Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weather is No Barrier

Weather can be an intriguing subject for young children. They are often curious about it and usually have so many questions. Why is it then, that more often then not, when the most interesting weather conditions present themselves the children are likely to be inside?

What will they learn from inside? That the clouds block the sun? That rain makes a sound if it's heavy enough? That water collects on the ground in puddles? All true, but hardly engaging, at least not for long.

Children deserve to have opportunities to be out in all types of weather. Yes, if they are to be out in cold, wet conditions for a sustained length of time then appropriate clothing is necessary.

However, even without that clothing children can still explore rain, wind, snow or heat, just for briefer periods.

Just look at the pictures of these children felling the water on their feet, head, body, all over. Even though you cannot see their faces you can probably still tell they are enjoying themselves.

Sure they could still be enjoying themselves inside, but it would be at the expense of the opportunities available outside in these situations. The indoors will always be available, but such opportunities as this come and go far too quickly.

The decisions we make in regards to the opportunities available to children can have long reaching implications. Just so you know, well after we had jumped in the puddles (and I was right there with them, bare feet and all), the children were talking about it right up to when some of them went home. They discussed how the water felt, both under their feet and falling on them. There were ideas raised about what else they could do in the rain. Some role play scenarios even recreated the events from outside. So a simple act to go out and get wet provoked learning in so many areas and sustained interest for the entire day.

With the rain set to continue for days to come I envisage more of these opportunities presenting themselves. I bet the children can't wait either.

I really love the quote that heads the blog Learning For Life. It reads:
"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, and snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." John Ruskin 1819-1900


  1. Great photos, Greg - even if there are lots of bare feet in there! What is is with you Australians & the bare feet! These look like quite big kids & I bet they loved the whole experience. I agree 100%, how can you understand about rain if you have never felt it on your face etc. Thanks for adding this to the outdoor play party too.

    1. Thanks Kierna. We Aussies like our bare feet because we have temperatures in which you can actually enjoy it. LOL

      I think it also made a difference that I was out there with them, bare feet and all, enjoying it alongside them instead of being simply an onlooker.

  2. Fresh air and outdoor fun is important what ever the weather. There is no keeping my children in just because of rain and I am only too glad they enjoy outdoor fun as I would go mad with them tearing round the house instead!

    1. That's the prespective we need to keep in mind Coombe. How the children feel about being cooped up indoors for extendee periods. Thanks for your input.

  3. Sooo envious of being able to be outside with barefeet.

    Our bare feet season is so short, and most of that is during the summer break.

    There is the "famous" Swedish saying "Ingen dålig väder, bara dålig väder" (rhymes in Swedish) there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Which pretty much sums it up, as you said, if you have the right clothes on, you can get out there and experience just about any weather - even the well below zero temperatures we get here in Sweden!!

    I do remember as a child in the UK though how we just got wet and filled our wellie-boots splashing in puddles, and played in the snow with jeans and jackets (not the snow suits/overalls available here in Sweden, and elsewhere now) - and yet in never bothered us - we went out, we played, laughed and had a great time until we were called in by our parents - THEN we noticed how cold we had got!!

    I also remember as a child how we had indoor playtime when the weather was wet - it was hot and stuffy - and often we had to sit still and listen to a story, several classes together - not optimal at all.

    My children's school have drying cupboards - so that when they come in, and are wet (because they forgot to put their rain gear on - or they played so intensely in the wet it seeped through) they can simply hang up their wet things in the drying cupboard, put on the extra clothes they have with them, and then take home their dry warm clothes at the end of the day.

    BUT this means parents HAVE to be active in ensuring that there are waterproofs and extra clothes at preschool and school - and even here in Sweden, where ALL parents know we go out EVERYDAY no matter what the weather, parents forget to supply the right clothes...

    THEN there are the teachers - does the school/preschool provide the clothing, or do they have to supply themselves - most places here in Sweden DO provide teachers with waterproofs and outdoor winter clothes....

    1. Unfortunately Suzanne, most services would never be able to, or would not be willing to provide the required clothes for every child. My aim is to have half a dozen sets. That way at least we would be able to take them out in small groups.

      It is also an ongoing issue here, and everywhere else I think, that many parents of preschool age children don't pack additional clothing. The most common reason I've been given is that they are toilet trained and therefore will not need the extra clothing. Even when I explain that the children can get messy, wet and dirty through simply doing what they would normally do on a daily basis doesn't seem to resonate with some. Of course, even the best toilet trained individual might also have a toileting accident now and again too. They are children after all.

      By the way, I would love to have some snow to play in. Oh and for the kids as well. ;)

    2. no service would provide the clothes for the CHILDREN in Sweden - it is EXPECTED that the parents provide the right clothing. Teachers on the other hand need work clothes - and if part of the work is that we are expected to go out in all weathers, then the right clothing is then provided - like uniforms at restaurants, police uniforms etc... rainclothes are sort of our uniforms.

      I have great gear with the logo of the preschool on my back - so that the children wearing safety vests (neon yellow) over their outdoor clothes can be paired up with the right preschool teachers - there can sometimes be several preschools in the same park all wearing yellow visibility vests - or whatever they are called!!

      Yes, I agree, parents should really think beyond the toileting accidents (even though they can happen to the best of them) and see that drinks can be spilled, as well as play be wet.

      We have extra clothes (lost and found box left overs) that we put on the children if they have run out of extra clothes - sometimes these are returned - but not always...