Everyone loves a great rainy “day-in” every now and again, but what happens when it rains, and rains, and rains? Stir-crazy kids, that’s what! After a few days of being cooped up in the house, everyone is ready to burn off some energy and have a change of scenery.
Here are a few suggestions you can call on next time the sky opens up* and lets you have it:
1. Camp Outside. Why save backyard camping for the sun? As long as there is no thunder or lightning, you can have the kids camp outside! Set up a tent, fill it with snacks, books, coloring books, and games. It is fun to listen to the rain, especially when it is so close! Give it a shot.
2. Water Sports. Who cares if you get wet (as long as you’ve planned for it). Have everyone put on their bathing suits and get outside. Put down a slip-and-slide and play in the rain. Blow bubbles, toss water balloons, try rain-jump-rope or rain-hula-hooping! Regular outdoor activities get a boost of excitement when they are played in the rain.
3. Rain Painting. Have nature do some of the work! In anticipation of a light to medium storm, have your children crush up dollar store watercolors into a powder. You can use powdered tempera paint, but I like giving the kids something extra to do by crushing the paint in my mortar and pestal. Have them sprinkle the different colors on a think piece of construction paper (or watercolor paper) and carefully place the paper in the rain. Let the rain turn the watercolor into a painting. You can try the same concept with water-soluble crayons or watercolor pencils.
For a unique spin on this project, try tissue paper patterns. Have the kids rip up pieces of colorful tissue paper and arrange them on a sheet of thick paper. Take the paper out in the rain and allow it to get nice and rained-on! Bring it indoors, and when the paper is completely dry, remove the tissue paper, and reveal the intricate transfer of color the rain has left!
Here are some sites that have documented the rain crafting projects:
4. Collect the Rain. Have the kids collect a bunch of items from around the house, clean them out, and then take them outside to collect the rain! Buckets, pots, pails, etc. This is a great chance to learn and teach about water conservation, safe collection methods, and science. There a a bunch of resources available about rain collection like this one, and this one. For emergency situations (like water-outages durning storm season) it is important to brush up on how to safely use rain water for more than watering plants. Try these resources here and here. Have the children evaluate the quality of the water in each container when the rain stops. See if they can draw any conclusions about the best containers to use, the best places to put the container to catch the rain, and the best way to store and use the water for watering plants. You might be able to convince them to try “washing the dishes” using the rainwater!
5. Weather Experiments. Plan ahead for some of these and have the supplies on hand. There’s nothing like a stretch of rainy weather or storms to get kids interested in the weather. Try making a barometer (or this barometer) to measure air pressure. Use the rain you collected above and figure out what’s in it! For younger children, you can teach them a little about wind by allowing them to place pinwheels in the yard. Have them adjust the pinwheels during the rain to get the most spins! Or have them make their own spinning yard ornament using a milk carton.
Don’t forget to check out all of our articles in the Stress-Free Summer series.
Have any other great ideas? Share them with us in the comments. Did you blog about a great rain activity? Post your links below.
*Make sure safety comes first. Thunder and lightning are very dangerous and should be taken seriously. A lightning strike can happen even when there is not a drop of rain! Remember, “When it roars, go indoors.”