Naturally, you want to shield your child from getting wet. And so on rainy days, perhaps you tend to stick to mall outings and trips to the library. But as a child, wasn't splashing about in a tropical downpour one of the greatest pleasures of life for you then?
So the next time it rains, think about venturing outside, suggests Dr Jacqueline Chung, Senior Principal, St James' Church Kindergarten. "Going outdoors when it rains offers children a different experience from what they are normally used to, as most parents tend to shield their children from getting wet in the rain," she says. "It's great fun for children to experience being in the rain; experience what it is like to have raindrops falling on their hands and face and splash about in puddles."
Not only is getting wet great fun for children, it can be educational too! There are plenty of ways for them to learn about the world around us just by venturing outdoors on a wet and windy day -- your child can explore maths and physics, build his vocabulary and language skills, or simply exercise his creativity with an outdoor craft project!
Try these activities (from easiest to more difficult):
LEARN ABOUT RAIN
Using a plastic sheet or a clear umbrella as a shelter, sit underneath and talk to your child about rain. Things to discuss include clouds and weather -- how is rain made? Where does it come from? "Talk to your child about rain in its varying densities (i.e. drizzle, rain, downpour, storm) and explain the differences," suggests Dr Chung.
TAKE A WALK
Mother-of-two, Karen S, loves taking her children on a sensory walk through the park. "Stop, close your eyes and listen to what you can hear," she says. "On your walks, find something rough and wet, and something soft and wet." Discuss what you find!
Put rain boots on and jump into puddles. Experiment with different sized puddles and different intensities of splashing! Let the children make mud pies and look for twigs, pebbles and fallen flowers to garnish these with.
MAKE A NATURE BRACELET
Early childhood educator and mother-of-one Debra R loves taking her child on nature walks. Create a collection bracelet by using a strip of masking tape (fastened to your child's wrist sticky side out), and then stick on the little treasures you find as you explore. Think leaves, twigs, and so on.
MAKE A RAIN GAUGE
Try collecting water/ rain in different types of containers with openings of various sizes, says Dr Chung. Tape a ruler to a container, leave it outside in the rain and measure how much water has collected every hour.
Learn about friction by heading to a muddy slope. Dr Chung suggests that you and your child try sliding down a slope with a variety of materials -- try a plastic bag, a plastic tray, newspaper, a sheet of cardboard, etc. Why are some materials better for sliding than others?
EXPERIMENT WITH PAINT
Use powdered paint to make a design on a paper plate or a piece of card/ sturdy paper. Take the artwork outside and see what happens when the rain makes contact! Why does this happen?
SINK OR FLOAT?
Make paper boats and experiment with different types of paper -- which boat wil sink? And which will float? Ask your child why he thinks this happens.
Dr Chung shares her tips on how to keep your child safe when venturing outdoors in the rain.
Remind your child the ground is slippery when it rains -- walk, don't run!
Avoid playing outside during thunder and lightning storms.
Wear appropriate rain gear, such as a light rain coat with hood, and gum boots/ wellies.
Have a dry towel and a clean set of clothes ready for your child to change into.
And most importantly of all, don't forget to enjoy yourself in the rain with your child!