If you have a child or two (or perhaps a few more) to entertain for the day, a rainy day can spell disaster.
But does it have to?
While a handful of us admit defeat at the first sign of a grey cloud, the more determined among us dig out the wellies, zip up a waterproof and head outdoors anyway. That’s because a rainy day is great opportunity for playing and learning, with mud, puddles and squelchy, slippery surfaces providing hours of entertainment for little ones. All you need to do is ensure your children are properly dressed for the weather.
Shop online for waterproofs for kids (you’ll probably find you have far more choice of bold colours, fun patterns and child-focused designs on the internet than you will in your local ‘outdoor’ shop), then put the clothing to the test with these fun ideas for rainy day play…
1. Puddle Splashing
Puddle splashing had to be top of the list, and that’s because it’s just so much fun! Go for a walk around your local area, encouraging your child to jump, splash and splosh in every puddle they can find. Challenge your little ones to find the deepest or widest puddle they can find, seeing if they can jump over them completely. When it’s time for a rest, you could stand under a big tree and talk about how it acts like a large, natural umbrella, watching the raindrops plop into puddles and ponds outside.
2. Worm Hunt
Wet weather conditions are perfect if your child fancies going on a worm hunt: worms surface during times of rain as the water gives them a safe opportunity to move to new places, so you’ll spot plenty of them on rainy days! Of course, your children might be tempted to keep ‘rescuing’ wriggly worms from the mud, so you might find yourself explaining how their delicate little bodies prefer the dark, wet soil rather than our warm human hands…
But, you can feed your child’s curiosity without harming the worms by helping to create a worm farm (a clear container filled with alternating layers of moist mud and sand). Then, send your child on a mission to find wriggly worms in the garden, gently placing the worms in the farm with a selection of fruit peelings, crushed egg shells and coffee grinds.
3. Make mud pies
As every child knows, the very best mud pies are made when it’s raining: it’s the only way to get a nice squishy, wet consistency for their mud pie ‘pastry’! Little ones will enjoy foraging outdoors for more ingredients to add to their mud pies, such as fresh grass cuttings, flower leaves, wood bark and anything else they can lay their hands on.
Also, did you know that it’s good for children to play in the mud? Not only does it have a beneficial impact on their physical health, it has a beneficial impact on their mental health too: microscopic bacteria called mycobacterium Vaccae increase the level of serotonin of our children’s brains, which helps to soothe and relax little ones.
There’s undeniable joy in playing in the rain, and there are so many more activities your children can do. For example, building dams with sticks and rocks to divert the flow of water is an activity that will keep them entertained for hours, and playing slip and slide on the grass is particularly thrilling if you don’t mind the extra laundry! So, get out and about on a rainy day and see how much fun your children can have.