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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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Sensory Play – Water



When thinking about sensory experiences, I wonder how often water comes to mind. It’s an ever changing sensory experience. Water invites investigation and discovery. It can be odorless or have a distinct smell. Think of hot sulfur springs. The water from these naturally occurring mineral springs has a distinct aroma.

Not all water looks the same either. Some is clear, and although the presence of bacteria and parasites might render it otherwise, we associate clarity with purity. That’s a lesson we’d all do well to learn, particularly if we’re hiking, camping or backpacking in the high country.

Mud puddles invite active play – splashing and stomping – and teach us what happens when water and soil mix. Even muddy water varies in color; mud from red clay soil is quite different in color and texture from mud from alluvial soil. Taking samples, making slides, and looking at water from different sources gives children insight into the complexity of water. It’s H2O and more, and sometimes looks deceive.

Water from different sources tastes different. Consider bottled water. Each reflects its source; minerals in the water create its taste. Still and effervescent waters taste different too. A splash of juice, fresh fruit, a slice of cucumber transform water. Time for a test tasting. Experiment and discover.

Who doesn’t slow down and relax when hearing the soothing sound of water in a fountain? Contrast that to the sound of rain drops pelting a window or the roar of waves crashing on giant boulders. Water has the power to soothe and to terrify. Ask anyone who’s survived a flood or heard raging water too close for comfort.

Certainly we feel water: splashing, spraying, pouring all produce different feelings. A bath feels different from a shower. Cold water feels different on our skin than warm. Pouring in bath salts changes the feel of bath water. Another opportunity to explore and discover.

Just remember to conserve this vital, finite resource.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Touch Me, Touch Me Not

The sense of touch involves physical contact. It’s both the act of making contact and the sensation we experience upon contact. Reaching out and physically connecting, whether the contact is with someone, an animal, a plant, or an object, is the act of touching. The sensation – the feeling – we experience on making that contact is touch.

We learn through touch. We see what’s around us and learn to identify and discriminate based on similarities and differences. Walking through woods, we see that trees vary, one species from another. By touching the bark and fingering the leaves, we expand our knowledge.

Through tactile experiences, we categorize sensations, finding ourselves liking some, disliking others. And, as with all our senses, individual responses to tactile stimulation vary widely. Consider therapeutic massage. Some people cannot bear the thought. Others seek its benefits. Within this circle are those seeking relaxation and wanting only gliding strokes and gentle kneading. Others want relief from tension and pain and prefer deeper pressure that reaches the connective tissue surrounding muscles. Our tolerance for touch determines our preference.

Adults and children alike seek out textures we find pleasant and avoid the others. Whether in the clothing we wear, the foods we eat, or the activities we pursue. Ever wonder why manufacturers started printing labels inside shirts? I don’t know the official reasons but I know plenty of people who like the change. Beats having to remove the tag and worry about snipping the garment in the process. What else could one do about such an irritant?

Think of preschoolers. Many delight in messy sensory play while others want no part of finger painting, play dough, “slime,” or anything else they feel is “icky,” “sticky,” or “yucky”.



 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play