As a child, how many times have you written a paragraph or an essay on ‘A Rainy Day’ in school? My guess is every monsoon.
And how did your essays evolve? Well, except for the language expanding in vocabulary, the essays increasing in length, my essays pretty much talked about the same thing – getting silly in the rains. And I still like to get silly in the rains!
I hated (and still do!) the rhyme, “Rain, rain, go away / Come again another day…” That rhyme is so inappropriate in the Indian context. What would we do without the rains?
The rain – its music, its scent, its colours give so much to the children to learn, to do, to have fun with that it’s important to let your child experience a rainy day without only cosying up on the couch to watch their favourite shows on TV and simply looking out the window, waiting for the dark clouds to march to some other land.
Here are a few ways to enjoy a rainy day with your children and experience childhood once more!
1. Observe. Celebrate
Gawk at the lovely downpour lashing the streets and your window pane, cleansing the trees to a sparkle and making them come alive with a child’s laughter!
Feel the cool mist on your face and observe the raindrops making patterns on your window pane. Watch how the raindrops trickle down. Put your fingertip against the window and hold a drop. Or hold your cupped palms out of the window and collect some rainwater. It is magical!
2. Umbrella Mischief
This is real fun with toddlers – I will never forget the look on my son’s face as we did it. Open the umbrella in the rain and twirl it around. Seeing the water splash all over in circles was something that my son watched with eyes wide open. He said it reminded him of sparklers in Diwali.
3. Gear Up!
When was the last time you put on your raincoat and gumboots and marched out boldly in the rains? Seems distant? Then why not try it now. Gear yourself and your kiddo up in raincoats and gumboots and walk out in the rains. Make a splash in puddles. Face the sky and feel the rain spray your face with your eyes closed. Smell the earth as you experience the joy of being a child!
4. Row, Row, Row Your Boat…
Time to bring out the old newspapers and turn them into cute little boats! Float them in puddles. Toddlers could even carry their bath toys like a rubber duck or beach kit toys with them. Race your boats! You could also use plain paper sheets to make the boats and ask your kids to colour them and autograph them with their names. These boats could be proudly displayed on their study desks or framed as paintings.
5. Listen to music
Close your eyes and focus all your senses on the music that the rain creates –the sound of a light drizzle, a heavy downpour, raindrops falling on your rooftops, and the melodious thwacks of huge raindrops as they fall to make puddles.
6. Write On
It all comes back to the essay on ‘A Rainy Day.’ Talk to your children about what you did as a kid in the rains. Ask them to write about their experiences, what they think about the rains, their observations.
7. Soul Food
And then comes the best part. Soul food and warm drinks on a cold, rainy day! Hot chocolate, crisp French fries, pakodas! Good food makes for great memories in any weather.
8. Capture it
Shoot videos and click photographs of your toddler doing all the fun things in the rain. Feel one with nature – once the downpour ceases, take a nature trail in your garden or even your society compound or a nearby park – you will be surprised to see the number of creatures out there. Snails, bugs, a variety of ants. Just yesterday we gently touched the shell on the back of a tiny snail and my son was surprised at how soft and slimy it was. There were big snails and small ones – we labeled them as mama snail, papa snail, and baby snail and took their pictures.
Last but not the least, don’t think of a rainy day as a dull, gloomy, and dreary day – teach your child how to enjoy the wonders of monsoon. How it turns fields into rich harvests and fills up our lakes and water tanks for us to use. Talk about the water cycle and rainwater harvesting – you could even ask them to label tumblers with their names and put them out in the balcony or terrace to collect rainwater. They can see which tumbler accumulated the most water. Use that rainwater to water the plants. That’s an easy and invaluable lesson on reusing and recycling water.
Have fun this monsoon. Paint rainbows with your children! Sing a song to etch a rain-drenched day of fun in your memories…
Threw out my old raincoat
Set sail without a boat
For places somewhere far beyond my dreams
As the sky came pourin’ down
I laid down on the ground
Like I was dreamin’
I let the feelin’ wash all over me
Rain, rain love
(come down, all around me)
Rain, rain love
(so glad ya finally found me)
Vaishali Shroff is a freelance writer and editor and runs a reading club (www.eikthirani.wordpress.com) for children in Pune. Her work has been published in over 10 titles of the Chicken Soup India Series and her children’s stories can be read at smories (http://www.smories.com/author/vaishali-shroff/).