Friday, April 29, 2011

10 ideas for outdoor rainy day play

Just because it's raining doesn't mean you have to be stuck indoors all day.

The outdoors on a rainy day is an endless laboratory full of learning potential, as well as being heaps of fun!

Things smell, feel, sound and look different in the rain.  Wet sand acts differently to dry sand.  Dirt becomes mud.  Surfaces are slippery, squelchy and sloshy.  Puddles appear.  Creatures come out.  

Here are 10 ideas to keep up your sleeve for those rainy days, whether you are at home or at preschool:  

1.  Rain Painting

Sprinkle paper (heavier construction paper works best here) with powdered paint or drops of food colouring, and take it out in the rain. 

2.  Go on a worm hunt.

3.  Pitch a pop up tent.

It is fun to feel cozy and sheltered, and to listen to the rain as it falls on the roof of the tent.

4.  Create coloured rivers or ponds by dripping drops of paint dye or food colouring in puddles or small trickles that appear.

5.  Paint with mud.

6.  Go for a bush walk

7.  Take the trucks outside and play in the mud.

8.  Draw on the cement with chalk.

If the area is sloped, you get the added fun of watching a rainbow of colors flow off downhill.

9.  Make mud pies

This one never gets old!  Rocks, leaves, seed pods, twigs and other natural items can garnish the mud pies.

10.  Go mud surfing!

If the preschools in Norway and Scotland can do it in their climate, then we can hardly let a little bit of rain stop us in Australia now can we?

What ways do you encourage play outdoors on rainy days?


  1. Love this! We've been out in the rain this week too. It was BIG fun to use a tree as an umbrella and watch the rain drops hit the pond.....

  2. Great ideas than you for posting. I can't wait to share the ideas with other.

    1. Great ideas! I linked to them in our perspective from playing in the rain!

  3. Brilliant. We have had some brilliant days outside in the rain with powder paints. I love it when early in the school year parents will say "Oh are you going outside even today?". Most children learn ot love all weathers after a year in my class!

  4. My boys love going outside in the rain. Their favorite activity by far is going on a walk around the neighborhood, jumping in all the puddles along the way.

  5. How funny and timely!

    I spend most of my time working in "dreich" weather and I have quite a few sheets of ideas, props and activities for wet, rainy, windy, snowy weather - the essence of which is just to get out there and enjoy it.

    We worry if the temperature goes above 16 degrees just gets too hot to be outside! LOL! Only joking!

    Great ideas, as usual!

  6. Oh I forgot to say, when it comes to pop up tents. Got for transparent material such as shower curtains and have umbrellas too - then children can see the pattern of drops and streams made by the rain falling on their shelter. It's lovely. Great for vocabulary and group poetry.

  7. What? You mean go outside in the rain? :)

    Great ideas, Jenny.

  8. I absolutely love these ideas! It has been a very wet spring for us so far. This is great!

  9. Great list of ideas! We love worm hunting too :-) Thanks for stopping by Mama Pea Pod!

  10. These are wonderful ideas! We will do the rain painting, definitely. I'll let my son do the muddy ones on his own, lol. ;)

  11. Well now we have the ideas ... thanks to YOU ... All we need in Melbourne is some RAIN!
    Donna :) :)

  12. It´ll rain in Madrid this weekend. These are wonderful ideas!

  13. I love the painting ideas, we've done chalk but I've only just got some powder paints.
    And I love making little rivers and lakes, it makes us feel like giants.

  14. I love these ideas. The preschoolers I worked with loved to go worm hunting. Thanks for sharing the video of the preschool i Norway as well. I've never seen a preschool like that before. I've linked up to your post on my weekly favorites here:

  15. Lovely to see you at the Play Academy - thank you for these great ideas. We have amazing sunshine in the UK at the moment but this makes me (almost) wish for rain :)

  16. I can't believe i've never thought to paint with mud! Thanks for the idea - next time it rains we'll give it a go.

  17. Yes! I am in love with this. In Arizona, we don't get much rain in the spring, but come's MONSOON Season!
    Rain coats aren't prevalent around here, but I wonder if we could make some prior to Monsoon Season...?
    Your post was very inspiring! Thank you!

  18. Shoot, I'm 30 and I still love going out in the rain! It needs to hurry up and rain here again soon! Next time it's gonna be me and one of my closest friends, one of the local parks and a picnic lunch. Yeah, I went there! :-) Love these ideas!

  19. When it rains at our house, the audiobooks come on. There are lots of great sites to download them from, but we use this one a lot because the stories are original and free. Here's the link if anyone is interested.

  20. Great post! I love the outdoors; from doing activities to just sitting around on outdoor furniture. The only problem is where I live is deep in mosquito territory so I need to use sector mosquito spray in order to keep them away. We also get a bunch of firefies, which are really cool.

  21. Bet it's warm rain in Australia though. Downright miserable here in Scotland in winter! ☔ - Early Years Practitioner, Scotland.