Rainy Weather and Enjoying the Outdoors with Children


Sometimes the rainy weather can really get us down, but only if we let it.

We sure have had our share of it in Vermont this summer! On these days, we have to let go of our visions of hot and sunny hours spent by the lake or the river sipping ice tea, and that can be disappointing.

I am pretty lucky in that I have two very adventurous kids who need zero encouragement to go out to play when it is wet and rainy. Sometimes, we embrace the cool wet weather and stay inside to snuggle, read, do puzzles, and bake. But most of the time, we head outside to do our regular activities- we just simply suit up first! Getting outside for a chunk of time each day is important for everyone. Breathe in that fresh air, even if it is downpouring, and leave your to-do list indoors.

There are plenty of fun activities that we do on rainy days without spending any money. We walk out of our front door together, with rain gear, and discover new ways to have fun. Sometimes our world looks different and new when we slow down and take time to observe our surroundings.

Go for a rainy walk fully prepared to come back sopping wet after jumping in puddles, together, yes, you too mom! Your kids will think it is seriously the best if you partake in splashing. Get really wet, giggle, and have fun!

Puddle Jumping in rainy weather.
Jumping in puddles never gets old! The freedom to make a mess brings such joy!

Planting seeds in the rain is quite satisfying and effective. It is definitely not too late to plant more seeds in the garden, especially lettuce and radishes, but also fall crops such as carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi or turnips.

Build mud pies!

Gather teaspoons, measuring cups, wooden spoons, bread pans, and bowls. Or go without tools. I have a set of outside kitchen items for my kids that I purchased at yard sales so I don’t worry about my own things getting ruined. We find an area outside that has “clean” dirt and let the kids get mixing! Rocks, seashells, ferns, and sticks can all become mud pie decorations. My guess is that once your kids (if they are past toddler age) get set up with all the supplies, they will be so into this activity that you can quietly head indoors and have a cup of coffee.

Make paper boats and sail them in the water or in a really big puddle.

Go on a worm hunt! My daughter used to love saving worms on sidewalks in the rain to prevent them from getting stuck and drying out when the rain stopped.

Choose some toys that might be fun to play in the rain with: push toys, trucks, plastic animal figures, etc. Kids can get lost in their own little world and not even notice the rain if we send them out to use their imagination with some simple toys.

Rainy day play
Kids love sensory activities and experimenting with toys in water!

Head to a pond or a lake, perhaps even far away from your house, and explore what you see on the shore in this kind of weather.

Sometimes, more wildlife, such as otters, is visible in wet weather. You are sure to see birds, frogs, or newts busily going about their days. We have an abundance of beautiful bodies of water and state parks to explore and you will probably enjoy fewer crowds on a rainy day. You may even have the park all to yourself!

If you live in the country or have a protected space outdoors, one of my kids’ favorite things to do is go streaking around in the rain without their clothes. The joy and freedom they feel fills their little souls and they just light up. They come running inside after a while and I have dry towels waiting for them. Moments later, they do it again! Afterward, it is fun to get warm and dry in fresh clothes.

The simplest idea? Just suit up and go out, walking as far as you feel like it with your little ones.

Through town, down a country road, or in the woods. We love walking in the forest in rainy weather, where we are further protected by towering white pines creating a canopy overhead. Find a quiet space in the woods to just let your children have undirected play time. Or help them build a little fairy house. These activities can still be done with raindrops falling on our heads.

What gear is recommended for playing in the rain?

  • Rain suits (such as a “Muddy Buddy”) or rain pants with raincoats that have good hoods.

  • Good, tall rain boots.

  • Layers underneath that are temperature appropriate.

  • Umbrellas are not needed unless you are out for a long walk in the rain. The rain does provide a fun excuse to use a rainbow-colored umbrella or a clear dome-shaped one, kid-sized, of course.

Let us know how you and your family enjoy the rainy weather together! Do you have a favorite place to go when it rains for days and days?

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I live in South Duxbury with my husband, Matt and our two super energetic kids, Lucy (7) and Sander (4). We moved here from Fairbanks, Alaska four years ago to build our home near family and we are still working on finishing it! My husband is a carpenter and I am an artist. I have an MFA from Arizona State University and lived in the southwest for seven years. I have taught printmaking at the college level most of my adult life, though I am currently on a long break due to homeschooling and enjoying my children. I enjoy gardening, cooking, skiing, hiking, and find any excuse to be outdoors. Our family has a very loved Alaskan husky named Canute and an old Maine Coon cat, Oliver, who add so much love to our home. We recently added guinea hens and chickens to our little farm where we enjoy growing fruit trees, berries, and lots of memories. Vermont has been a beautiful place so far to raise our children and build new friendships.


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