How to Spend a Fun Day Outside in Any Weather

This time of year, heading outdoors with the kids can feel like tempting fate. A sudden freak snowstorm interrupts a sparkling spring day, and then a downpour comes along to wash it all away. But don’t let fast-changing weather patterns trap you indoors, where even the mellowest children get stir crazy after a while. Try these activities to keep everyone active and happy, no matter the forecast.


When It’s Raining, Grab Your Slickers and:

  • Bust out the inexpensive baking tools, because it’s mud-pie weather. Dress everyone in sturdy older clothes, since a mess awaits.
  • If it’s a gentle shower, make rain art: Before heading outside, have your kids drip food coloring—or draw a picture with washable markers—onto a piece of heavy paper. Lay it on the ground and watch the raindrops change the appearance.
  • Race nature-made boats in rainwater rivers. Will a twig move faster than a leaf?
  • Or skip the slickers and plan to get soaked. Admit it: Sometimes it’s fun to just run around in the rain. (It’s probably wise to stay close to home for this one, since fun-and-soaked can become unpleasantly-waterlogged pretty quickly.)


Snowflakes Falling? Bundle Up and:

  • Make snow graffiti by filling squeeze or spray bottles with water tinted with food coloring. Adjust the nozzle for a fine mist or a straight stream, and see what happens.
  • Treat everyone to snow ice cream: Fill a large bowl with freshly-fallen snow. Drizzle in a bit of vanilla and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir well, and enjoy!
  • Go on a snow expedition, in search of animal tracks, icicles, and other natural effects that disappear with warmer temperatures.
  • If your kids are older, adapt their favorite sunny-day games to the wintry landscape. Try touch football, baseball, even tag—with their bundled-up bodies and the hard-to-navigate snow, it will feel like a whole new experience.


On a Blustery Day:

  • Experiment with homemade wind chimes. Grab a fallen branch and attach various noise-making items: bottle caps, beads, shells, silverware, keys, even soda cans. Which sounds the prettiest?
  • Fly paper airplanes or kites. See whose will soar the farthest or highest.
  • Make paper-bag parachutes and attach them to small toys. Which size bag works best for each?
  • Run races into the wind, and with the gusts at your back. If you’ve got a stopwatch, see how much difference the wind’s direction makes.


When the Sun Is Shining:

  • We’re pretty sure you know what to do here…

    How do you get your kids outside when the weather’s less than perfect?


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