Ways to play out when it’s wet

Horse chestnut trees drop their conkers after rain.

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post suggests it’s time to get out in the woods, or just listen to a tree. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting click here.

My dad hated taking a walk where he might run into people – so he used to take the dog out in the dark, and when it was pouring.

Perverse, yes, but it did make me look forward to bad weather so we’d have fun outside. Even if you don’t much like rain, it’ll pay off to try and convince your children it’s more fun outside when it’s raining as it gives them a chance to let off steam. So, just in case it starts tipping down again – and the long distance weather report suggests it will – here are a few ideas to make trips out in the rain something to look forward to.

1 Dress for the wet (rather than the cold) – waterproof the bits that touch the ground, fall down or want to splash. Crawl suits (all in ones) are excellent. For walkers wellies (gum boots) are perfect, and the posher brands are comfy enough to wear all day. If your children can do laces (or you don’t mind retying them) walking boots. I’m a fan of gore tex (waterproofed) trainers – if it wasn’t for a school uniform policy that forbids them that’s what my kids would be in until they ran away from home just to get their toes into winklepickers…

2 Little children love splashing in the rain, and big storms can be incredibly exciting to experience. So if it’s raining cats and dogs just go outside anyway and enjoy hailstones, fat rain drops and gushing drains. Just remember not to stand under trees if there is lightning/thunder.

3 If you want to sit down at the park or playground, take something you can sit on. Newspapers are great impromptu lining for cold metal seats but they go soggy quickly in the rain and drizzle. A nappy changing kit can double up if you want to pop a little child on the swing without leaving them with a soaking bum. Or grab a bit of pvc (chop up one of those spare kitchen aprons into a decent sized rectangle, or just take the apron) and use it on all the playground rides, even the slide. Watch out, you may go fast. Or not at all.

4 Would your child enjoy weather watching? Paint occasional diary entries for whatever the season throws at you – and add in seasonal pleasures too. Conkers, sweet chestnut and apples litter the ground after rain, if you know where to look. Or just put different sized containers in a spot where they can fill up with rain. Then pretend to be weather gurus. How long do they take to fill? Is it a record? What creatures start living in the containers?

How to play conkers

It’s a traditional autumn game for two players. Both need a conker which has had a hole pierced through it. Through this thread a 30 cm approx length of garden twine (or similar) and knot at the bottom to stop the conker falling off.

Player A holds the end of the string so their conker dangles beneath them. Player B tries to whack Player A’s conker with their conker. It’s much harder than it looks. You may get a few satisfying strikes. Or you may get bruised knuckles.

The winner is the player who doesn’t give up, or whose conker does not break. A champion conker gets named after its number of victories – onezy, twozy, threezy so on (or 1er, 2er, 3er). Beware of players who claim this is a 79er – they clearly mean business.

5 Hang up damp/soaked clothes when you get in so they dry. Turn damp wellies upside down and leave in a warm spot, or better still stuff with scrumpled up balls of newspaper. Dry clothes = everyone ready to play again tomorrow…

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2 Comments on “Ways to play out when it’s wet”

  1. It’s all about mindset isn’t it, rain can be fun if your purpose is just to go out and enjoy the rain, but it’s a right pain if you’re trying to go somewhere and want to arrive looking half decent! Thanks for reminding us that we should make time to do the former. I do love a really big downpour in the summer, I’d love to run out naked in it if I was sure nobody would see me!

    • homemadekids Says:

      Vanessa, ah you’ve worked out my guilty secret – I never want to look half decent when I arrive somewhere. As for your confession, don’t catch a chill (or let your children get too embarrassed!). Nicola

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