Play Matters Blog

Rainy Days Are Fun Days! Or, Get Muddy and Win Two Free Admission Passes!

Rachel Danford

So it’s raining, it’s been raining…sometimes Spring in New England feels like maybe it will rain forever! Home with a rambunctious 3-year old I found myself searching the internet for fun rainy day activities for little ones. I found, “10 indoor rainy day activities your kids will love,” “Indoor camp-out ideas for when it’s raining outside,” “Indoor gross motor fun for rainy days.”  But something jumped out at me: where were all the fun outdoor activities I had hoped to find?  Why does a rainy day automatically mean we need to stay inside?

Research shows that being outside is important for children’s development and health, but these benefits aren’t relegated to only sunny spring days.  Making a habit of being outdoors, getting fresh air and enjoying what is different and special about rainy weather (or snowy weather, or hot and humid weather) has learning and physical benefits for children—and adults. Even better, kids naturally love being out in all sorts of weather, as long as they are properly dressed for the outdoors and allowed to explore and get wet and muddy (go ahead, let them get wet and muddy)!  Kids playing outdoors are connecting with nature and building a lifelong love of all types of weather. 

Sure, it can be hard to get motivated to go out on a cold, wet, rainy day. Being enthusiastic about being outside every day, no matter the weather, requires not only an understanding of how important outdoor experiences are for our families, but also the right gear to keep our families dry and happy while we’re splashing in puddles and making mud pies.  Your children probably have an array of all-weather gear: rain and snow pants, an array footwear ranging from summer sandals through winter boots, and all kinds of hats.  But do you have rain pants, puddle stomping boots, and a rain coat that can get muddy? Make sure you are outfitted to get down in the mud and slog through the puddles with your children, and you might find you enjoy being outside on a rainy day as much as they do!

Here are some rainy day activities we like to do at the museum:

Splash in puddles. Find the perfect puddle and see who can jump in it to make the biggest splash.

Make a rain gauge. Using a small plastic or glass cup, mark inches (or centimeters) along the side in permanent marker and put it out in the rain.  Then compare your rain gauge results with a weather website’s results.

Sink or float.  Collect some natural objects (rocks, leaves, sticks, pinecones, flowers), and find a deep puddle to throw them in.  Make predictions about which will float and which will sink into the puddle, and don’t forget to ask your children why they made the prediction they did!

Make rain art. Color on a piece of water color paper with washable markers, then put on a tray and bring out in to the rain and watch how the rain drops change the picture!

Go on a worm hunt.  Talk about why worms come out on a rainy day and where you might find worms, then go outside in the rain to turn over rocks and look underneath leaves for earth worms and other creepy crawlies.

We’d love to hear about your outdoor adventures—tell us on our Facebook page! Two free admission passes will go to the muddiest or dirtiest adult(s)/child(ren) combo!  We'll give you until May 31st to submit your proof. Have fun! 

Rachel Danford

I joined Discovery Museum as the Outdoor and Environmental Educator after completing my PhD in Environmental Conservation and Policy at UMass-Amherst. My passion has always been to provide opportunities for people to connect with nature! I love how easy it is for children to engage with nature, and how they show me new and amazing things about the outside world. 


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