Updated: May 7, 2021
As an outdoorsy family we aim to spend as much time as we can outdoors rain or shine. We have found many ways to embrace Spring showers by including some of these fun outdoor activities for kids to do during or after the rain falls, but please note they are not for the faint of heart, and involve digging in the dirt and playing in the puddles. We recommend a rain suit and rubber rain boots, but dress according to the conditions. And remember "the mud will wash off but the memories will last a lifetime" - author unknown.
Fill containers from your recycling bins with water, and measure the amount of rainfall.
Why not grab a bunch of the containers found in your recycling bin and repurpose them for outdoor play? We do our best to purchase products which offer compostable packaging, but this is not always possible, so we often find ourselves repurposing glass and plastic containers from products we buy at our local grocery store and farmer's markets. Using different shapes and sizes of containers adds an additional learning element to this exercise. Place your various rain containers outside in the rain and have your child guess which one they think will fill up first. Measure the rain accumulation over an hour, a day, a week, keeping track of your findings. We've even used mason jars with wood rulers taped to the side to keep track of the rain fall.
2. Make Nature Boats and Have Boat Races
We love to go hunting for different types of fallen bark, sticks and leaves on our property and during our hikes in the woods, and often will use them to make nature creatures and structures. Rainfall adds a fun element! We look for "streams" along the side of the road or driveway to race our leaves, bark sticks or nature boats (if you live close to a sewer drain, it can be even more fun to watch your nature items disappear underground - as long as your little ones aren't too attached to their nature creation). To turn this into a learning activity simply have your children guess which item they think will "win" the race or bring your nature items over to a puddle and have your child determine which item they think will sink or float and why. You can also use those recycled containers or indoor bath toys for added fun!
3. Build a Water Obstacle Course, Water Cascades or Dam.
Now that you have found little "streams" or "ponds" to play in, why not create obstacles or even dams? Grab mud, stones, sticks, old leaves, anything you can find around your yard that could create an obstacle, a change in water flow or direction, or even a small dam to stop the water flow (unless the waterway needs to drain to a specific place like a drain). Grab your nature toys, or bath toys and have your children make observations about how their obstacles changed the flow of water and therefore the direction of their toys.
4. Play in the Puddles!
Speaking of puddles, playing in the puddles with bath toys, up cycled containers, etc. Or better yet, why not jump in the puddles, run through the puddles, bike through the puddles or even dance in the puddles. It's raining, and you are already wet, so why not?
5. Make Mud Pies
One of our favourite things about the rain, is how it makes the soil wet and soft, and is so much fun to play with. I often will grab old pans from under the stove to use for our mud pies (cake pans, muffin pans, bunting cake dishes, etc. for our creations. We like to use leaves and flowers to decorate our mud pies and will often grab sticks to draw in the wet mud. Let the mud be your canvas!