When you wake up to gloomy skies and rain showers, it can feel so easy to want to pull those blankets back up and sleep the day away. The darkness of a rainy day, for some of us, can bring your mood down, too. But rainy days don’t always have to be ones of disappointment or boredom.
For most families, a rain day (or snow day) can mean an automatic “day in”. We bundle up in cozy blankets, binge watch our favourite TV shows, read books, do a puzzle. That’s quite joyful for a lot of families. But when that magical phrase…” I’m bored’…pops up, just know that there’s fun in playing in the rain, too!
Grab the rainboots and raincoats and get those kids outside! Play doesn’t need to stop for bad weather. (Ok, maybe it does for really bad weather)
There are plenty of benefits for children when they get to explore different weather conditions during playtime. Dressed appropriately, a child can play in most weather conditions and learn all sorts of new things about their play environments. Even a backyard or their school field may feel different or bring forth new critters when it rains. Science lessons and exploring nature can all feel, look, and sound differently in the rain. The grass is slicker, the dirt is muddier, and the way that changes can impact what we see. Animal tracks show up better after a rainfall. Spider webs are easier to spot after the rain. Rocks sink, feathers float, and sometimes rainbows show up when it’s all over.
A day of rain can flood us with imaginative and creative ways to play.
Are there sharks in this huge muddle puddle? Better tip toe around them.
Can I leap across the mud pit and save my friends from the swamp monster?
Maybe the rain is actually chocolate sauce, and we are making a huge ice cream sundae!
Playing in the rain can be full of sensory exploration. Feeling the rain on your face, catching the drops with your tongue, using mud to finger paint. You can even collect buckets of rainwater and use that to wash your hair! This is a great opportunity to learn all about the water cycles, clouds, and weather.
A downpour can change your backyard into a whole new adventure of mud pies and slippery grass slides. Making mud angels or digging a shallow pool for the backyard worms can be so much fun! If your home has a corner spot to turn into a play area like this, you can bring out old kitchen utensils or bowls for hours of fun. If you’d like most of us who prefer to keep our yards mud-pit free then you can pack up and head off to the woods, or your local playground. You’re almost guaranteed to find some puddles along the way.
Rainy weather isn’t just for fun. The physical effort changes, making it a great opportunity to improve their coordination and gross motor skills. Running in the mud elevates the need for stronger muscles, balance, and coordination. You get to learn that the slide may be faster, so you have to hold on tighter. Or maybe the wet ropes at the playground need to be gripped a bit tighter.
When children get to play outdoors, regardless of the weather, they learn that daily exercise is important, and that fun can be made wherever you decide to play. Even just 20 minutes of outdoor play a day can bring a balance to their health and wellbeing.
So, pull on those rainboots – or be wild and free in bare feet. Grab some sticks, bowls, and your imagination for some wet, but fun, outdoor play. *Don’t forget the towels*