How we made the best of a rainy day, learned about gutters, storm drains, made comparisons, and used our 5 senses.
Did anyone else grow up hearing that playing outside was “good for you”? We LOVED to be outside as kids. It was the one time we consistently didn’t listen well, but never really got in trouble for- the dreaded dinner time call as dusk was setting in while we were outside in the backyard playing. That meant that, odds were, once dinner was over, even if we ate quickly, it’d be too dark to go back outside and play.
It’s been raining a lot here, which means we’re often cooped up inside… or does it? Splashing in puddles has always been something I’ve enjoyed, provided I have the appropriate attire on. So, we decided to take advantage of the most recent rainstorm and go outside and play. While it was raining. Research says that fresh air is good, and playing outside builds immune systems, right? Lol!
With the right attire, playing outside in cold and wet weather isn’t so bad. So, we put on our snow gear and rain boots. We stayed fairly dry for a quite a while, even though it was raining pretty good when we went outside. Finding puddles to splash in wasn’t too hard and we had a lot of fun comparing the size of our splashes, which is actually an educational activity for preschoolers and toddlers (making comparisons, maybe not the puddle jumping).
Anything can be a learning opportunity!
How does the gutter work?
Anything can be a learning opportunity. It’s what you make of it, and how you talk about it. While I didn’t set out to talk about it, it came up, so Sweet Pea learned what the gutter is, why we have it, and why and how the drains built into our sidewalk and streets work. Since we have a drain nearby, we decided to watch how it works. There were leaves out, so we used those to see how the gutter worked to bring leaves and other debris down to the drain and away from the streets. Sweet Pea and I counted the number of seconds it took the leaves to reach the drain after Buddy Boy and Daddy dropped them. Sweet Pea decided to put her hands in the gutter so that she could feel the water going down towards the drain. Yay! She was exploring and processing what was happening in her own way! 🙂
When we walked around the block, Sweet Pea stopped to check out all of the drains. To incorporate another one of the 5 senses, we also talked about how we could hear the storm drains as we were approaching them, because the water was still rushing down them from the rain storm. We talked about which direction the water was flowing and why. We stopped every time she saw something interesting, and, while it was fun to see what captured her attention and tested my ability to answer “why” questions, it was a little chilly and uncomfortable, as water was now dripping down my legs, because my old and worn out snow gear could no longer hold up against the downpour. But, it was SOOOOO worth it. Sweet Pea had fun and started to make some good connections and expand on what she already knew. Towards the end of our walk around the block (took us close to 30 minutes because we stopped so much!), Sweet Pea started talking about where the storm drains were, and which one we were closest to. Yay! More observations and comparisons! 🙂
So, what did the kids learn from playing in the rain?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, as we can’t always measure what they learn, especially when we do it through playful learning activities and in context of real life. But, we talked about and explored the following:
- Comparisons: splash size, which storm drain we were closest to, how the ground felt (soft, squishy grass vs. hard sidewalks and street)
- Directions and location words: behind us, in front of us, closer to, above (the drain), faster/slower (leaves going to the drain)
- Slope and surfaces: the road slopes to the gutter, which goes to the drain, the driveways slope to the street to bring the water down that way, different surfaces (storm drain cover, sidewalk , grass, bark) hold water differently
- Five Senses: how the rain feels (touch), how the rain tastes, what do we hear, how does it smell, what do we see?
- Counting: how many seconds it took the leaf to get to the drain. But, when out on a walk, you could count anything
- Observations: Plants and what happens to them in the rain, the gutter, our clothes getting wet but our bodies staying dry (at first for me).
When we returned home, Sweet Pea and I hung up our soaking wet clothes and changed into dry clothes. Sweet Pea was great about helping me hang up our wet gear and clean up the puddles we made inside the doorway. While I highly suggest playing out in the rain if you can, or splashing in the puddles, I do suggest sticking towels near the doorway and turning up the heat a bit so that the house is nice and warm when you come in. Putting a change of clothes nearby to change into would be helpful too. It honestly was quite enjoyable to brave the cold rain and go outside and play for about an hour. The kids both had a ton of fun, which made the water running down my legs halfway through our walk quite worth it. 🙂
Do you go outside and play in the rain? If so, what are your (or your child(ren)’s) favorite things to do in the rain?
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