Send Your Kids Out to Play on Wild, Windy, Wet Days

©. K Martinko

The weather doesn't matter as much as the clothing does! Here are some things to think about in order to make outdoor play in inclement weather more fun for all.

My kids know the rule: they have to play outside every day, even if it’s raining or snowing or blowing. The weather doesn’t matter, as long they’re dressed properly. While there is some resistance on wet days, once they are out there, they can entertain themselves for hour or two without any difficulty. In order to make outdoor play easier on inclement days, make sure you have the right approach.

Get the right gear.

It’s crucial that kids stay warm and dry on cold, wet, or snowy days. Invest in a good-quality raincoat and winter coat, as well as waterproof mittens. One of my sons wears a bright yellow sou’wester from Newfoundland that keeps his head dry. Rain or Shine Mama recommends these wonderful Swedish rain pants with reinforced knees, straps to go around the feet, and adjustable elastic braces. Thick snow pants are important, too, as are warm winter boots with removable liners that can be dried easily.

Have a positive attitude.

Kids pick up a lot of what adults say about the weather, and in most cases it wouldn’t occur to them that the weather is ‘bad’ unless they’ve heard it mentioned by someone else. My boys know I love thunderstorms, blizzards, and wildly windy days more than perfect summer days, but ever since starting school, where kids are kept inside at the slightest sign of rain or cold, they’ve picked up a more negative attitude. I’m working hard to reverse that.

Give them a challenge.

By giving kids a challenge (or chore) to complete outdoors during their playtime, it can provide initial direction that will then morph into creative, free play. On fall days, I ask my kids to rake leaves, which turn into leaf piles for jumping. In the winter, they work on clearing the snow in our driveway and patio with their kid-sized shovels, which turn into forts and snowmen. On windy days, they fly their kite or collect sticks and pinecones tumbling from the trees.

Make it fun.

There are so many wonderful things to see when the weather is wild – blowing leaves, overflowing puddles, rushing streams, glorious mud, earthworms and slugs. Leave out the sand toys, which work just as well in the mud, snow, and slush as they do in the summer. My kids plow many snow roads using their Tonka trucks.