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Family Matters

Summer Fun on a Rainy Day

June 26th, 2013

By: Sherry Duncan

I am the first to admit that even on rainy days, it is OKAY to send children outdoors to play. There is something magical about splashing in the puddles and catching raindrops on your tongue. One of my first rescue missions occurred as a six-year-old when I attempted to save as many worms as I could by carefully placing them back in the dirt, thus avoiding their demise once the sun came out. There will be days in the summer when wind or rain hampers children’s activities. An excellent alternative to heading inside for electronics is to have a few activities prepared in advance. Depending on the age of the children, windy or rainy day activities can be easily facilitated. Outdoor play, even in the wind or rain, has tremendous positive impact on children’s physical and mental well-being.

So, what can you do to foster play when you are hampered by wind or rain?

Here are some ideas:

Go on a field trip:

Take the children shopping to a grocery store for the ingredients to make cookies, or bake a cake. Let them help you choose the recipe, find the ingredients on the shelf in the store, measure, mix and bake at home. Just imagine all the math and science that is being learned through this one afternoon activity. What a great opportunity to spend quality time with your child. Perhaps this would be a great day to visit the local library? You don’t even have to take out books. You can visit the library and read or look at pictures. What about a visit to an indoor garden centre or local museum? Taking your children for an
afternoon adventure is bound to be a hit.

Make a Windy Day Box:

This can include a variety of items easily collected from around the house or purchased inexpensively. Garage sales are also a great place to look for these items: Things to put in your “Windy Day Box” can be streamers, bubbles, kites, windmills, pin wheels, wind chimes, a homemade wind sock, and scarves. For older kids – Frisbee can be fun in a big field.

Make a Rainy Day Box:

Umbrellas, rubber ducks, small boats (or corks) for floating in the gutter, water balloons, and sponges can be used outside when it is wet. Perhaps you could have the children collect rocks and watch their colour change in the rain. Or wouldn’t it be fun to put the children in their bathing suits, and then give them washable markers to colour themselves with? Once they are done, send them out in the rain to wash off. Perhaps you have a picnic table – cover it with a plastic tablecloth and have a picnic in the rain under the table!

Indoor Play:

There will be days when it is too windy and too rainy to go outside. Here are some ideas to play inside on
a day like this:
• Have an indoor picnic
• Play indoor scavenger hunt
• Look at old pictures (of when the child was a baby or when the adult was a child)
• Play with flashlights in the dark
• Read books
• Make inside mud pies
• Make puppets
• Sort buttons

Play Pretend:

Here are some ideas that you could use to play pretend: pet shop, restaurant, tea party, zoo, airport, animal shelter, barnyard, beach, birthday party, camping, castle, circus, dress up, parade, band or whatever the child is currently interested in. Remember, it is never too late to make a play date with your own children. My wish for you - Have a wonderful summer with the children in your life – rain or shine!

Sherry Duncan, Chair, Childhood Studies, Keyano College. Sherry’s whole life has revolved around children. This dedication began in high school as a volunteer for children’s programs. Now after 27 years of teaching, 25 years of parenting and 3 years as a grandparent she is delighted to be part of the stories of children and families here in Fort McMurray.

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