As Metro Vancouver sees many wet days, consider doing activities with your kiddos that will inspire them to embrace and love the rain. Most kids love spending time outdoors and when it rains, it makes for a perfect opportunity to go on an outdoor rain adventure. Yes, you will get wet and muddy and come home soaked, but don’t let this damper your plans to be outdoors with the kids. Get your rain gear on – the muddy buddies, rain boots and rain jacket and head out to soak up in the rainfall. Here are ten simple and fun ideas of how to turn your rainy day into a fabulous outdoor adventure.
1) Jump in Puddles. Kids absolutely love to stomp on big puddles of water so embrace the rain and be prepared to get soaked. There is something exhilarating about simply finding puddles of water and vigorously jumping and splashing around in them. Watch the kids get excited and act silly as they explore away – from making waves with their hands, to watching their reflection in the water to picking up debris from inside the puddle. They may fall into the puddle, roll around in the puddle or simply stand there exploring and thinking. Either way, jumping in puddles will entertain your kids for hours on end, so get out there and jump around!
2) Go Exploring. When the rain falls, it often brings slimy creatures to the surface so head outdoors to find snails and slugs of all sizes. You won’t to have to venture out too far as these gastropods love hanging out just about anywhere there is rain. Get your kiddos right down to the ground where they can gaze at this earthy organism. Your child will be curious about the creature’s anatomy so talk about the snail’s shell, point out its tentacles and watch as slugs elongate and shorten. If you gaze long enough, you might even see some movement, albeit very slowly!
3) Go Camping in Your Backyard. Re-create the camping experience by pitching a tent in your backyard. You can listen to raindrops on the tent while you sing songs, tell campfire stories, play cards, do artwork, solve puzzles, have lunch, and even take a nap inside the tent! Don’t forget the camping essentials such as your sleeping bags, flashlights and pre-made s’mores!
4) Play at a Playground. Wet swings and slides are not always inviting but if you think about gliding down water slides and rocking back and forth to catch raindrops on your tongue, you might just get excited about heading to the playground. Consider the entire playground as an outdoor water park with slippery slides and wet ropes. Encourage them to twirl and whirl and splash around on the playground.
5) Set Sail on a Puddle. Paper and puddles go especially well together on rainy days as you can take all kinds of paper and make little sailboats. First, take newspaper, construction paper or magazine paper and make hand-crafted boats; then head outside to find large puddles of water. Once you find a good size puddle, set sail the boat and watch it dance away in the water. Make waves and currents by swirling your fingers in the water and watch as the boats vigorously move about. If you have helpers, make a few boats and fill up the puddle, adding to the excitement of the voyage! Learn how to make a paper boat in less than a minute and a half:
6) Play with Dirt. Ignite your child’s creativity by letting them play and dig with wet dirt and sand. As dirt and sand are already damp from the rain, let your kids use their hands, shovels and pails to make all sorts of shapes and design. They’ll spend endless hours digging and creating their outdoor art.
7) Create Street Art. A bit of chalk and some creativity goes a long way! Head out to your driveway and get busy drawing on the streets with coloured chalk. In the rain, the chalk looks more like paint. Let the colours blend and marry together and you will see masterpieces in the making. If your masterpiece meets a puddle, swirl the chalk in the water to make coloured puddles.
8) Catch Rain Drops. Grab a couple of jars and head out on a journey to fill them up with as much rainfall as possible. Once jars are full of water, head back home where you can measure how much rain your little one has caught. Then set jars by the window; each morning, let your child measure how water magically disappears! This activity will get your kids excited about the science behind precipitation and evaporation while also enjoying the rain.
9) Rescue Worms. During the rainfall, many worms surface from the ground and need to quickly find shelter. Go out on a mission to rescue worms by taking a jar filled with dirt. As the kids are walking around outside and you spot a worm, take a piece of paper and slide it onto the paper and into the jar. Once you have gathered a few worms and they have burrowed under the dirt, add some worm food such as coffee grounds or vegetables. Watch the worms get inside the dirt and squiggle around in their new home. Check on the worms everyday and be sure to give it food and some water every few days. Remember to release the worms back into nature!
10) Go Hiking. If you and your little one are feeling adventurous, head to your local hiking trails for a trek in the rain. There’s something about the forest that is different when it rains. The cool breeze will keep you and your little ones moving and excited as you muster your way around wet grounds. During this outdoor exploration, stop and play with dirt, pick up crawly creatures and admire the beauty the rain brings. Be sure to check out these trails, which are typically open year round – Sasamat Lake, Buntzen Lake and Admiralty Point in the Tri-Cities and Lighthouse Park and Lynn Canyon on the North Shore.
We hope these ideas will motivate you to get outside and enjoy all the things the rain evokes – calmness, joy, and the smiling, happy faces of your children. And after a long day spent in the rain, your children will be eager to get inside for supper, bath and into their warm and dry beds. So get outdoors and soak up the cool breezy rain!
Yo, mama, looking for more rainy day activities? Take a look at our top 10 things to do on a rainy day Vancouver. And make sure you are outfitted for all of that puddle jumping: our top picks for kids rain gear is a must-read!
By: Yasmin Remtulla