Stormy weather – playing outside on a rainy day

What to do with the kids when it’s raining outside?

At this time of year in New Zealand we can get a lot of rain. And in our house, that results in endless requests for watching TV, DVDs and playing on the iPad, to the point where I seriously consider becoming a screenless household!

Often after the kindy pick up I have a plan up my sleeve ‘for a rainy day’. So here’s a few foot stomping, splashy, muddy activities which I can guarantee are WAY more fun than sitting inside glued to the goggle box…and will result in a great appetite for dinner, too…

First of all, GEAR UP. I get asked all the time about outdoor wear for kids and it frequently comes up for discussion in our FB group, The Outdoorsy Mama.

I love supporting kiwi companies and can personally recommend the awesome kids rainwear on offer from Therm Outdoor (especially the magic print jackets, which have a pattern that appears when wet); and for preschoolers, the coveralls and overpants from Mud Mates  are oh-so-practical. Both are available online.

A good pair of gumboots is also pretty essential! Try the classic Red Bands available from Farmlands stores or online at Redbands.

Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, as long as you have the right clothing! Time to get into it…


My personal favourite – create a workstation out in the garden or the park. Take different shaped containers and try to find contrasting types of mud, gravel, sand and rocks for your creations. Garnish with leaves, berries, and twigs. Start a ‘restaurant’! Take bookings, welcome your pretend guests – who is going to be the waiter? Who is going to be the chef? What’s on the ‘menu’? Let your child’s imagination fly away.


When there’s rain, there’s usually water flowing somewhere – down the drive or garden path, along the gutter, down the slide at the park etc. Get creative and build boats out of leaves, sticks, and/or bark. Then have races to see which design is the best!


Get out your gummies, go on a bush walk in the mud and make up your own rainy day song as you slosh along.


The environment changes in wet weather – go on a nature walk and have your child observe which creatures hide away, and which emerge to enjoy a good soak. Take a magnifying glass to examine the smaller creepy crawlies!


If you’ve got a pop up tent or beach shelter, throw it open in the back yard or park on a wet day, with the opening facing downwind. Better when it’s a drizzly mizzle rather than a torrential downpour. Set up a cosy camp inside the shelter with warm blankets, a thermos of hot chocolate and pen and notebook for nature observations, drawings, or playing games.


It’s great to garden in the rain! Plant some new seedlings, they’ll love the wet soil.


Collect rainwater in different sized and shaped glass and ceramic containers. You’ll be able to hear their individual tones when lightly struck with an old piece of cutlery. Make some beautiful music!


Find a little watercourse and stop it up! I’m not quite sure why it is so fun to build a dam, but make like a beaver and go for gold. Once you’ve successfully diverted things, bathe in satisfaction for a while and then make sure you demolish your hard work (actually that’s most of the fun, according to Nate) and let the water run its natural course again.

So there you have it…have you got a favourite rainy day outdoorsy game? What would you like to add to the list?






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