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“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny. But we can have lots of good fun that is funny!”
– The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
WHY DO CHILDREN NEED TO GO OUTSIDE IN “BAD,” RAINY WEATHER?
This screen addiction epidemic has really taken over the world. In our neighbourhood only a handful of people take their children outside. Moreover, now that it’s cold, NO ONE HAS BEEN OUT IN WEEKS. My child takes imaginary friends outdoors and thinks her cousin’s Furby is a real pet. Today, for the first time in weeks, we saw a little boy (from another neighbourhood) with his mom. She told me that Sunday is the only time he gets to go outside. Craziness people, craziness. TAKE YOUR CHILDREN OUTSIDE or make them go outside by themselves if they are old enough. Here is why:
- Children need fresh air and at least an hour in the sun a day to get enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and immune systems. Even if it’s raining and the sun is not visible, I assure you that it is still there; and your child will still get the vitamin by spending time outdoors.
- Furthermore, kids need 3 hours or more outdoor time per day to avoid myopia (literal and figurative).
- Just because you don’t like rainy/cold weather, doesn’t mean your child doesn’t. Every person is different and all children deserve to experience various types of weather.
- Children are more attune to nature and their senses so exposing them to the outdoors in rainy weather allows them to be more attune with themselves.
- There is no “bad” weather – it’s only how you perceive it. So unless you teach your child that rain is bad, most likely they will love being outside.
- Going outside together when it’s raining provides an excellent opportunity for connection. Because you wouldn’t want to risk being electrocuted by your phone, you will be forced to actually play with your child or at least observe them in a more active way. 😉
- Spending time outdoors and listening to the sounds of the rain will help balance your child’s emotions. Have your child pay attention to the sound of the rain as it hits different surfaces (metal, water, leaves). It’s like music!
- Your children will give good example to other kids and with time more and more children will go outside to play in the rain.
- Learning how to adopt to rainy, cold (i.e. uncomfortable) weather helps your child become more resilient (both in body and mind).
- Kids can do creative activities in the rain – scroll to the bottom for a few ideas.
HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILD FOR RAINY WEATHER
When we go outside splashing in the rain, people often think we were aliens and keep on asking why we are out. LIFE – It’s not in front of a TV. I take Adèle outside rain or shine, wind or snow. I want her to experience all different types of weather and it also provides an opportunity for a real connection. Instead of watching your child play, get involved and play with them. If you are “afraid” to go outside when it’s rainy and cold, I have a solutions – invest in clothes and shoes that are appropriate for different types of weather.
To be honest, at first, I did not like going out when it rained either. Or, if I went out, I would take Adèle to the library or the museum. Then, one day while on vacation, she danced in the rain (it was warm and sunny and very hot outside). Since then, she would always ask to go out and dance in the rain and I have to admit that I dreaded it a little bit, especially when it was cold outside. Then, I asked myself – why don’t I want to go outside? We had many umbrellas (my husband collects them), so I was not afraid of getting my clothes wet. But, unlike Adèle who wore her rain boots, I did not have any at the time and it prevented me from jumping in the puddles with her. Not having the right footwear also made me nervous around puddles and rain in general. I didn’t want to get my feet wet and cold. At the time I was also transitioning to barefoot walking (I’ll talk more about that in a separate post), so I started looking for barefoot boots. I spent hours searching the internet for the best rain boot, and the one that I ended up investing in is Vivobarefoot Women’s Waterloo Rain Boots. These boots have, literally, changed my life. I am no longer afraid to go out in the rain. On the contrary, whenever I see a puddle, I feel like a little kid again and instead of avoid them, go straight inside. And as a bonus, they look quite stylish. Here is my personal criteria for finding the perfect rain boot:
- Barefoot boot with zero-drop, no arch support and flexibility. This means a completely flat sole without a heel and wide enough for toes to wiggle inside. If you have not transitioned to barefoot walking, then this might not be for you.
- How well they can handle different weather conditions
RAINBOOTS FOR CHILDREN
- Bata rubber boots – Adèle and her best friend both had these boots. They don’t go up to the knees (so not ideal for deep puddles) but are otherwise very comfy and not slippery (the sole has good traction). They are also durable and easy to put on which encourages child’s independence. We bought 2 sizes larger than actual size and Adèle wore them with thick socks for a while. Buying them at larger sizes like this means you don’t have to buy more boots, so it saves you money. I also managed to find zero-drop boots (made by MyMayu) which is what we use now that we both transitioned to barefoot walking.
- Vivobarefoot Waterloo K Rain Boots – These are super cute, flexible and high (can go up to the knee) are probably the best boots out there but, alas, Vivobarefoot discontinued making them. I have been in contact with them to see what they will replace these with, but for now they are not providing that information. I will update this page once I hear more, but in the meantime you can use the link I provided as a reference when looking or boots.
- Crocs Kids’ Handle It Rain Boots – Crocs boots have a reflective logo, but the hole is narrower than on other boots so that’s something to consider. A big plus are the handles which encourage independence by making it easier for kids to put them on by themselves.
- Western Chief Kids Ladybug Rain Boots – These also have the easy pull-on handles and the designs are cute. The downside is that they are heavy and smelly.
- My Design Childrens Kids Girls Paintable Rain Rubber Boots – I wish these were zero drop because I know Adèle would love painting them. Paint, erase, repaint your own designs. As per manufacturer’s info, “the colors are weather resistant, waterproof, non-toxic, non-flammable, durable and flexible.”
- Kids Paintable Rain Boots – Same as above.
RAIN CLOTHES FOR CHILDREN
Do you worry about your kids getting soaked and muddy and having to do a lot of washing? If so, you can get a rain clothes! Here is what to look:
- Fabric that is free of harmful substances and breathes. We love Abeko rain clothes but they are not easy to get in USA. If you are in Europe, Muddy Faces carries a good selection and excellent prices.
- Check how waterproof the rain clothes are. Usually they have a rating.
- Look for reflective tape so that your child can be seen easily when it’s darker outside.
- For older kids, I suggest getting pants and a jacket or dungarees instead of a full rain suit, otherwise you would have to undress them to use the toilet.
Adèle’s first rain/snow suit was a gift from our family (pictured below). Because we lived in sunny South Australia at the time, it was more than enough for us. However, for colder winter climates we bought her waterproof dungarees and a rain jacket. Here are some of the safest/eco-friendly ones you can find on the market in USA:
- Playshoes Unisex Baby and Kids’ Rain Pants – Made from nylon, these dungarees are windproof as well as waterproof. They have reflectors around the legs and side buttons for adjusting width. I did a lot of research before purchasing them, and couldn’t be happier. They last for many seasons so it’s an excellent investment.
- Oakiwear Kids One-Piece Waterproof Trail Rain Suit – PVC & PU (Poly Urethane) FREE and has reflective tape on arms and chest for extra security. Ankle cuffs are adjustable with velcro which helps prevent water from wetting the legs. It also allows your child to grow into it so that the suits last for a few seasons. Great all year round, even in snow!
- Rain Coat Jacket with Detachable Hood – GOTS certified organic cotton, designed especially for sensitive skin.
As I mentioned, my husband collects umbrellas. When living in Paris, we had 8 of them. In Adelaide (one of the driest cities in the world) we had 5! We have owned umbrellas of different sizes and colours. Just before moving, we stopped by a local shop and Adèle asked me to buy her an umbrella. She has never asked for anything before, so I took her request very seriously and we got her the umbrella pictured. Luckily so, because the minute we walked out of the store it started to rain. She was able to open it by herself. I noticed that there was a bit of colour on it that looked like a smudge so I was about to return back to the shop to exchange it when I realised that the umbrella was changing colours in the rain! It was such a magical surprise. Now, every time it rains, Adèle can’t wait to open her color changing umbrella and marches proudly with it, waiting for the colours to appear.
BABY & KID OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR RAINY WEATHER
There are so many things to do in the rain, but here is a short list of simple activities to get you started:
- Wear your baby in a carrier and take a walk. This way they will be snug, their temperature will be controlled by yours and they won’t get wet. Also, your baby can listen to various sounds and feel safe at the same time.
- Spray diluted paint into puddles and splash in colourful puddles.
- Throw different objects into puddles to see if they float, sink or move on water.
- Look for snails, mostly just after the rain. Here is a wonderful illustration on the subject by the marvelous Beatrice Alemagna from On a Magical Do-Nothing Day.
- Catch the rain in the palms of your hands.
- Paint or draw on a wall with washable markers/paints (with permission, of course) and watch the colours wash away.
- Just watch and listen to the rain.
Here Adèle wanted to see what would happen if she drew with chalk on wet ground.
WHEN A RAINY DAY SHOULD BE SPENT INDOORS
Here are the only time we don’t go out on a rainy day:
- When it’s thundering.
- When there is lighting.
- When there is a flood warning.
- When there is a severe weather warning.
- If sick.
BOOKS ABOUT RAIN
If you are home on a rainy day, it’s the perfect time to get cosy with a book. Here are some of our favourite books for a rainy day inside. Each one talks about or illustrates rain in a different way and here is how:
- The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss – A combination of perfect rhymes and whimsical, magical illustrations, this time-less classic is a must-have for a personal library. The drawings seem to move – all the characters are animated and fun. This book is about having fun on a rainy day, even if we are stuck inside for some reason.
- Waiting Out the Storm by JoAnn Early Macken, illustrated by Susan Gaber – Another rhyming book which illustrates a conversation between a mother and her daughter. The daughter is frightened by a coming storm and asks questions which her mother tenderly answers. Adèle picked this book out at a library and loved it so much that we got her a copy. It’s a lovely book to read while snuggling and it also addresses children’s fears of thunder and lighting.
- On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna – A book for the modern age, it encourages the child to let go of technology (video game, phone, etc.) an go outside to explore. This book illustrates my blog perfectly. 🙂
- Sam’s Bush Journey by Sally Morgan, illustrated by Ezekiel Kwaymullina – Sam dislikes the Australian bush and wishes it all disappears. But his grandmother teaches him how to love the bush – how to find food, shelter from rain, etc. This book opens up discussions about the aboriginal people, dreamtime and their culture as well as the environment.
- A River by Marc Martin – An award winning book, it’s about an imaginary journey of a child looking outside the window on a rainy evening. The journey takes the child through cities, jungles, farmlands, etc. and encourages a dialogue about the environment and daydreaming.
- Journey of a Water Drop (Bon voyage petite goutte) by Anne Crausaz – A poetic story about a drop, how it evaporates and becomes a drop again. This one is for my French readers, although even if you don’t speak the language, it’s a beautiful book to own. The images are self-explanatory even without understanding the text. It is also available in Japanese.
What are your favorite things to do while out in the rain? Comment bellow or share your photos on Instagram. Remember to tag me on Instagram as @Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play and use the #Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play hashtag.