Call me crazy, but when it’s raining outside, my first instinct is to find a nice warm spot indoors and, well, stay dry.
But I happen to live with three small people who believe quite the opposite is true. They like to remind me every time it rains that there’s no need to stay warm and dry indoors. Quite the contrary, in fact. The way my three kids see it, the wetter, the better.
And so, I’ve turned to them, seasoned experts in the art of playing in the rain, for suggestions on how to have fun and stay active outside on rainy days:
- Puddles. It’s all about the puddles. Jump in puddles, jump over puddles, jump around puddles. Kids might even like watching patterns in the water while their friends jump in puddles.
- Watch and follow water rivers as they run down the street.
- Splash each other.
- Make paper boats and sail them in a really big puddle.
- Catch raindrops with your umbrella.
- Catch raindrops on your tongue. Then try catching them on your hands. Or fingertips. Or toes. Or nose. (Kids won’t realize, but they’ll be developing their balance, overall body coordination, and sensory development.
- Play a favourite sport in the rain. (But don’t forget the rain will make things slippery and if they are hesitant to try here’s an excellent short film you can show them for a little inspiration.)
- Have a shower. If it’s raining hard enough and you have a safe, biodegradable soap, put on a swimsuit and wash your hair.
- Water plants. Carry the houseplants outside and let them get a breath of fresh air and a big delicious drink of rainwater.
- Go for a hike. Yes, this one means there’s definite adult involvement, but if you dress for the weather everything will be fine. I promise.
- Make mud pies.
- Play in the sandbox. It’ll be a whole new adventure with the rain coming down.
- Go to the playground. Of course, be careful around equipment that might be dangerous if slippery, but enjoy the novelty of being the only family in the park.
- Look for worms. My kids love to rescue them from the middle of the sidewalk while we’re out for a rainy walk.
- Dance. Put your favourite song in your pocket (to protect it from the rain, of course), listen to the beat of the raindrops, and dance your heart out. If Gene Kelly can do it, so can you.
- Try our animal activity and jump like a frog, fly like a robin, waddle like a duck.
- Take a family walk around the neighbourhood. If your kids are anything like mine, they probably love using umbrellas. This is the perfect opportunity for them to pop them open and have fun.
- If you’re feeling really adventurous, bring out the art supplies and see what happens when the rain inspires the creative process.
- Blow bubbles. There’s something really cool about watching them pop (or not) while the rain falls.
- Rain doesn’t mean everyone is stuck indoors. Some of the most fun my kids have is when they’re stomping through puddles, playing in the mud, and getting soaking wet on the rainiest of days. Which brings me to our family’s final tip: Dry off with the big pile of towels that your oh-so-well-prepared parents remembered to leave waiting for you at the front door.
Active for Life is a leading promoter of children’s physical literacy to help parents raise active and healthy kids. In response to increased rates of child obesity and sedentary behaviour, Active for Life was formed in 2011 to give parents the tools to help their children develop skills and habits for lifelong physical activity. At the core of the initiative is the idea that every child deserves to be physically literate. Active for Life is a social enterprise of B2ten, a Canadian organization formed to promote sport and athlete development in Canada. For more information, visit Active for Life
It just doesn’t make sense. You say, ‘No’, and your kids act like you just fired a starting pistol for an Olympic race to ‘YES!’. Why don’t they take no for an answer?
At Parenting Power, we have always said that kids are like little scientists, gathering all the data from their previous experiments and compiling the odds. For example, they be learning that ‘4 out of 5 times, we can get mom to move to a maybe and then a yes as long as we add tears and whining.’ Here are 3 tips for getting your ‘No’ to really stick.
How to Make Your ‘No’ Really Stick:
- Decide that you will only say ‘No’ when you mean it. This makes it easier for you to stick to your decision and your kids will learn that no means no.
- If your ‘No’ is going to become a ‘Yes’ or has that possibility, start with a ‘maybe’, or even better, a ‘Yes, when…’. For example,
Child: Mom, can I have a cookie?
Mom: Yes, you can have a cookie when we are finished lunch. Do you want to choose that cookie now and set it aside for after lunch?
- Know how you will respond when your kids start the race to ‘yes’.
a. Acknowledge what they want and stay firm. Say:
I know that you wanted to watch one more show. You really like that show. That’s all for tonight.
b. Accept that they are not pleased and that they may show it. Say:
Seems like you need to get your sad out by crying. That’s okay. You can do it here or in your room. Let me know when you are done.
Many parents feel like they can make their kids happy by giving in. The truth is, ‘happy’ is an internal state. We can’t make our kids happy. When we say one thing and do another, we actually leave them confused and they will work harder, pushing and testing us next time to figure out if we are telling the truth this time.
The best way for us to teach our kids self-control, frustration tolerance and delayed-gratification (all indicators of a happy life as adults) is to say no and stick to it when we do.
Image of disobedient kids from Shutterstock.
Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching and teleconferences to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit www.parentingpower.ca
to ask your own parenting questions, and learn how to receive 20% off all services as a Parenting Power Member!