Following an email received this morning and a few comments made on a Facebook post that were brought to my attention; I thought I’d share the following with you all on the benefits of playing in the rain. I would also encourage parents/carers who take issue with this to contact me directly, rather than take to social media.
There are plenty of proven benefits of outdoor play for children. Did you know, however, that there are also lots of benefits to allowing children to continue playing outdoors, even if it begins to rain or is already raining when they head out?
As long as children are wearing appropriate clothing that keeps them warm and dry, they can fully reap the benefits of playing and exploring outdoors in the rain.
All children and staff go outdoors here even in wet weather, which is why we ask that children bring appropriate clothing (coats, hats etc) into school. If it’s a wet day and you’d prefer them to wear wellies please also send these in. When the children come in from the wet, there are opportunities for them to get warm and dry in classes – we prioritise their well being and go over and above to ensure the children are well cared for whilst they are here.
Children love playing in the rain and reap so many benefits:
1. Enhanced Physical Skills
Children can develop physical skills faster in the rain. Due to slippier conditions, children need to work harder to maintain good balance, further improving their coordination and gross motor skills.
Alongside maintaining a strong balance, children will need to use critical thinking skills while they manage risks and evaluate performing different activities. This can be as simple as choosing where to stand in wet conditions.
For example… will the climbing frame be too slippery to use today? Will mud or grass be more difficult to walk on?
2. Promotes A Healthy Lifestyle
Allowing children to play outside in the rain promotes a healthy lifestyle as they are taught from a young age that participating in daily exercise shouldn’t be prevented by the weather.
It has been proven that children who learn to lead a healthy lifestyle at a young age, will carry this habit on throughout adulthood: shaping happier and healthier adults in the future.
Moreover, when children are accustomed to exercising daily and playing outside in the rain, they can fully reap the health and educational benefits that come with outdoor play and learning.
3. Investigating Scientific Concepts
While exploring the great outdoors during rainfall, children are given new experiences of water, after seeing water coming from taps and water fountains.
Children can learn about nature in a more in-depth way as they question and explore scientific concepts, such as the water cycle, clouds and the weather, through play – learning where water comes from and why it rains.
In addition, while walking over grassy spaces in the rain, children may observe all sorts of mini beasts that only make an appearance during spells of wet weather: encouraging them to ask questions about the animal kingdom and learn about habitats and environments.
4. Provide A Sensory Experience
Playing in the rain provides a fantastic sensory experience to children!
With different sounds, sights, smells and touches, the rain can truly enhances children’s sensory experience.
They can listen to the pitter patter of rain on the ground, watch as the tarmac turns into a deep black when it gets wet, feel the damp, slippery surfaces caused by rainfall and smell the earthy scent produced when rain falls onto dry soil. Each of the senses can be stimulated when outdoors.
Furthermore, as children listen to the pitter patter of the rain hitting the ground, it can make them feel more relaxed and calmer, while the smell of the rain can make them feel refreshed and energised.
5. Increase Independency
When children are let out to play in the rain, they begin to learn self-help and independent skills – thinking about what they need in order to go out during wet weather.
From how they need to dress, such as putting on their coats and wellies to what they need when they are out in the rain, for example an umbrella, it’s a fantastic way to teach children to be a little bit more independent and take a little bit more responsibility on keeping themselves dry and warm outdoors.
Once children return from playing in wet weather, they can learn that in order to go outside the next time it rains, they need to hang their coats up and put their wellies away so that they’re dry and ready for jumping in more muddy puddles!
6. Enhance Creativity
Children’s creativity and imaginations can be inspired as they jump in muddy puddles like their favourite cartoon characters and allow their minds to run wild. Is it a huge loch, where they might find a monster, or have they caused a massive tidal wave by jumping in?
With others, children can transform the scene into the deep depths of a forest as they cross the muddy swamp and problem solve of how they can walk through the rushing river without getting too wet in the meantime.
Taking on a new role within their games are fantastic for children’s development as they practise and improve skills such as socialisation, communication, language and co-operation during their fantastically fun games.
There is so much fun to be had while playing in the rain, from jumping in muddy puddles, investigating mini beasts that only make an appearance in the wetter weather to pretend play games, what’s not to love? And it brings so many benefits along with it, too!
We do risk assess (and use common sense) before the children venture outdoors and of course, there may be times when it is unsafe – for example in high winds. In such cases we talk to the children and use the opportunities to discuss risk and danger.
I hope this helps parents/carers further understand our philosophies – the days of “wet play” and staying indoors are long gone. We live in Wales where wet weather is inevitable – we have to embrace it and teach the children how to dress appropriately for it!
And once again, just to reassure you all, staff also go out in the rain!
Should you have any questions/comments etc. please do not hesitate to contact me at school.