Not gonna lie: cold, rainy days are synonymous with blanket forts, hot chocolate, and our favourite YouTube Kids shows on autoplay. Cuddling with our little ones is THE BEST, but it doesn’t take long before they get wiggly.
When they start bouncing off the walls, I know it’s time to get outside. Children need to run, climb and play like they need air. Here’s a few ways that worked for us to help get our kids excited about the outdoors, rain or shine:
Three ways to get your kids excited about going outside in the rain and cold
1) Start ‘em young
My partner shared his love for the outdoors with our sons before they were old enough to walk, and I’m grateful for it everyday. Peeking under logs, digging up earthworms, laying in silent wonder under towering cedars; day after day, nature became their happy place. It’s never too late. We inspire our children to love and respect mother nature by modeling it.
Every parent knows kids are like sponges. Our off-handed remarks become their internal narrative. By replacing statements like, “It’s too wet outside to play,” with “I bet we’ll find the biggest rain puddles to jump in today!” we teach our kids that weather is an opportunity, not an obstacle.
2) Invest in good rain gear
There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.
The Norwegians have a saying, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Vancouver ranks within the top three rainiest cities in Canada. If we didn’t go out when it rains, we’d never go out! Head-to-toe, waterproof gore-tex rain gear is key. On a budget? Snag a great deal second-hand or shop online (buy/sell/trade online moms’ groups are my go-to)! Being comfy, warm and dry makes heading outside in a rainstorm magical rather than miserable. Bring it on, rain clouds!
Pro tips: The MEC Newt Suit is worth every penny. Picking up groceries from Superstore? Grab a pair of inexpensive (Joe Fresh) kids rain boots; super durable, faux fur lined, and tall enough to tackle the deepest puddles.
3) Let ‘em run wild
One of the best things about the outdoors is the answer is almost always, “Yes!” and “Go for it!” Today’s playgrounds prioritize safety, which is great, but we’re realizing that healthy risk-taking is virtually missing from modern childhood. If we want our children to learn to trust themselves, they need to explore their limits.
Research shows that overly sterile environments are compromising our immune system’s ability to fight disease. We’re wired for processing visceral sensory data; the smell of damp earth, the feeling of rough tree bark, the roar of water over rocks. I’ve never seen my sons more calm, self-regulated, and focused than when they’re studying the lines of a maple leaf, collecting chestnuts or watching pill bugs curl into roly-poly balls.
So when the pitter-patter of rain beckons, remember this encouragement from Wilder Child,
If we want our children to soar like eagles, reach for the stars, bloom like flowers, and transform like butterflies… let’s take them outside where those things happen.
Jeanine is a teacher, writer, and mom to two active and curious toddler boys. She has a passion for education and outdoor adventures. She loves to discover and share the best hidden parks, playgrounds, and beaches in Greater Vancouver. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her and her boys playing in the dirt or peeking under logs in the forest.