I'll be honest. I'm guilty of being the mom that says, "No don't step in the puddle! Walk around it!" I have no interest in doing more laundry or buying more shoes.
But in the right setting, we love getting out our rain boots, jackets, and umbrellas (is it just my kids who obsess about umbrellas?). Puddles and "rivers" formed in the streets are great fun for jumping in, throwing leaves and sticks into, or just watching in a sort of mesmerized way (I'm all for this type of hypnosis because it means my children are holding still!).
I have another confession - I'm not the greatest at dropping everything and sitting down to play with my kids. Especially imaginative play. I know it's good for them, but I really don't take great pleasure in being a ninja or Queen Elsa... again! But if I know I'm accomplishing certain objectives with my family and keeping us all healthy and happy, then I can handle a walk in the rain, and maybe even enjoy it a bit myself. We adults of course don't get any benefit from a walk out-of-doors (wink).
So, when your mind is spinning with your to-do list and you really don't want to get the kiddos geared up to go outside, keep in mind what you're accomplishing (as I have to do). On our most recent rainy adventure, I made note of some activities we did and thought I'd share these ideas with you!
1. Talking with your child is one of the best ways to set them up for reading success. Yep! It's easy to get hung up on learning the alphabet, but sometimes its simpler than that. We rhymed (Hey, "rain"... "drain".. that rhymes!), we made up a sort of non-sense song as we walked, we used words to describe the sound of the rain, and when we got back, we retold the story of what we did to Dad. You know the "and then we... and then we..." line? This helps build story sequence skills.
2. Jumping over and into puddles is a great gross motor activity. My littlest one is just barely starting to get the two-feet-off-the-ground jump instead of the step-jump they do first. You can play follow-the-leader and stretch the limits of what your kids can do. Or let them play it together and you can zone out for a few minutes!
3. Address early science skills like concepts of the physical world and ecology. Rain falls down, not up! And the water flows to the lowest point. "Wow, the clouds are moving quickly, why do you think that is?" My oldest guessed that it must be the wind blowing them. "Are they white clouds? dark gray clouds? Which way is the wind coming from? How can you tell?" Introduce or reinforce cardinal directions.
4. It's healthy overall for your kids to have an unstructured, open-ended activity. Walking can be almost meditative for both adults and kids. We have so much structure and hurried activity in our days and a walk can be a very simple way to slow down and decompress.
See! Who knew you could accomplish so much just walking in the rain?