With the seemingly endless deluge of rain we've been experiencing, it’s easy to head to the nearest soft play to burn off all that energy but as the autumn heads into winter rain often becomes the norm. Trips to the local soft play can become expensive and lets face it pretty depressing for us parents. However, with a little preparation heading into the storm can be so much fun. I’d opt for a rainy walk over a soft play any day, so here are a few of my top tips to make the best of bad weather.
Kids love the rain and its doesn’t stop them having fun, if anything it adds to the enjoyment, so if you don’t want to get wet, get waterproof and that’s everything. We know to tog the kids in their wellies, all in one’s and jackets but what about us? There’s nothing worse than hanging around the kids splashing in the puddles when you are soaked through. Think wellies, think jacket and if you can… waterproof trousers. Yes. I did say that and no I can’t bring myself to wear them either.
If you have a very small one, remember the buggy waterproof or carrier cover, and if they’re crawling there’s no reason they can’t get full on muddy with an all in one – mud is good, kids need the exposure to the microscopic bacteria found in the mud and scientific studies have shown that exposure to this type of bacteria can actually make us happier and is proven to benefit the immune system.
Also think about after the walk. Take lots of plastic bags (re-usable) which you can place wet clothes and boots in and you might need a mat for your pushchair. Most importantly, remember to pack dry clothes for after, just in case the rain breaks through all that waterproofing.
Make the walk an adventure, kids need to see you enjoying yourself too. Go back to being a kid, splash in the puddles, run through the puddles, just keep them moving forward! Games are great, follow the leader, eye-spy or even a scavenger hunt. Lots of places now have activity trails which are always a winner, often with stations or characters to look out for.
Food is always the main attraction on a family walk for us. Plan your walk around a cosy pub at the end or pack a flask of something warm; soup, hot chocolate (don’t forget the marshmallows) if you're really prepared sausages warm from the oven wrapped in foil with some baguette is a sure fire winner. Think quick simple fare which can be eaten on the go if you can’t find anywhere to shelter.
WHERE TO GO
Choose a walk for the weather. The woods are a great option and we are lucky to have lots in the area, think Burnham Beeches, Bisham Woods, Pullingshill Wood to name just three. The woods provide shelter, natural seating, den building and of course the wonderful smell that comes from the rain hitting the forest floor. Did you know that smell even has a name Petrichor. Other options are enclosed footpaths but try to avoid vast open spaces where the wind and rain will whip. Dorney Lake is a very bad option in the rain - I've been there, done that. Don't do it. If you have a buggy, muddy paths and fields make it tricky to push through, try taking the mud guards off, it worked for me to stop the mud jamming.
Here are a few lovely walks we've done, each offer some shelter in the form of a cafe when the weather is REALLY bad.
National Trust - always a great option, if you're really brave you could even head into the property.
So, these are my tips for getting out and enjoying the rain; and the best bit… You get to come home, light the fire and snuggle down with a film.