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Rain, Rain Come Our Way

girl with rain boots jumping in puddle

After years of drought, we experienced the wettest January in more than a decade, and I celebrated every drop. Granted inclement weather poses challenges, from rain slick streets and highways to mud flows and flooding. Yet week after week of sunny skies during the winter creates severe water storages. Rainfall is absolutely essential.

Shelter In Place

People tend to stay indoors when anything wet begins falling from the sky. I readily admit to  savoring every opportunity to curl up with an engaging book and read and nap the day away. Some people watch favorite movies or channel surf until something interesting catches their eye. Others take pleasure in assembling pots of delicious homemade soup or baking favorite treats. Those passionate about a craft likely lose themselves in their latest project. Sooner than later, however, almost everyone comes down with cabin fever, feeling cooped up and restless.

Head for the Door

Who says we have to stay indoors? In fact, getting outside does wonders for what ails us. All we need is proper clothing for the conditions and a spirit of adventure. Dress yourself and the kids in waterproof boots, pants, and jackets, pull on gloves and a hat, and head out the door.

Splash in  Puddles

Walking in rain or snow is invigorating. Decades ago when our son Edward was four years old, we had 10 consecutive days of rain. And everyday we’d don our wet weather gear and take a walk. Always in search of puddles, he happily splashed his way around the neighborhood. Watching him delighted me.

Engage Your Senses

Engage your senses and experience the world around you. Breathe in the fresh, cold air. Open your mouth, stick out your tongue, and taste what’s falling. Feel it fall against your face. Watch as puddles form or powder covers the ground. The world looks altogether different with rain dripping off leaves and running in gutters or blanketed by fresh snow. Listen to the sound of rain falling and the silence of falling snow. Splash around in puddles. Make angels in the snow.

Savor Your Experiences

When you’ve had enough, go inside, shed your outer wear, and head to the kitchen for a steaming bowl of soup or cup of cocoa. Expand the rainy/snowy day experience. Talk about your exploits. What did each person enjoy most? What was the least fun? Write stories, draw pictures of what you saw and all you did. Savor the memories.

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Play While the Sun Shines

Autumn, our third season, marks the transition from summer to winter. Delicate summer fruits give way to crisp apples and pears. Leaves on the trees turn glorious shades of red, orange, and yellow before cascading to the ground. While the season offers opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, our focus begins to turn inward as hours of daylight become fewer.
Have you ever heard someone say “make hay while the sun shines”? This expression is thought to have originated among medieval English farmers who needed sunny, hot, dry weather for cutting, drying, and gathering hay. Every able-bodied person was expected to seize the opportunity to harvest when conditions were right. Once the weather turned cold and wet, hay could not be harvested.
Most of us have no crops to bring in, yet sunny autumn days are fleeting, and we do ourselves a favor when we play while the sun shines. Seize the opportunity to get outdoors and experience all autumn has to offer. Engage the senses and savor the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the season. Invite a friend or gather the family for a search of seasonal delights.
Those glorious autumn leaves demand attention. Soak up their beauty as you walk around the neighborhood or hike a favorite trail. Listen to the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet. Feel the warmth of the sun and the cool, crisp air on your face.
Bring a basket and gather leaves and twigs, acorns from beneath oak trees and samaras –  that distinctive fruit of maple trees commonly called “helicopters” or “whirlybirds.” Spy a feather? Pick it up. As you fill the basket, observe the colors, shapes, and textures. Imagine creative ways to use your bounty. Or simply appreciate the beauty of what you’ve collected. A shallow basket or a wooden dough bowl makes a perfect repository for such gifts from nature.
If you’re lucky enough to live near an apple orchard, take a trip and taste test the different varieties. Then buy a bushel and a peck of your favorites. Some orchards even allow customers to pick their own. That’s our chance to participate in a harvest. Stock up for eating and baking. As night falls earlier and earlier and the temperature drops lower and lower, people tend to bake more. Delicious and nutritious, baked apples are a traditional autumn dessert – ideal after a day of making play while the sun shines.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Creating Space for Outdoor Play

I remember my mother telling us to “go outside and play”? Seems few mothers say that now. The world is ever changing and our children do not enjoy the freedom to roam that my generation enjoyed. That means we adults have to create opportunities for unstructured, open-ended play outdoors. When an enclosed yard is available, we can create play space by digging out and filling an area with sand. Or we can add a sand and water table, also called a sensory table.

Although expensive to purchase, do-it-yourself options range from simple, easy-to-build one constructed of PVC pipe and a single storage container to one with overhead piping for funnels and a down spout. Deonna Wade of the Child at Heart used cut-outs and plastic tubs to repurpose a coffee table. That’s an idea could save time and money too. For those with woodworking experience – or the desire to learn – the possibilities range from budget friendly to “the sky’s the limit.”

We built one 37 years ago from wood with three cut-outs in the top for plastic dish pans and a storage shelf below for “play props”. Including our two year old in the building and painting, albeit messy, made the project a fun play and learn experience for everyone.

Need inspiration? Step-by-step instructions? Start here…

30 minute sensory table$30 – 30 minute DO-IT-YOURSELF SENSORY TABLE

 

pvc sand & water tablePVC SAND & WATER TABLE

 

Sensory TableDIY Sand & Water Table

 

DIY Custom Water Table

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play