Welcome to the inaugural post of the Playful Parent! WPPL’s Youth Services collection includes many great books on crafts, activities, party games, boredom buster books, experiments for home and school and much more. I will strive to get your creative juices flowing by tapping into those books on our shelves and pulling out some simple ideas you can incorporate into your family time.
Now that spring has finally arrived, it inevitably brings rain, but rainy days usually translate into extra screen time. Today’s inspirations come from Go Outside: Over 130 Activities for Outdoor Adventures by Nancy Blakey.
RAIN PAINTING - Let the rain turn your artwork in watercolor masterpieces!
Supplies: Poster or tempura paints, paintbrushes, watercolor or typing paper
Instructions: Paint your picture - shapes, designs or scenes - and lay flat outside in the rain. Check after a few minutes to see how the picture changes. Results will vary based how much paint and what colors are used, and whether it’s drizzling or pouring. Light rain will make a splatter effect while a downpour will make your paper look like it’s been tie-dyed. Once dry you can hang your masterpiece, cut into note cards or tape several together to use as wrapping paper.
SAVE A RAINDROP!
Fill a pie plate or shallow pan halfway with flour and place in the rain for a minute or two until you have collected several raindrops. Bring in and let it dry – may take several hours. Pour out contents into strainer or colander, letting the loose flour shake out in to the garbage can. What’s left will be the raindrops you’ve collected. The larger rain pellets are formed closest to the earth while the smaller ones fell the farthest distance. If you have younger children who may have a hard time waiting, this would be best done with an evening shower, so the rain drops will be ready in the morning, or before an outing or other scheduled activity that will lessen the wait.
This is a fun thing to do when the sun comes back out. The use of divining rods to locate water has been done for thousands of years, even by the 13th century explorer, Marco Polo. No one can really explain how it works, though some suggest that there is an attraction of wood or metal to water. Others feel that water disrupts the earth’s electromagnetic field, causing the rods to sway.
Supplies: 2- 24 inch lengths of 4-gauge copper ground wire, available at hardware stores. The store can cut them for you or use bolt cutters at home.
Instructions: To make your divining rods, bend approximately 4 inches on one end of each wire end to create a 90 degree angle to create a handle. To search for water or “dowse”, hold a rod loosely in each hand, at waist level, and walk slowly around your yard. When you pass over water pipes underground, then rods will cross over each other to form an “X”.
If you’d like to continue along the rain and water theme with some reading, the following can get you started and feel free to stop by at the Youth Services desk for additional suggestions.
Rain, Linda Ashman (Picture book)
Splat the Cat: The Rain is a Pain, Rob Scotton (Picture book)
Mudkin, Stephen Gammell (Picture book)
Puddles, Jonathan London (Picture book)
The Water Wars, Cameron Stracher (ages 12+)
The Water Seeker, Kimberly Willis Holt (ages 10+)
Drought, Pam Bachorz (ages 12+)