Do you remember the feeling of jumping in puddles and feeling the cool rain on your face as a child? It turns out that letting your toddler play outside in the rain can be a fantastic way to boost their physical and emotional health.
Baby M knows that if it’s warm enough, a little rain isn’t going to keep us from getting fresh air and grass stains.
While it may seem counterintuitive to encourage your little one to go outside when the weather is less than ideal, there are plenty of reasons why playing in the rain can be a great idea. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of letting your toddler play outside in the rain, and provide tips for making it a fun, safe experience for everyone. So grab your rain boots and let’s dive in…
This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission off of products that are purchased through these links, at no cost to you. You can read more about this process here.
Why we need to bring our toddlers outside in the rain
It’s no secret that toddlers love to play and explore their surroundings, but did you know that spending time in nature can have numerous benefits for their development and well-being? According to a study conducted by the University of Illinois, spending time in nature can help to improve attention span and cognitive function in children, including toddlers. In addition, being outside in nature can help to boost their physical health, improve mood and reduce stress levels.
Incorporating regular nature time into your toddler’s routine doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. I find that it’s now just a normal part of our day.
Simply taking a walk in the park, visiting a local nature reserve, or spending time in your own backyard can provide ample opportunities for your toddler to connect with nature.
In fact, the National Wildlife Federation suggests that as little as 20 minutes of outdoor time per day can have a significant positive impact on a child’s development.
Whether it’s exploring the natural world, digging in the dirt, or simply breathing in the fresh air, spending time in nature can provide numerous benefits for your toddler’s physical and mental health. So why not make it a part of your daily routine and see the positive effects for yourself?
I have a few studies listed at the bottom of this post. Overall, while the specific benefits of outdoor play may vary depending on the study and the age group being studied, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that spending time in nature can be beneficial for children in many ways.
The type of rain matters
As a parent, it’s important to make sure your toddler is dressed appropriately for the weather before heading outside to play. Not only can extreme temperatures be uncomfortable, but they can also pose a risk to your child’s health and safety.
In the United States, it’s generally recommended that toddlers avoid playing outside in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). These temperature ranges obviously can vary depending on your location and the time of year, so it’s important to check your local weather forecast before heading outside.
Another thing to look at is air quality. We’ve been impacted by the Canadian wildfires this year, so we have missed a few weeks of outdoor time.
How to play in the rain safely with a toddler
Two words: common sense.
Freezing rain? Stay inside. Sheets of rain coming in sideways? Stay inside. Thunder, lightning? Stay inside. We’re talking about a light-medium drizzle here, friends.
I keep my phone in my pocket, we have a first aid kit, and we usually just stay in the backyard. I like staying in the backyard because I know it’s contained and I know every groove of the ground there.
While playing with toddlers in the rain can be lots of fun, it’s important to take a few precautions to ensure their safety. Make sure your child is wearing waterproof or water-resistant clothing, such as rain boots and a raincoat, to keep them dry and warm (more on that down below).
Avoid playing in areas with fast-moving water, as it can be dangerous for both you and your child. Watch out for slippery surfaces, such as wet grass or pavement, and encourage your child to take it slow and steady to avoid falls. We also avoid busy because drivers’ visibility is limited.
Finally, be mindful of your child’s body temperature and take frequent breaks to go inside and warm up if necessary. I periodically will feel Baby M’s hands and face to see if they’re too cold.
With these simple safety tips, you can enjoy a fun and safe rainy day playtime with your toddler!
Outdoor activities for toddlers
- Jump in muddy puddles – this one is a huge hit in our house because of Peppa Pig
- Use a tarp to set up a rain proof tent with a rain proof floor!
- Mud kitchen – we don’t let the rain stop us from an outdoor feast
- Rainy day walk – you can use a cover like this if it’s really raining
- Use wet chalk to draw on trees
If you are lucky enough to have a porch or long awning, then you can do just about anything you do inside, outside. Eating meals, coloring, reading, even tablet time (if that’s your thing).
Our rain gear
Outdoor toys for toddlers
To be honest, I don’t think you really need them. I think that outdoor play is a particularly important time to let little one’s imaginations run wild.
While it’s tempting to want to spoil our little ones with an abundance of toys, research has shown that too many toys can actually be overwhelming and overstimulating for toddlers.
In fact, a study published in the Infant Behavior and Development journal found that toddlers are more focused and engaged when given fewer toys to play with. Additionally, having too many toys can lead to clutter and disorganization, which can be stressful for both toddlers and parents.
Instead of accumulating more and more toys, consider rotating your child’s toys regularly or encouraging open-ended play with simple items, such as cardboard boxes or blocks. By simplifying the toy collection, you may find that your child is more engaged and imaginative during playtime.
If you are going to get some backyard toys, here’s what we have and love.
We also have a mix of spoons and bowls that we got at the dollar store for Baby M’s mud kitchen.
In conclusion, spending time in nature is beneficial for toddlers in so many ways, no matter the weather. Whether it’s sunshine, rain, snow or wind, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and play outside. Encouraging your toddler to experience the great outdoors can lead to numerous benefits, from improved cognitive function and attention span, to better physical health and reduced stress levels.
By taking small steps to incorporate outdoor time into your toddler’s daily routine, you can help to foster a love of nature and all of the benefits that come with it. So the next time you’re faced with less-than-ideal weather, grab those rain boots and get ready for some outdoor fun!
Do you bring your children out in all kinds of weather? Are you a rain or a sun person?
Let me know below!
- SURVIVING SLEEP DEPRIVATION AS A STAY-AT-HOME MOM
- 101 MOTHERHOOD AND LIFESTYLE BLOG POST IDEAS
- HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR TODDLER’S BLOOD TEST
- MAKING THE MOST OF THE FALL SEASON
- SPRING GIFTS FOR NEWBORN BABIES