We’ve been running sessions for families with SEN children for over 18 months now and have been blessed with good weather for just about every monthly meeting. However, last Sunday it was very, very wet and to be honest I wondered just how the session would go.
I wondered too whether there would be last minute cancellations, but in the event all bar one family came along with accompanying spirit of adventure.
Some of the adults lacked a full set of waterproofs but despite the unrelenting rain everyone ended up having a really fun filled experience.
Playing in the rain can actually help encourage child development.
Most children love to play in the rain, finding the experience delivers a refreshing and even exhilarating experience.
Being in rain exposes children to sounds and scents associated with a rain drenched natural environment which is very different than when it is dry.
Playing in the rain fills the senses, the sound of the rain on trees, on the ground, running along ditches. The feel of rain on your body, your face, your tongue. The sensation of coolness in the air, the smell of wetness coming up from the ground all these things provide rich experiences, awakening and stimulating the senses.
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I wondered whether some of the more anxious children would hide behind parents who gravitated to hiding inside the woodland shelters.
Well, yes there was a bit of that to start with but the promise of a fungi forage lured them out.
After an hour and a half we were all pretty wet, but not one child was whinging, in fact quite the opposite, they all seemed energised and more social with one another than usual.
Being out in the rain, not dashing from car to building, but seriously ‘out in the rain’ helps awaken the senses and evokes a sense of joy and with it release of tension and anxiety.
Of course, this is only going to ‘work’ if you’re wearing suitable wet weather clothing , otherwise, being out in the rain can soon become a miserable and chilling experience, literally.
Playing in the rain benefits family wellbeing
Spending time just ‘being’ in the rain is something most adults tend to shy away from, either scuttling indoors or putting up an umbrella. Sure, the rain can mess up your hair, but that’s not a concern for most children in my experience.
What we saw during our SEN session last Sunday was parents who, in having to be with their children, started to play with the children in the rain and the children absolutely loved it.
Pulling Mummy or Daddy out of a rain filled ditch became the favourite game of the day; who would have thought it? Pulling other children out of the ditch, who’d jumped in to enjoy the sound of the splash, also became a favourite game. Social communication and bonding I observed was at a level not seen before in the sessions.
I read somewhere recently that “play is not a luxury but rather a crucial dynamic of heath and wellbeing at all ages”.
My experience of our family session last Sunday was certainly an example in action of how play for all ages is so important in relation to benefitting family wellbeing.
I even had one parent in tears, of joy, for noticing her child verbally interact with others, something he’s never done before apparently!
Playing in the rain helps break down barriers between adults and children. Whether making mud faces on trees or jumping in puddles, together as a family, is a great leveller for all, not to mention the bestest of fun!
So, don’t shy away from spending time out in the rain with the family, it’s good for your children and for you too. Playing in the rain could well be an unexpected source of family memories you come to treasure.