Child with yellow wellies jumping in puddle

Rainy day garden and nature activities for children

Don't let the rain stop you getting out and having fun

A rain shower need not stop you getting outside for some fresh air, after all jumping into puddles need not be confined to the kids! All you need are wellies and waterproofs then you’re set to go. The world is full of wonderous sights all you have to do is look, you don’t need a huge garden or to live in the middle of the countryside most of the activities can be carried out in the local park. Puddle jumping can be done everywhere; either jump over them or use them as stepping stones, alternatively just jump in them and see who can make the biggest splash. Making a rain gauge and measuring how much rain falls doesn’t require a garden it can be fixed to a backyard fence, just make sure it isn’t under the house eaves otherwise you won’t get a true reading. Cut the top off a 2ltr drinks bottle, take off the cap and insert it upside down in the bottom of the bottle to act as a funnel. With a waterproof marker put a measuring scale up the side.

If you are near a small stream you can race toy boats or play pooh sticks, just make sure you have a fishing net handy to fish out the boats before they sail off into the sunset. Many creatures, such as worms, come out in wet weather so take a magnifying glass and an invertebrate guide then count how many different species you can spot.

The rain doesn’t fall quite so hard in a woodland so why not make a shelter. Prop fallen branches up against a tree then cover with leaves and you have a secret hidey hole. Lots of fungi species live in woodland so take a guide and go fungi spotting, this is a great way of learning which are edible and which must not be handled. Another activity you can do in the relative shelter of the wood is to go on a treasure hunt; make a list of things to be found and see who can complete the list first.

Why not embrace the mud and make mud pies instead of sand castles. If the little ones are getting wet and muddy why not dig a pond in an overgrown spot in the garden, it's much easier when the ground is wet, it doesn’t have to be deep. A shallow pond will attract frogspawn, dragon flies and lots of other insects which in turn will attract the birds. Once you have attracted the birds, that will lead to other activities such as spotting and identifying the different species and then painting them. All you have to do afterwards is hose their waterproofs down, making sure you don’t fill the wellies! After a hot bath everything is as good as new.

If the weather really is too bad to go outside then there are lots of indoor garden and nature related activities, just click here to go to the blog ‘Winter Gardening with Kids’.

Encourage the kids to engage with nature, wet or dry there's fun for all in Fairy World's Ever-changing Forest here in store at Ambleside. A fully interactive experience for young and old with a Woodland Cafe to rest after all the fun, click here for more details and the booking form.

Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas