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Fun Outdoor Activities for a Rainy Day

All parents have heard the dreaded rainy weekend weather forecasts and have found themselves wondering how to go about entertaining their children in the house all day. In some instances, when the weather is extreme and unsafe, there is little choice but to stay indoors for safety. A lot of times, however, rain showers do not mean that spending time outdoors is unsafe. If there is no lightning or severe weather warning, it can be a lot of fun for the whole family to explore various outdoor rainy-day activities. Children and adults should be adorned in proper rain attire, such as raincoats and rain boots to prevent potential discomfort. An umbrella may also be a good idea if the rainy-day activities take you away from shelter, in the instance of a heavier-than-expected downpour.

Once the proper precautions are taken, the rainy-day games can begin. The first outdoor activity that many think of on a rainy day is splashing in puddles, but while this activity is a highly popular one among children and adults, the fun does not have to end there. Parents and teachers alike can use the weather as a way to teach children about nature through the use of rain gauges and weather stations. For younger children, nothing can compare to the fun of making mud pies in the rain, spotting worms on sidewalks, or even creating beautiful artistic masterpieces with the help of the rain. Rainy-day games do not have to mean indoor board games - with a little creativity, outdoor rainy-day activities are endless.

Spring Outdoor Play: Making the Most of the Season

North Carolina State University provides ideas for making the most out of every season, including outdoor rainy-day activities.

Snow or Rain Camp Must-Haves

DeAnza College informs parents that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes! By following the guideline provided, parents are sure to be equipped with the proper clothing for their children to partake in rainy-day activities in the great outdoors.

Make Your Own Weather Station

The Franklin Institute's Resources for Science Learning provides detailed instructions for parents or educators to assist children with creating weather stations, rain gauges, and weather journals to learn about the weather in a hands-on manner.

How to Build a Rain Garden (PDF)

Many children love to assist adults with outdoor projects. The University of California Cooperative Extension gives adults very descriptive instructions on how to create a rain garden, which children will surely enjoy tending to on rainy days.

Outdoor Activities (PDF)

The Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University understands the importance of outdoor play in the development of children. This resource gives a wide variety of outdoor activities for children, including some that are specific to rainy days, although the vast majority can be played during rain or shine.

Kid Activities

This resource provides a list of thousands of kids' activities, including rainy-day games and activities. There are also creative snack ideas given for many occasions, rainy days being one of them.

Rain Dancing

Scholastic presents this activity based on the Native American tradition of rain dancing; discussing and partaking in a rain dance is a wonderful way to teach young children about Native American culture while spending time in rainy weather.

Thunderstorm Safety Tips

The Department of Public Safety covers thunderstorm safety by providing tips for before, during, and after thunderstorms. Thunderstorms sometimes come without warning, so it is a good idea to know how to react and prepare beforehand in the event that rainy-day games mean being unexpectedly trapped outdoors when lightning begins to strike.

Art With the Rain

This picture guide shows how to create perfect artwork with the help of the rain.

Preschool Indoor and Outdoor Rain Activities

Preschool Express gives parents and teachers ideas for entertaining and educating children of preschool age with artistic and amusing indoor and outdoor rain activities.

Building a Weather Station

This lesson plan can be used at school or at home. The website provides instructions on how to build a weather station to teach children about weather, including rain.

Weather Wheel Game

Learning how to dress in different types of weather is an important part of childhood. With the weather wheel game, kids are offered a fun way to learn which attire is appropriate for each weather scenario.

Rain Inspired Activities

The American Camp Association has a great list of outdoor rainy-day activities that are great for campers as well as those at home.

Thunderstorms: Safety and Fear for Kids

Thunder and rainstorms can prove to be scary for small children; this resource covers the topic of safety and addressing fear in young children during storms.

Red Cross: Thunderstorms

Safety is always of the utmost importance when it comes to weather; the Red Cross provides tips on how to prepare and act safely during thunderstorms.

Rain Gauge Activity

Creating a rain gauge is an excellent way to get kids of all ages interested in the weather. Teachers and parents alike can use this activity to teach children about rainfall on rainy days.

Rain Facts for Kids

Understanding the weather can be a difficult concept for young children; many facts are given on this website to help children understand weather changes in terms that they can understand.

Outdoor Play

The Fairfax County Park Authority lists 365 different ways to enjoy the outdoors; many of these activities can be enjoyed even more in the rain.

Keeping Kids Safe and Healthy: Health Tips for Your Yard (PDF)

Wisconsin's Division of Public Health has created the ultimate guide to keeping kids safe during outdoor play. Safety outdoors is always important, but especially so during rainy weather.

Outdoor Play Ideas - Summer

Smart Start suggests a few activities for children on summer days, one of them being rain painting.

Checking the Place to Play

Let's Move! is an organization that strongly believes in keeping children active outdoors regardless of a little rain in the forecast. The organization provides safety and preparation for ensuring that everyone stays comfortable while participating in rainy-day games.

Water, Water Cycle & Weather Poems

Educators and parents will both find this resource on weather extremely helpful when it comes to explaining rain, weather, and the water cycle to children. There is also a large collection of weather-related poetry featured, which would make for a fun outdoor rainy-day poetry recital.

The Rain Game

The Rain Game is a game that can be played in classrooms or groups of young children with a teacher or adult as a guide.

Where Does Rain Come From?

This lesson plan helps teachers plan for covering the water cycle but can also be helpful to parents in explaining the process to young children.

Rainwater Harvesting

Texas A&M offers a lot of information about the uses of rainwater and the benefits of catching it for productive uses as part of outdoor rainy-day games.

Active Play for Rainy Days

Pennsylvania State University gives a variety of suggestions for keeping kids active in the instance that the weather is too severe for outdoor play. These activities mimic a lot of beloved outdoor rainy-day activities so that children will not feel as if they are missing out on a day full of puddle-jumping and splashing.

Rainy Day Play Outside

This resource provides a very helpful list of 12 outdoor rainy-day activities for kids.

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

This children's resource provides outdoor rainy-day games and activities that will have kids wishing the rain would stay.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart