As I live in the United Kingdom, I’ve made the radical decision - and I urge you to do the same - to embrace and enjoy every type of weather! So often weather is announced as ‘bad weather’ or ‘awful weather’ when really the weather people mean it’s not ‘fine’ (by that they mean around 23 degrees with no rain, thunder, fog, mist, wind, snow, ice, scorching sun, cloud, hail, lightening, sleet, humidity, or cold on the horizon). As ‘fine’ is fairly unusual, I found I was suffering daily disappointment!
Following a determined change in mind-set, I now embrace all weather and am enjoying the nuances of a crisp icy morning, a moody fog, a profound down-pour or a light summer rain. No one in my household is allowed to complain about the weather now - out loud in any case!
As we enter July and our British summer is underway, inevitably there’s a lot of rain. If you google ‘what to do with children on a rainy day’ you will find a lot of activities which urge you to stay inside, bake some biscuits, hunker down, watch a film, wait for it to get ‘better’ - but there is so much fun to be had with children outside on a rainy summer day. I have listed a few ideas here. Firstly, invest in some waterproof trousers - for yourself as well as your children. They have quite literally changed my life! They stop wind and mean you can sit freely on a log or the ground. Waterproof trousers are a revelation - something I’m sure Alfred Wainwright would agree with, given his famous quote: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”
6 adventures to have with children outside in the rain
- Go for a walk wherever you are. The rain changes the environment. The world looks, sounds and smells different; colours are intensified; the rhythm of rainfall creates its own special music on a myriad of surfaces; everything smells intense - our senses are awakened.
- Zoom in to the tiny world of mini-beasts and seek out small creatures that love rain - snails, worms or froglets.
- Splash and wade through puddles - you could float a home-made boat on them too.
- Make a simple rain gauge (use a plastic bottle with the top cut off and inverted to create a funnel and with a permanent marker draw on a cm scale) and measure how much rain has fallen each day.
- Build a den! Make it waterproof and take shelter with a mug of hot chocolate. Listening to the rain beating down around us whilst sheltering is exhilarating.
- In summer downpours wear the bare minimum and let the rain shower you - face upwards to the sky - and listen to the screeches of joy (some might even be yours).
Of course, it’s always best to enjoy thunderstorms from inside. When thunder roars, go indoors!
I hope I’ve managed to inspire you to look at a rainy summer day as an opportunity for outdoor play, rather than a disappointing reason to stay indoors. You’ll probably get wet, you might even get muddy (which I absolutely recommend) - but you will definitely have lots of fun. There’s also something gloriously satisfying about returning indoors to change into dry clothes and warm up - it might even help everyone sleep better.
After all, there can be no rainbow without some rain!