Have you ever noticed how fascinated children are with water? As soon mine began using open cups to drink from, they would play with the water (as well as drinking it). Taking a sip, letting it trickle down their chins, spitting or spilling it onto surfaces to see how it flowed and how it felt.
As soon as kids get in the bath or shower, they grab the nearest vessel to fill and pour out, repeatedly, until their washing experience is over. I reckon that if left to it, they wouldn’t tire of this simple activity.
We easily get annoyed at the messiness of water indoors. Spills create more work for us, yet water-play seems to be the one activity that really gets their imaginations fired-up and would probably keep them entertained the longest.
Yet when it rains, you hear the typical comments on how depressing, miserable, grey and horrible the day is.
Well we’re rejecting weather negativity. Actually, I have been rejecting weather negativity for years. Because personally, I love the rain. I think it makes the environment visually interesting and beautiful. I yearn to take my camera out and get snapping whenever I see it pouring.
Raindrops are not only bewitching to the eye, they are also essential for a healthy environment. We need the rain for life, and I think there must be an innate realisation of this in children. They are born with an appreciation of water. They love it, until we (adults) collectively kill their passion with our depressive notions that the weather makes you miserable.
So I’ve woken up this morning to hear rain beating down on the flat roof of my bedroom, and I am feeling happy, because here are five reasons why kids love the rain.
To reiterate and elaborate on before, the kids seems to think that water is the best fun. They get involved in water-play in the house at every opportunity, even if it is the tiniest amount of water. I’ve watched my children plunge their chubby fists into cups of water, just to have a feel.
So when we head out for a rainy walk, they’re in their element. Fraser hates me putting the rain cover on the buggy, and they both not only adore splashing in the puddles in wellies, but have recently discovered the joys of scooting through huge puddles.
It was only the other week that I saw my children attempting to swim – yes swim – through the biggest puddle in the playground.
I believe that part of the fascination with water is because it is such a unique substance. It has dramatic effects when combined with different elements of our environment. Think about what water does to paper, to flour, to our hair. It is sensory-heaven.
Not only that, how it moves, it flows and how it changes the way surfaces feel and behave is fascinating. Take a regular slide in the playground and add water, and you have some serious speed.
Children have the opportunity to explore cause and effect. Jump into a puddle and observe what happens with the water. Watch how far it splashes depending on how big the jump was. Compare that with riding a scooter through it. Learn about waves. The learning-opportunities are abundant. So let them explore their inner-scientist.
It is so tempting to stay indoors when it’s raining. You don’t have to look far to see the health implications that our sedentary lives are having on us. Child obesity is staggeringly prevalent, and increasing.
As a qualified nurse, I know the long-term effects that obesity has on adulthood, and every measure should be taken to avoid this for our children.
In the UK, our weather is a bit hit and miss, and if we avoided getting outdoors whenever the weather was ‘miserable’, we’d be stuck indoors an awful lot.
As well as physical health, it has been shown that getting outdoors – no matter what the weather – is incredibly beneficial for children’s mental health. I’ve read about increases in anxiety, and that feelings of low self-worth are associated with children who have too much screen-time in combination with sedentary lifestyle.
There’s nobody else out
As much as I’d love for everyone to be inspired by this post, don their wellies and cagoules en masse and head out in the rain, I realise that it is highly unlikely. And because of this, I usually find that places are deserted in the bad weather.
This provides a wonderful environment for me to relax in when I take the kids out to the playground, for example. We frequently have the park all to ourselves, which means that I can chill out and let them do exactly what they want, without having to police queuing, grab one of them from the path of a flying swing or continually shout, ‘climb up the stairs, NOT the slide!’.
My kids have the best fun in the playground when it’s deserted, because they can use the equipment as far as their imaginations will take them.
You’d think that giving children a ridiculously fun, exciting and inspiring time would cost an absolute fortune; but as the saying goes, ‘the best things in life are free’.
Splashing in the rain costs as much the pair of wellies and set of waterproofs you probably already had lying around. So why not put them to some excellent use, and get out there with the kids?
Do you love the rain as much as we do? I’d love to hear about the activities you do and places you go in the rain.