wet spots, a reflection in a puddle, a splash, something dripping, a break in the clouds (when one exists), his/her own rubber boots in a puddle, a bucket or watering can that was left out and is now filling. . .
3. Look up "Andy Goldsworthy" with your older child (upper elementary - middle school) and study some of the artwork he has done with wet leaves. Challenge your child to get creative in nature and create something just as beautiful with wet things in your yard. Record his/her work of art with a photograph.
Andy Goldsworthy images typed into google will bring up selection of wonderful photos to use for examples.
4. For younger children: Have your preschool child color on absorbent paper such as white construction paper or a coffee filter (paper towels tend to disintegrate quickly but they will work with care) or watercolor paper. Take the piece of art out during a down pour for just a few moments and watch what happens to make the art truly unique. With Kindergartners and First grade students this can also be an activity to introduce capillary action for science.
When they're done, use the cold as an excuse to spend a little time together doing something cozy and warm. Try making some peppermint "gourmet" cocoa (Simply make cocoa the way you normally would, but stick a candy cane in it and top it off with whipped cream and a few sprinkles). Snuggle up under your favorite blankets and read a favorite book together, watch a great movie, or just talk about how much fun it was to go outside and enjoy the fresh air even in the rain.
Here are six of Our Favorite Rainy Day Books for any age:
- Wheedle on the Needle, by Stephen Cosgrove. Serendipity, 2002. This one is for those children familiar with the Space Needle:
- The Very Cranky Bear, by Nick Bland. Scholastic Press, 2008. So funny my preschoolers asked for it over and over again.
- Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Verna Aardema. Pan Macmillan, 1981. Wonderful Classic based on a Nandi Tale (Kenya). Set to the same structure and Rhythm as The House That Jack Built, it is really fun to read aloud. There is a wonderful reading rainbow episode centered around this book as well.
- Bear Feels Scared and Bear Snores On, Karma Wilson. Simon and Schuster. Multiple editions of both are available.
- Tiki Tiki Tembo, Arlene Mosel. Henry Holt and Company, 2009. Another Classic, this is a tale about the significance of names and how a culture chose to always use short names for their beloved children. Wonderfully rhythmic, it is a fabulous read-aloud book.
Some other lists to try:
Heard of other activities to do in the rain that you have tried or plan on trying? Please feel free to share.