Rainy day activities for kids: mud kitchens, mud pies and leaf boats
There’s no need for your family to stay cooped up indoors when the weather’s wet. In fact, it’s a lot more fun when you’re dodging raindrops, splashing in puddles and squelching through mud (and it’s worth getting a bit soggy!). So pull on your wellies and your waterproofs, head outdoors and have a go at our favourite rainy day ideas.
Make your own mud kitchen
Gather some old bowls, spoons, pots and pans to make a mud kitchen in your garden. Children will love getting their hands dirty as they scoop, pour and stir gloopy mud. Encourage them to add natural items to their play such as sticks, fallen leaves and petals. It’s a wonderful way to encourage creativity as they imagine all sorts of recipes they can make.
Mud pies, pizzas and cakes
Once your kitchen is set up you’re ready to start making some muddy meals. Mud pies are a classic and we love making mud pizzas too. Simply make a large, flat circle out of mud (this is your pizza base) and collect some toppings to put on it, such as fallen petals, leaves, pebbles and sticks.
For dessert, scoop some soil into cupcake cases and sprinkle chopped up grass or petals on the top. These will make beautiful looking mud cakes.
Just remember, your muddy treats might look tempting but keep a close eye on young children to make sure they don’t eat them. And always wash your hands when you’ve finished playing in the mud.
Credit: Phil Formby / WTML
Credit: Phil Formby / WTML
Mud monsters and creatures
This is a great activity for kids with active imaginations – challenge them to make a mud monster. Grab a handful of squelchy mud and mould it into a body. Then keep your eyes peeled for natural items you could use for eyes, teeth, claws, scales, tentacles… whatever gruesome features you can think of. When you’ve finished, leave your mud monster in the woods for other families to discover.
Leaf and twig boats
Challenge your family to a raft race with your own handmade boats.
- Collect some twigs roughly the same length.
- Place them in a line and fasten them together with string or long grass.
- Slot an upright stick into the base of your raft – this will be your mast.
- Thread a leaf or two onto the stick to make your sails.
When they're finished, try your rafts out on the nearest puddle or stream. For an extra challenge why not add some cargo? Load small pebbles, buts or berries onto them – do they still float or do they sink with the added weight?
When you've finished, remember to take your string and any craft materials home with you to protect the natural environment.
Stay safe. Always keep a close eye on children when you're near water.
Build a shelter
Woods have lots of natural shelters – look out for dry patches underneath trees to see which one makes the best umbrella.
You can also have a go at making your own shelter. Check out our den building tips and see if you can construct one that will keep the rain out. Remember to only use branches and sticks that have fallen to the woodland floor, don't break them off the trees. Always dismantle your den before you head home too.
Hunt for slugs and snails
Slimy slugs, slippery snails and wriggly worms all come out when it’s wet as they don’t have to worry about drying out. How many can you and your kids spot on a wet weather nature hunt?
Credit: Michael Heffernan / WTML
Credit: kozorog / Bigstock.com
Start a raindrop orchestra
Take some different objects outside to see what sounds the rain makes when it falls on them. Try different-sized saucepans or raid your recycling for foil containers and empty tin cans. Can you hear heavy drumming, a soft pitter-patter or pretty tinkling sounds? Try to create as many different sounds as possible and make some raindrop music.
Jump in puddles
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a wet weather adventure without a bit of puddle jumping. This is a great way for kids to burn off excess energy. All you need is a good pair of welly boots, some waterproofs and a few big puddles. Why not have a competition to see who can find the largest puddle, or who can make the biggest splash?