5 Benefits of Playing in the Rain

Most of us tend to think about staying indoors when it is raining outside but playing in the rain can beneficial for children.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring . . .”. Most of us tend to think about staying indoors when it is raining outside but playing in the rain can beneficial for children. Almost every child will stomp in a puddle as children tend to like the rain. As caregivers, we often worry about children getting wet and sick from being outside in the rain.

wet child on railing

A healthy child’s immune system will protect them from colds, and the health benefits from the exercise usually outweigh the risks of getting ill. Of course, as with any endeavor involving children, care must be taken. Appropriate clothing is required and that includes waterproof coats and hats as well as sturdy, well-fitting boots. If it’s summer and the temperature is warm enough – a swimsuit may be the only clothing needed. The goal should be to keep the child warm.

Outdoor play in all types of weather has been proven to be impact children in a multitude of ways.

  1. Playing outdoors encourages children to be physically active which makes them less likely to become overweight and suffer from the health issues associated with obesity such as diabetes and heart disease.
  2. Outdoor play often involves use of gross motor skills such as running, jumping, and climbing. This results in better agility, balance and coordination. They are also generally sick less often.
  3. Playing outside increases a child’s level of Vitamin D, even on cloudy days. This vitamin has traditionally been linked with the development of strong bones and recent research indicates that it may also be an important factor in maintaining a healthy immune system.
  4. Children who play outdoors are more likely to use their imaginations in their play and often play with others, increasing their skills at interacting with other children.
  5. Playing outdoors and being in nature helps children be more aware of their surroundings and may increase reasoning and observation skills which can help the child in all other areas of development.

So how do you encourage children to play in the rain? First, you need to make sure they understand the conditions must be conducive to play. Children should not be outdoors in stormy weather with thunder, lightning, and high winds. Driving rains are also not conducive to play. Children must understand that there is a time limit on the play. Especially in cooler weather, care must be taken that the children don’t get too cold and wet. Set a timer and keep towels by the door to quickly dry off when play is over. A warm bath may also be a good ending to an outdoor play session – especially if the weather is cooler or if the child finds a lot of mud!

Discuss safety with the children before they go outside. Talk to them about being aware of weather changes such as increases in the rain, hearing thunder, or seeing lightning. Of course, you will be outside with them, but they need to learn to be aware of their environment and let you know if they notice changes. You must be aware of the surrounding area; if there are sewers, drainage ditches, or streams nearby, children should be warned of their hazards and kept away from them. A child can be swept away very quickly in fast-moving waters.

Once they are appropriately dressed and ready to go, what can they do? Children will most often start out by running around and jumping in puddles. Some may sing and dance or catch water drops on their tongues. Others may want more structured play. A water balloon contest or a painting contest using chalk or even mud may be the challenge they want. Dry weather games are also appropriate – tag, hopscotch, red rover, and even football and soccer work in any weather. Bath or beach toys can be taken out in the rain and played with in puddles or even mud. Some children may want to take pictures and a waterproof camera can give them the artistic outlet they desire.

When playtime is over, get the children dried off and into dry clothes. Even in summer, it is not recommended that children stay in wet clothing for long periods of time. Take the time to talk to the children about their outdoor play and discover what they liked and what they didn’t like. Brainstorm ideas for the next rainy-day play session. Then you will be ready to take advantage and expand a child’s horizons the next time Mother Nature gives you rainy days.

8 Classic Games to Play with Kids this Summer

Here are 8 favorite summer games and activities that will make you remember the old days while making new memories for children.

Do you remember all the fun you had playing games as a child? Maybe you lived in a neighborhood where all the kids rode bikes together or went to the community pool. Maybe you built a lemonade stand or just watched a lot of Saturday morning cartoons. Those days were fun and of course, we’d like to create the same type of memories with our children or the children in our care. Here are 8 favorite summer games and activities that will make you remember the old days while making new memories for children.

1. Hide and Seek. This game is great for all ages because you can ‘hide’ in plain sight or behind a curtain for toddlers and preschoolers with challenging hiding places like in cabinets or closets for older children. Make sure children can’t get stuck or hurt in hiding places. You can even play a version in the pool, known as Marco Polo. Just have one person close their eyes, say, “Marco” and all players have to respond with, “Polo”. The sightless seeker listens for players to swim towards and tag.

2. Capture the Flag. For younger children, it’s a simple game of hiding the flag and having the children find it. Older children can be divided into teams and can strategize how to protect their flag while seeking their opponents. For middle schoolers and older kids, a taser tag element can be added so that opponents are knocked out of the game.

Fly a Kite with Your Kids (and Teach Them a Bit of Engineering)3. Kite Flying. Kites are also fun for all ages – from putting them together to getting them in the air. Younger children can be awed by helping a kite get launched or being able to hold the string as it flutters above. High school-aged children may try kite blading – using a kite with inline skates or a skateboard.

4. Climbing. Children often begin climbing in the house on furniture, but many also enjoy climbing outdoors. Climbing can be as simple as a toddler walking on a fallen log or scaling a tree in a nearby park – with close supervision of course. For older children who are interested in advance techniques with helmets, harnesses, and ropes, there are often professionally lead high rope obstacle courses nearby. These courses may include free climbing, self-belayed, or lead climbing depending on the type of climbing.

family playing a board game5. Board Games. Everyone seems to have their favorite board game. There are many to choose from and they run the gamut of ages from toddler through adult. Younger children can play simple board games and matching card games. They don’t really strategize, so simple games of chance are best. Older children have more critical thinking skills and generally enjoy games that require strategic thinking over simple games of chance.

6. Water Games. Water fun can take many forms – playing in a kiddie pool, running and jumping through a sprinkler, and swimming in a pool or lake. Always have an adult to supervise children in the pool. Even if they know how to swim, they can get in trouble. Whether it’s creating a slip and slide, a game of water balloons or shooting water guns, kids love to cool off in the summer.

7. Bikes and Go-Karts. Summer is a great time for tricycles, training wheels, and the freedom of riding a bike. Whether it’s riding around the neighborhood or going on nature trails, children will enjoy getting out. Younger children may enjoy riding around the neighborhood or a short ride on a bike trail. Older children may enjoy longer rides with stops at favorite places like the ice cream store. Instead of riding a bike, older children may be more interested in using the summer to build go-karts and have a few races to see which design works best.

Mother playing with children in bedroom8. King or Queen of the Fort. Great for all ages, forts can be built indoors or outside. On rainy days, a fort can be created with blankets draped across the living room furniture. Outside, a tarp or tent can be used to create the fort. Costumes and props can be used to enhance the fantasy feeling. A play could be added to transform the fort into a movie set. For older children, designs can be drafted, and supplies provided to build a clubhouse using cardboard, a heavy-duty staple gun, and duct tape.

Summer is a great time to connect with children and have some genuine fun. Playing games with family and friends can make an ordinary summer day memorable. Use the summer as a time to play with your children or the children in your care. Hopefully, these games and other classics will be fun!