It’s raining again here. And raining, and raining. So I’m updating a post from over two years ago when I was starting out – it’s still fun today.
Firstly – get out there! Before you go, get some towels and nice warm clothes ready and some soup or hot chocolate that can be easily heated. Put layers on your kids (they seem to keep dryer) and if you want raincoats or even the old plastic garbage bag. Or the alternative is to just get naked. It’s very hot here so that’s generally our option.
They won’t dissolve or break. And mine seem to have a lovely layer of blubber and generally not notice (we’ve usually been in warm rain). Rain is a feast for the senses and they will notice all sorts of things.
- Sight: rain dripping from leaves and grasses makes them move as the weight shifts and changes. If you find one that is moving fairly quickly they will bob along with it.
- Little streams carry light things along, they will watch and touch the moving leaves.
- Smell: Lots of things smell stronger when wet, give them the opportunity to smell leaves, earth, grass, dogs, …
- Touch: Mud, glorious mud! Did you realise playdough is really just a substitute for getting your hands and feet into the mud and squishing it around? Try different types of dirt for comparison.
- Make splashes! Hit puddles of different depths and compare the splashes. See how far the splash can go. Can you do both hands at once?
- Put your hand under the drips and streams or even stand under it and feel it on your head and back. What’s that pushing my hand along?
- Sound: When you hit the different puddles what sounds do you make? Can you hear the raindrops? Can you be really quiet and hear the little stream?
- Taste: The mud doesn’t seem to have hurt my little obsessive, but I’d really rather she wouldn’t. It took a while but she’s finally grown out of eating it.
Toddlers and older ones:
They seem to have a complete disdain for cold and dislike for clothes. They will love doing all the same things as babies, but with a few extensions. Asking them questions can spark ideas and add more to the fun, and testing is the beginning of science.
Extensions: Making mudpies or castles, writing or drawing with sticks.
- How tall can you make it?
- What does the rain do to it?
- How would you make it last longer?
- What if you try it over here?
Playing poohsticks, aka leaf racing. This can become an enormous production if you test different leaves and twigs to see which go faster, which go further, or which go straighter.
- What if you try a bigger leaf?
- A smaller one?
- Some grass?
- What about different shapes?
How to do the biggest splash. Big girl has discovered that her extra large gumboots are excellent at splashing and she doesn’t feel a thing! Pity about the people standing around her.
- Should you stamp in a shallow puddle or a deep one?
- Do hands or feet work better?
- What about Mummy’s foot?
Building dams. We recently visited the new nature playground at Kings Park in Perth and the big girl and lots of other children spent ages trying to dam and redirect the stream.
- What happens to the water when you build a dam?
- What are the best materials to use ie should we try some rocks? should we try some twigs?
- What about your construction techniques?
- What happens if you break the dam and let all the water out?
Then run back inside and dry off, perhaps read about poohsticks.
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