Outside Project

Defeat Rain – Outdoor Activities for a Cold, Gloomy Day


woman in raincoat near lake in rainy day.

It’s easy to give up on spending time outside when it starts raining. It’s especially easy to decide you’d rather hide indoors if you’re several months into a long, wet winter. But there are actually many reasons and ways to take advantage of dreary weather and enjoy the outdoors—even if the outdoors looks cold, wet, and miserable at first glance. 

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

First of all, preparing yourself for the weather is key. There is a Swedish saying that translates to, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” If you want to avoid getting too wet, then you’ll want a waterproof outer layer, including waterproof shoes, a rain jacket, and sturdy pants. Thinner layers underneath are also a great idea for keeping warm. If you’re looking to spend time outside with your kiddos in the rain, then you’ll want to make sure they’re dressed for the weather as well.

Once you’re dressed to explore the wet and apparently (but not actually) cold and miserable outdoors, then you can take advantage of the many activities that are better done in the rain than in dry, sunny weather. This is by no means a complete list, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Dig for worms

Worms love the rain. If you pick the right time to look, you may be surprised at how many worms you find! This is an especially fun activity to do with kids of all ages. With a very young child, you might be showing them a worm for the very first time. Teach them how to hold the worm gently without squishing it. Older children can have a worm-catching competition to see who can find one the fastest or who can find the most. Or if you’re an adult doing this on your own, there’s plenty of fun to be had simply by digging for worms and seeing what you can find. As a bonus, the worms you find can be used for fishing or added to your garden to keep the soil healthy. 

Boy holding a worm

2. Splash in puddles

This is a no-brainer rainy day activity for most young people, but it’s easy for us older folk to forget how delightful it is. One way to do this is with tall rain boots to avoid getting your feet wet. It’s maybe even more fun, however, to wear no shoes at all and feel mud squishing underneath your toes. Or you could pick a happy medium and wear some shoes you don’t mind getting wet. 

3. Wash the car

Although washing your car during a rain shower might seem like a bit of a funny idea, there is actually a good reason for it. Hard water, which is sometimes all you get from your hose, can leave water spots on your car if you don’t dry it right away. Washing your car in the rain eliminates the need for rushing to dry your car as soon as it’s clean. The clean, fresh rainwater will wash away any hard water that could have left water spots. There is also a certain element of fun in getting soaking while washing the car. 

4. Start a garden

Warm days are excellent for many parts of gardening, but getting started is excellent to do in the rain. One reason for this is that it’s fun and easy to move dirt around when the dirt is wet and easy to work with, but another reason is that many seeds need to be planted before the warm, sunny weather starts. Even if you have no gardening experience, don’t let that stop you. A small area of land, even as small as a few square feet, can be enough to start a garden for a beginner. A rainy day is a perfect time to begin. 

legs and green boots on muddy path

5. Go swimming

Swimming in the rain is arguably more special than swimming on a hot day. Puddles are great for splashing, but real swimming—the kind done in a pool, lake, river, creek, or ocean—is its own activity. This can be a peaceful way to spend a rainy day by yourself or a thrilling way to spend it with friends. Sure, you will probably end up very cold, but that’s part of the fun. Plus, bundling up inside with a warm drink will be so much more fun after being completely soaked than it would have been if you never went outside in the first place. 

Besides these ideas, there are many, many ways you can enjoy the outdoors on a rainy day. But you’ll never find them sitting inside on your couch. So buck up, put on your boots, and head out.

The world is waiting for you.

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