“Rain, rain, go away, come again another day…” We can’t change the weather, but we don’t need to wait to play until a rainy day is over. Grab a raincoat and some galoshes and get outside! Or if the science behind rain interests you more, try some of that, instead. Either way, don’t let anyone rain on your parade! We created activities that all have a Rainy Day theme. These activities include things that will help your child develop fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving and engineering skills, and can help them engage in cooperative play, while fostering creativity and perseverance. Each theme also comes with recommended literature and movie connections. Feel free to throw in your own activities that might relate, and don’t forget to post your results to social media and tag @discoverymuse to share with everyone else!
Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity – “Spray” Paint
For this activity, you’ll need to gather small spray bottles, some food coloring, water, and paper. The food coloring + water will be our paint. We can learn a little about raindrops while doing this activity!
- Fill bottle with water and add lots of food coloring.
- Spray away! Squeezing the spray handle Watch the water bead up – water molecules have strong bonds that like to stay together. Tip paper up to allow the water to roll down the page like rain rolling down the windowpanes.
- Draw a duck on a blank paper using crayon. Then spray the duck paper with water. What happens to the duck? The water rolls right off his back – just like in real life! Ducks have special oils that make them “waterproof” so their feathers don’t get wet!
Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity – Make an Umbrella!
For this activity, you will need a paper plate, some scissors, glue/tape, coloring materials, additional decorating materials, and an imagination! This umbrella won’t protect you from the rain, but it will make a fun decoration to pass the time on a rainy day.
- Cut the plate in half. One half will be your umbrella shape. Scallop the cut side if you’d like.
- Add a handle. You can use the other side of your plate for paper for your umbrella handle or cut another piece of paper for a handle. Attach with glue or tape.
- Use coloring materials to add color and anything else you’d like to include for decoration.
- Hang somewhere to chase away the rain!
Science Activity – Make a Rain Gauge
Meteorologists measure how much rain has fallen by using a rain gauge. Make a homemade rain gauge using a soda/water bottle.
- Cut the top off, a few inches down, below the neck of the bottle.
- Use a ruler to measure increments from the bottom (inches and half inches are fine).
- Flip lid upside down and place back into the bottle (the lid acts like a funnel and prevents the water from evaporating). You can tape the top to make sure it’s secure/sealed.
- Place the rain gauge somewhere outside where it will collect precipitation but will not get knocked over easily.
- Check your measurements regularly. You can use a line graph to track the amount the rain falls over a period of time.
Science Activity – Rain in a Jar
Fill up the jar completely with hot water for about a minute.
Pour out almost all the water, but leave about one to two inches in the jar.
Put a bowl/plate over the mouth of the jar. Try to cover the opening completely.
Place a few (3-4) ice cubes on the plate.
Watch what happens!
The cold air from the ice cubes collides with the warm, moist air in the bottle causing the water to condense, possibly forming an eerie fog, and definitely creating raindrops along the top and sides near the ice! The warm water evaporates, turning into a gas which becomes clouds. When up high in the atmosphere, the moisture cools and changes phase from a gas to a liquid. The liquid, when it condenses, becomes heavy and drops from the clouds to become rain! This process is known as the water cycle.
Science Activity – Mud Pies!
So, it’s pouring rain out, correct? Go outside and get some of that awesome mud and bring it in to your sensory table! Add rocks and let them make mud pies and decorate with rocks!
Yes, this is messy but Yes, this is fun! (For those who don’t want them mess everywhere: place a tarp under the table and perhaps a bin with warm water for them to swish the mud off before they go and wash their hands in the sink! Or just leave the mud outside and play with it there – on an outdoor table or right in the middle of the dirt!
Physical Activity – Create Your Own (Toy) Car Wash!
Get some of those wiggles out while developing an appreciation for the cleaner things in life! (this is a great activity to do AFTER the mud activity)
This activity gets your children completely involved in maintaining their toy cleanliness! They will BEG to do this activity every time it rains!
Choose some toys or other materials that could use a good bath! Some suggestions are your toy cars (create a car wash!), baby dolls, dinosaurs, dishes and cups from the play-pretend kitchen, blocks, and legos. Anything made of plastic is fair game.
Place warm water and a few drops of dish detergent in a bucket. Swish it to make bubbles and off they go! (This is a great opportunity to get lawn furniture or the car washed, too!)
Physical Activity – Puddle Splashing
And of course, who can resist a walk after the rain and splashing in puddles?! Wear rain boots, a raincoat, and clothes you plan on changing immediately after (April rain is usually a little chilly!) and stomp your way around the neighborhood, looking for the best puddles. Channel your inner Gene Kelly, sing in the rain, and see who can make the best splash!
Conversation Starters and Research Questions
- What area of the United States receives the most rain? What area receives the least amount of rain? How far away from those places do you live?
- What are your area’s most rainy months? When was the highest rainfall your area has ever recorded?
- When too much rain occurs at one time, it can cause flooding, especially around rivers and streams. Has your area ever experienced a flood? If so, when and how high did the water rise?
- A drought is when there is not enough rain and the plant life begins to die because of it. Has your area ever experienced a drought?
Videos and Websites
- Singing in the Rain movie clip
- Weather for Kids NOAA website
- Water Cycle for Kids USGS website
- Weather Wiz Kids website
- Climate Kids NASA website
- Cloud Observation Citizen Science NASA S’COOL website
- How Do We Know When it Will Rain Sci Show Kids video
- What is Rain? Rudi Rainbow video
- The Water Cycle Learning Junction video
Because we know you’re stuck at home with limited access to movies and books, we tried to compile a list that connects to today’s theme that you might already have in your collection or be able to access online. These include:
- Raindrop, Plop by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
- The Rain Came Down by David Shannon
- Little Cloud by Eric Carle
- Splish, Splash: A Book About Rain by Josepha Sherman
- Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse
- Singing in the Rain by Tim Hopgood
- The Rainy Day by Anna Milbourne
- The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell
- Worm Weather by Jean Taft
- Rain by Linda Ashman
- Mr. Sherman’s Cloud by Habbeninik
- Peep and Ducky Rainy Day by David Martin
- Rain, Rain, Go Away, the Dinosaurs Want to Play by Joe Fitzpatrick
Consider putting together a playlist that includes the following songs:
- Singing in the Rain
- I Love a Rainy Night
- Purple Rain
- Have You Ever Seen the Rain
- Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head
- I Wish it Would Rain
- Fire and Rain
- Don’t Rain on My Parade
- Over the Rainbow
- Rainbow Connection