In the book, Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems, Piggy emphatically declares his dislike for rain. I have similar feelings about rain. It is cold, dreary, depressing and makes me want stay in bed. We have had a lot of rain in the last few years in PA and it really gets me down. I know intellectually that we need rain for all the obvious reasons, but when I wake up to a gray day, I can’t help but be disappointed. Rainy days confine us to the house and deny us the fresh air we all crave. We tried to change the drudgery of several rainy days this week. My children are well prepared with umbrellas, rubber boots and plenty of available changes of clothes, so as long as there is no lightening, why not get out and get wet?
My husband had a few things to plant so we sent our two preschoolers out with umbrellas and discovered some pretty awesome things. My five year old is an avid worm investigator so he went right to work collecting them. He often “saves” them by transporting them from the driveway to the grass after a rain. He was able to see them on the move in the rain instead of drying up in the driveway.
My husband also accidentally dug up a burrowed Cicada. These bugs fascinate us in the summer when they molt, leaving their shed skins all over the trees in our backyard. Almost all types of cicadas spend years underground as juveniles before coming above ground for a short adult stage of life. We had never seen the underground stage before this rainy day. My husband carefully placed it back in the dirt where he found it after we took a close look at it.
On another rainy evening this week, we decided to get out of the house instead of planting ourselves in front of the tv or trying to maintain crowd control over our three restless children. There is a trail a few minutes from our house that we had never hiked. We knew it would be muddy, but decided to go for it and head to the bath tub immediately upon return. To our surprise, the trail was more wet than muddy. It was actually flowing like a small stream. My anxiety crept in a little as we started down this wet, dark, wooded path late in the evening, but I pushed it aside and headed down the trail. I am glad I did because it was a dream come true for the boys to tromp through the forest with no concern for how dirty or wet they were getting. Unfortunately for my daughter, she fell face first into the water after a few steps. She was a little shaken up, but was still able to enjoy this unique experience as long as her Daddy held her most of the way.
The boys loved “the water trail” and asked when they could go again. We had to explain that it wouldn’t always be a water trail, that it was only that way because we hiked it after several days of rain, that this was a really special thing we got to experience.
Going out on a rainy night turned out to be a great event. We listened to peep frogs, saw some interesting plants and got good and dirty. I will always remember the five of us taking this little mini adventure a few minutes from home. I am pretty sure the boys will always remember it too.
In the end of the Mo Willems book, Piggy finds that rain can offer fun and excitement if one is open to the possibilities and has someone to share it with. I have to agree with Piggy on this one.
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