Rainy day activities: what to do when it’s raining

Little girl holding umbrella and laughing
Don't let rain stop play! (Photo: iStock.com/ArtMarie)

We’ve all heard of April showers. But when you’re dodging the raindrops, splashing in puddles, and squelching through mud, pouring doesn’t have to mean boring. In fact, there’s plenty to do in the woods during a downpour or on a rainy day. So pull on your wellies and waterproofs, get out there and have some fun!

Rustle up a mud pie

Mud pie
Make your own mud pie (Photo: K Jacobs-Rutter/WTML)

Rain means lots of squidgy, gooey mud! So make a mud pie.

First, mix up some mud, then grab a handful and squeeze it so that it drips out between your fingers. Let it spatter your pie, and then decorate it with natural objects.

There are plenty of other things you can make with mud too. How about some mud castles, or a marvellous mud monster?

Make a rain stick

Once you’re back inside and dried off, have a go at making your own rain stick. You will need:

  • a long, sturdy cardboard tube (like the ones posters come in)
  • thin nails
  • a hammer
  • a mix of dried rice, lentils, or small beans
  • glue, coloured paper, glitter etc to decorate.

Hammer nails into the tube all the way along its length (ask a grown-up to do this for you). The more nails you use, the better the sound. Make sure they’re not too long so they don’t poke out the other side. Then pour some rice or beans into the tube – keep adding until you get a good rain sound when you tip it up. Replace the lid, or seal the end with sticky tape, and then decorate your rain stick however you want.

Have a go at den building

Den building
Make your den as small - or big! - as you like (Photo: Forestry Commission/WTML)

Woods have lots of natural shelters – look for the dry patches underneath trees to see which one makes the best umbrella. But it's always more fun to have a go at making your own shelter!

Check out our den building tips and see if you can construct one that keeps the rain out. Just remember to only use items that have fallen to the woodland floor, and make sure you dismantle your den when you're finished.

Go on a minibeast hunt

Slugs, snails and wriggly worms love to surface when it’s wet as they don’t have to worry about drying out. How many can you spot? Carefully rescue any you find on the pavement and put them back in the earth.

You could even have a go at making your own mini-wormery (you’ll need to scroll down to find the wormery activity).

Try puddle jumping

Wellies splashing in a puddle
Make a splash in colourful wellies (Photo: iStock.com/emholk)

Hands up, who loves jumping in puddles? All you need is a good pair of welly boots and a big, wet puddle (muddy ones are our favourites...). Now you're all set to see who can make the biggest splash!

Can you guess how many splashes it will take before the puddle’s gone?

What happens to your reflection when you jump in?

Sail a bark boat

Find a piece of bark that floats. Poke a hole in it using a sharp object such as a nail (better get your grown-up to do that bit!) and then push a thin stick through it to make a mast. You can always use mud to stick the twig to the bark. Thread a leaf onto the mast for a sail. Try it out on the nearest puddle or stream. Or you could try making a twig raft.

Measure rainfall with your own rain gauge

Measure how much rain falls in an hour, or even in a day, with this simple gauge.

Cut the top off a plastic drinks bottle with scissors or a sharp knife (definitely get an adult to do this for you!). Put some small stones in the bottom of the bottle (so it doesn’t fall over), then turn the top (the bit you cut off) upside down and sit it on the base so it makes a funnel. Attach it with sticky tape. Use a ruler and waterproof felt tip to mark a scale up the side (make sure your scale starts after the stones).

Create some raindrop art

Sprinkle some little piles of powder paint, or just some daubs of liquid paint, on white paper plates, put them outside and let the raindrops create some amazing patterns. Bring them inside and dry them out before all the paint washes away.

Float or sink?

Collect some natural objects such as pine cones, leaves, small stones, twigs and seeds, and head for the nearest large puddle. Guess which ones will float and which will sink, and then try them out. Can you work out what makes things more likely to float?

Make a raindrop orchestra

Take some different objects outside to see what sounds the rain makes when it falls on them. Try things like saucepans, plastic containers, baking foil, and tin lids. Collect as many different sounds as possible and make some raindrop music!

Choreograph a gumboot dance

Wellies
How many steps are in your dance? (Photo: iStock.com/YsaL)

Gumboot (or wellington boot) dances were first performed in South Africa by miners who wore wellies because it was wet in the mines. They even used the stomping dances to send messages to each other.

Put some music on and have a go at making up your own gumboot dance – it involves stamping your feet and slapping the sides of your wellies. You could even include some puddle splashing!

Want more wet weather ideas like these through the post? Become a Nature Detective!

What's your favourite rainy day activity?

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