You can still play outside when it’s raining

Rain may make you wet, but it shouldn’t prevent you from playing outside with children. There are lots of great activities you can do in the rain with the proper clothing.

There are a lot of opportunities for play and learning when it's raining outside.
There are a lot of opportunities for play and learning when it's raining outside.

When it starts to rain, the first thought of many adults and caregivers is to keep kids inside so they don’t get wet. Well, there are a lot of opportunities for play and learning when it’s raining outside. With the proper precautions, you can still have fun in the rain!

First, be sure you and the child are dressed for the weather. Wear a coat that is rain resistant and have socks and shoes that keep their feet dry. If it’s chilly, wear a hat and gloves. This will help keep everyone dry under their outerwear.

Pay attention to the temperature when it’s raining. If it’s chilly, limit the time children are outside so they don’t get too cold. Check in with them often to see how they are feeling and to make sure they aren’t too cold or hot.

Once you head inside, dry off immediately. Change out of wet clothes or socks. Hang up coats, hats, mittens or other articles of clothing that have gotten wet. Dry out shoes or boots.

Here is a list of fun activities you can do outside in the rain:

  • Measure the rainfall. Place a measuring cup or rain gauge outside and see how much and how fast rain is falling. Keep track of how many times the cup or gauge fills up. You can create a chart of what you find out when you head back inside.
  • Build a mud castle. Instead of a sand castle, build a mud castle. Use tools such as shovels, buckets or other containers to build your mud castle.
  • Puddle splash contest. See who can make the most splash when you jump into a puddle.
  • Rain paint. Using water-based markers, draw on thick paper and then take that drawing out in the rain to see what happens to the colors. Tip the paper back and forth to allow the marker color to drip over other areas of the paper.
  • Sit quietly. Spread out a tarp or plastic garbage bags and sit under an umbrella and listen to the sounds. Talk about the sounds you hear like raindrops hitting the ground or the wind.
  • Make mud pies. Bring out measuring cups, plastic containers, utensils and dishes and see what “yummy” creations you can come up with. Use nature items to help you create your treats.
  • Catch raindrops. Use plastic containers about the same size, hold them and run around seeing how many raindrops you can catch. Then compare the amount in your containers and see who caught more. Talk about how they caught their rain drops.
  • Boat races. Use nature items around the outdoor space to make boats you can float in puddles. Talk about which items worked the best and which boat stayed floating the longest.

After playing in the rain, remember to dry off and change out of wet clothes. This is a great time to snuggle up and read a book together under warm blankets. Here are some books about rainy days:

  • The Rain Came Down by David Shannon
  • Tell Me a Season by Mary McKenna Siddals
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judy Barrett
  • Rain by Robert Kalan and Donald Crews
  • Splish! Splash! by Josepha Sherman and Jeff Yesh
  • Puddles by Jonathan London
  • A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
  • Storm is Coming by Heather Tekavec and Margaret Spengler
  • Little Cloud by Eric Carle
  • Hello, World! Weather by Jill McDonald

For more ideas about activities and articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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