Recently, the weather in our area has been so cold that even a relatively warm, rainy day is cause for celebration and outdoor play. Most of these kids activities require no planning or prepping aside from putting on your rain gear and laying some towels by the door. So the next time its rainy, don’t sigh and rack your brain thinking of more indoor activities and games. Take your littles outside and get some fresh air. I promise, it will be more fun!
1. Look Up!
When was the last time you looked up toward the rain clouds and felt the water gently hitting your face? For me, it was Tuesday, and my toddler loved this sensory activity! We even tried to catch rain drops on our tongue, which she found hilarious.
For older kids, you can slide in a STEM activity by talking with them a little bit about why it rains. One of my preschoolers loved learning about the water cycle so much that we actually made a big poster during craft time, and she learned the words evaporation and condensation.
2. Splash in Puddles
This one almost goes without saying, but it certainly is a crowd pleaser! For safety reasons, scope out the puddle first to make sure there are no sharp objects and that it’s safe for your littles. Encourage kids to jump, stomp, splash, run through and kick up the water in the puddles. Watch how the rain drops make ripples as they hit the puddles. Talk with your kids about where the water goes, and how it helps plants grow (again, another great STEM conversation starter).
Listen to the sound the rain makes. How is the sound different when rain hits a roof, umbrella or tree branches? Try to mimic the sound the rain makes on different surfaces by patting your hands on your legs or a table.
Young children may be fascinated by thunderstorms. I always tell them that it sounds like angels bowling, and we listen to hear any really loud cracks of thunder to see if the angel bowled a strike. It’s a fun way for them to experience a thunderstorm without feeling scared.
4. Look for Animals
Worms, frogs and ducks can often be found in the rain. See who can find the most animals. For the less squeamish kids, see who can save the most worms by moving them under leaves and brush to protect them from birds.
Whether the kids want to make up a rain dance or boogie to their favorite tunes (being blared from a waterproof location), dancing is a fun way for them to expel some of their boundless energy. The addition of rain just makes a dance party more fun!
6. Sing and Make Music
No music? Make your own! Sing songs like Singing in the Rain, Itsy Bitsy Spider or any songs the kids like. Add instruments like pots and pans, or clap your hands and stomp your feet. You can even challenge your littles to find their own instruments by clicking together rocks or drumming with sticks.
7. Get Muddy
Messy play is great for kids and toddlers, so let them touch, squish and slide in the mud. Some kids may even like “painting” with mud. Let them use sticks and leaves to smear it on the sidewalk and watch as the rain washes it away, Just be sure to have some old towels ready for when everyone troops back inside!
8. Race Boats, Leaves or Sticks
Scope out where the water is moving with your kids. Maybe you have a stream or creek nearby, or maybe it’s just a small run off in your backyard. It doesn’t matter how big it is, as long as you can find something to race down it! Better yet, have your kids pick multiple items to try to race. Which items float? Which moved the fastest? Ask your kids why they think some items float and some sunk or some moved quickly and others didn’t.
9. Go for a Swim
Swimming is so much fun, and if you have access to a pool, baby pool or sprinkler, little ones will have so much fun when these water activities are combined! So instead of rain boots, opt for a swim suit and jump in!
10. Catch the Rain
Set up various containers, and see which catches the most rain. This activity works really well if you set up containers with different size openings such as a slim vase, a bowl and a bucket. Another variation is to set up the same type of containers in different areas. For instance, set bowls under a tree and out in the open or on opposite sides of the yard and see if that impacts how much water they collect. Have your kids hypothesize how location and container size affected their water collection. For older kids, you can take this activity a step further by starting a rain journal. Note the date, time and amount of rain collected.
With these activities, rainy days will become a cause for celebration rather than aggravation. Stay warm. Stay dryish (or if the activity suits, get muddy and wet).
Need some advice on which rain jackets and boots to buy your kids? Check out my post Best Kids Rain Gear. I’ve done the research and included links to make your shopping easier!
Have fun playing outside!