Nothing will make you feel stir-crazy quite as much as a forecast full of rain. If the thought of planning seven days of indoor activities has you panicking, allow me to present an idea that is sure to give you hours of cheap fun, an easy way to get kids into the tub, and an early bedtime…PUDDLE JUMPING!
Aside from just being plain fun, puddle play is actually hugely beneficial for kids!
- Gross Motor Development: Did you know the average kid doesn’t learn to two-foot stomp until after age 2? It takes significant muscle power to get into the air and both agility and balance to land on their feet. (Read more about jumping here). Puddle jumping gives children the chance to practice this skill in the most fun way.
- Vocabulary Development: By now you now I am super passionate about exposing children to vocabulary rich play. Words like “murky, damp, drizzle, overflowing, precipitation, cloudy, downpour, spray, overcast” can all be used organically when splashing outside. These are tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary words that build solid backgrounds for our kids and help them with literacy later on in life. (Read more about tiered vocabulary here)
- Immune System Development: Dirt (and mud!) contains microscopic bacteria called Mycobacterium Veccae which stimulates the immune system. Playing with bacteria and nutrient-rich soil has also been shown to increase serotonin. In fact, regular exposure to Mycobacterium Veccae may help decrease a child’s risk of depression. (Read more about the benefits of dirt and mud here)
- Science Exposure: Playing in puddles naturally lends itself to great STEM exploration. Will these rocks sink or float in the puddle? How about these acorns? How far will the mud spray if you make a little jump? What about if you make a big jump? What kind of leaf makes the best boat for the gutter streams? What makes the puddles brown? Are there different colored puddles? Where do the drains take the rain? THE QUESTIONS ARE ENDLESS (which feels like a good description of life with children).
Instead of dreading a forecast full of rain (except for you Sunday…I see you, Doll Face), let’s pick a day and declare it PUDDLE JUMPING DAY.
I’ve made a list of my favorite places for family puddle jumping. These locations are loved by littles, and they provide enough tree cover to keep the worst of the rain out of mom and dad’s faces.
Need some gear for your puddle jumping days? I’ve linked our favorite rainy day items below (Not an ad…just things we genuinely like and own)
- Tuffo Muddy Buddy Suit: These run large, but I would still order your child’s typical size. They need to be big to completely cover all of their clothes and tuck into their rain boots. They should easily fit for a whole year if not more. We kept Connor’s 2T suit for two years until it his arms were poking out of the sleeves, and it was clear we needed to size up. Durable, practical, adorable…this is basically the rain equivalent of a snow suit.
- LONE CONE Rain Boots: This is our third pair of LONE CONE boots. They are durable and come in many colors and patterns. I can’t vouch for them being water-proof because Connor always steps in puddles that are deeper than the tops of his boots, so they take in a lot of water. That’s not really the boots’ fault though.
- Reima Lampa Rain Jacket: This past spring we switched from the Muddy Buddy suit to a rain jacket and rain bib because we wanted the flexibility of using one piece or the other in different seasons or occasions (like wanting just a rain jacket for errands in the rain or wanting just the rain bib for summer creek play). We’ve only gotten to use the jacket a few times since then, but we enjoy it. The adjustable hood is an advantage over the Muddy Buddy suit.
- HOBIBEAR Water Shoes: For hot or muggy puddle jumping days, your child may want to wear water shoes instead of stuffy rain boots. We’ve purchased three pairs of these shoes. I absolutely LOVE them. They have enough tread to be used as hiking shoes in the summer, they are quick drying, and they never break. I’ve washed ours dozens of times, and they still look new.
- Reima Lammikko Rain Bib: I love that this rain bib has the suspender straps to go under the feet and keep the pants legs down. This prevents them from riding up when you put your child’s rain boots on. You can also feed the pants OVER the boots and use the straps to secure them underneath to help keep super splashers dry. These pants are lightweight which makes them perfect for warm summer days, and they are roomy enough to wear many layers underneath during the winter.
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