There is magic in puddles that seems to call to all children. In the rain, or after, it's a rare child who can resist the urge to stomp, splash, swish and splatter through them, regardless of whether or not they're wearing their wellies. It's a well known kid fact that it's really not a successful puddle jump if you don't come out of it with soaking socks.
Playing in puddles is one of those great activities that requires little or no preparation - other than pulling on those wellies and a rain mac - and most of the time my kids are happy to play in them without interference from me. Should puddle ennui set in, though, we can always find further fun with these simple alternate games.
After the rain has stopped and the pavement starts to dry out, try making wet footprints from puddle water. We love making footprint trails to follow, patterns and even letters and words using puddle water as paint.
We are big fans of 'Singing in the Rain', and twirling our umbrellas in a Gene Kelly homage. There are a ton of other rain related songs and nursery rhymes to try if 50's musicals aren't your thing - classics such as 'it's raining, it's pouring', 'raindrops keep falling on my head' and 'I Hear Thunder'; but don't forget the many pop songs too - the chorus to Rihanna's Umbrella song, for example, is one of our favourites and another good one for umbrella dancing.
Both our kids were awed by the admittedly awesome video for Kate Bush's song 'Cloud Busting', and since watching that, another favourite game of ours is to play with making the weather. We catch reflections of clouds in puddles, and smash them to pieces with big, splashy jumps. We'll also twirl them into tornados by spinning round and round, or make the rain fall with a rain dance. G-Man likes to raid the kitchen to borrow the hand whisk, which he insists is his very own cloud making machine.
Not got rain shoes on? Play another of our favourites, the Puddle Vaulting game. Jump over each puddle, making sure not to make a splash. Amp up the peril by filling the puddles with sharks, piranhas, water goblins, or lava. Whatever you do, don't get wet!
We sometimes use the boules set, or pebbles if we're out and about, and then stand back to toss them into the puddles. We like to see who can get their pebble closest to the target, or who can make the biggest splash! We also love trying to count the ripples as they spread, and tossing several at the same time to make beautiful overlapping patterns.
When the puddles are in the garden, we turn them into landscapes by drawing around them with chalk and adding props like mini dinosaurs or farm animals. Draw a red chalk border, and the puddle becomes a Martian lake; yellow or white can be a tropical beach or a desert oasis. Natural elements like rocks, twigs and leaves make great scenery. Muddy puddles are perfect for Peppa Pig and friends.
Who can play with water without floating something on it? Not my kids! Leaves, sticks, feathers and flowers - all sorts of found-things have been set adrift on puddles by my guys. We've even made paper boats, twig rafts and cork ships to try out on the bigger puddles.
These are just some of the things that we've done on wet days, and every rainy day excursion with the kids leads to them creating new games and imaginative play - I'm constantly amazed at their inventiveness. So don't let grey days trap you in the house and get you down; get on your wellies, wrap up warm, and go have some fun!