Sunday, 23 June 2019

Outdoor Activities For Rainy Days


It seems ironic that I am writing an article about getting outdoors in bad weather in the middle of June. We are on the brink of summer but the weather is far from summery. In fact, it has rained everyday for over a week now where I am. Not only is it wet, it is also cold and I occasionally have to put the heating on! This is something I never do in June, but I guess we never can predict the great British weather!


As a family, we spend as much time as possible outdoors. I am a great believer of the benefits of outdoor play and learning and try to encourage this as much as possible, both in my own family and with others too. Everyone can benefit from the great outdoors but in this weather it is not always easy to see those benefits when you are inside a warm, cosy house watching raindrops run down the windows.



It is unfortunate that this bout of bad weather coincides with the annual 30 Days Wild challenge which encourages families to spend time outdoors each day for 30 consecutive days. Suddenly this exciting challenge does not seem so appealing anymore. It can be so difficult to force ourselves outside when its dark, grey and wet every single day. This is why I thought it would be good to talk about some fun activities that can be done in the bad weather. Just remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Therefore, get the right gear together and then it won't be nearly as bad as you think!


Puddles

  • Jump in the puddles and see how big a splash you can make.
  • Jump over the puddles.
  • Use a stick to mark a line a certain distance from the puddle. Stand behind the line and practise throwing some pebbles or balls into the puddle.
  • Get or make some little boats and sail them in the puddles.
  • Get some bricks or construction blocks and build a bridge over the puddles.
  • Use buckets or cups for filling up and pouring out fun.
  • Make some footprints using your wellies or make tracks by riding your bike or scooter through the puddle.
  • Add some bubble bath or washing up liquid and whisk up some bubbles!
  • Use an outdoor broom to sweep away the puddle. 


Rain

  • Put a mirror on the ground and watch the raindrops fall onto it.
  • Make a waterway using guttering, drainpipes, waterproof tape and any containers you like. Watch the water run along it, fill up containers etc.
  • Rain painting - Drop liquid watercolours or food colouring onto a piece of paper using a pipette. Leave the artwork upright in the rain and see how the raindrops wash the paint down and create patterns.
  • Give children some sponges and/or squeegees to wash the windows or doors.
  • Fill up a container with rain water and add some sponges. Young children will have great fun playing with the sponges and squeezing them strengthens their hand muscles.
  • Throw wet sponges into numbered buckets. The numbers correspond to the number of points you get for throwing it in.
  • Have a water fight!
  • When it just starts to rain, place some paper outside and place some objects on top. Leave in the rain for a few minutes then remove the paper to reveal their silhouettes.
  • Make a rain shelter using a large sheet of plastic.
  • Put foil over an umbrella and listen to the sound of the rain drops.
  • Make a natural umbrella. Take the biggest leaf you can find and place it on your head. Alternatively find smaller leaves and weave them together to create a rain hat.
  • Make an umbrella den. Get a really big umbrella, place it on the floor outside and huddle under it. See if you can place a few umbrellas together to create a larger den!
  • Go on a snail hunt. Snails love to go out in the rain!
  • After the rain has stopped, go on a water droplet hunt! 

Learning activities

  • Make a rain gauge to see how much rainfall you get over the space of a few days or a week.
  • Keep a weather diary and record the rainfall, clouds, sunshine, wind and temperature.
  • Collect rain water in a bowl or tub and see which objects float or sink.
  • How clean is the rain? Place a paper towel over a bowl and leave it out of the rain. Is the paper towel clean or dirty?
  • What does the rain sound like? How does it sound inside your home, the car, the greenhouse? How does it sound outside in the open or under a tree or picnic table? Record the sounds using a mobile phone and listen back to the recordings later to see the difference.






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