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For the Love of Puddles: Splish, Splash...Smart!

Photo by Sally Anscombe / Stocksy United
Photo by Sally Anscombe / Stocksy United

Rainy days aren’t just for playing inside. Embrace spring showers—and the puddles that come with them—by turning splash time into a chance to explore, play, and be goofy with your kid. Puddles can be little worlds unto themselves, giving glimpses of reflected sky, clouds, trees, and your little one’s face if she peers in at the right angle. Make the most of that wet, wild “other world” with these five rainy day activities that go way beyond making a big splash.*

1. Be a Puddle Scientist.

Help your child explore whether items like rocks, sticks, leaves, or flowers will float or sink in a puddle. Together, gather small items from around the puddle and have her drop them in the water. After a few tries, pick up a stick and ask her an open-ended questions like, What do you think will happen if we put this stick in the puddle? This a great chance for your child to practice making predictions based on her observations, like, That stick is big, so it'll sink. When she does that, she's learning how to think like a scientist (even if her predictions are incorrect)!

2. Explore the Depths.

For some estimating fun, grab a ruler before heading outside and have your child guess which line on the ruler will measure the depth of the puddle. After getting her guess, place the ruler straight down into the puddle and see how deep it goes, counting the lines on the ruler with your child to practice counting and measurement.

3. Celebrate Your 5 Senses (and Talk About Them, Too)!  

Use open-ended questions to talk about a rainy day with your child, like:

  • What does the rain feel like when it hits your skin?
  • What sound does to rain make on your jacket? When it hits a puddle?
  • What does a rainy day smell like?
  • What does it look like when the rain falls in a puddle?
  • You can even try to catch a raindrop on your tongue and ask what it tastes like!

4. Mirror, Mirror, in the Puddle.

Who’s the fairest of them all? The child who can point out her own reflection in a puddle, that’s who! Practice mimicking each other’s silly faces in the puddle’s mirror-like surface, and point out other things you can see in the reflection, like trees, clouds, and buildings.

5. Bring Puddle Time to Storytime.

When it’s time to head inside, take the rainy-day wonder to your favorite snuggly reading chair. Try great books like Kim Norman and Keika Yamaguchi’s Puddle Pug or Charlotte Pomerantz and James Marshall’s The Piggy in the Puddle, both of which feature great silly rhymes:

See the piggy,

See the puddle,

See the muddy little puddle.

See the piggy in the middle

Of the muddy little puddle.

*If the weather is warm enough and you're bundled up against the damp, we heartily recommend a good splash session. Jumping and stomping develop gross-motor skills and watching the water go everywhere is a great way to learn cause and effect!

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