Whether you’re looking to entertain your kids in the rain or yourself in the great outdoors, we have an activity for you
INDOOR FUN FOR KIDS
For those already experiencing frosty nights, now is the perfect time for kids to make outdoor decorations. Ask them to choose some items they would like to frame in ice (flowers, small leaves or tin-foil shapes are ideal) and lay each one in a jam-jar lid before covering with water. Lean a twig in it so that when the water freezes it leaves a hole. Put these outside on a frosty night and in the morning pop them out, thread some string through and the children can hang them around the garden.
The Impossible Egg
This is a great little trick: the idea is to work out how you got a boiled egg into a glass bottle. Peel a boiled egg, drop at least five lit matches into a glass bottle before quickly putting the boiled egg on top. The heated air inside will expand to take up more room, when it cools down it creates a lower pressure inside than out, causing the egg to be sucked in. Leave them to rack their brains for a bit; when they give up, show them how it is done.
Make a Rainbow
If you manage to get a glimpse of sunshine between the showers, then encourage their love of rainbows by creating one at home. Position a glass at the edge of a table so that when the sun is out, it shines through the water and on to a piece of paper on the floor. Arm your kids with a paintbox so that when the rainbow appears on the paper, they can try to match the colours by painting the rainbow on top.
As it is December, why not inspire them to create Christmas tree decorations? Cut out some shapes from a slice of white bread and dry these out in the oven. Next arm the kids with paint, glitter and anything that sparkles and get them stuck in to some crafting fun. Pompoms are very hip at the moment, are great fun to make and look good hanging on the tree. For tips, go toorganisedfunforkids.blogspot.com.
Look of the Season
If your young charge is an aspiring McQueen or McCartney, lay out some magazine pictures for inspiration, then hold a design competition using whatever can be found around the house. Think tin-foil leggings and J-cloth Alice bands, and you get the general idea.
OUTDOOR FUN FOR GROWN-UPS
When it’s bucketing down, the last thing on most people’s minds is the beach, yet once in the water the logic of surfing in such conditions becomes clear. After all, you can’t get any wetter, you’re covered in neoprene, and you can feel superior to fair weather surf-seekers. A similar self-satisfaction can be achieved by a) running in the rain, or b) dog-walking in a downpour.
Putting aside the fact of the environmental ethics, one of the joys of a swimming in a heated pool is the wisps of steam rising up into the cold winter air — it’s certainly the most fun we’ve had in Center Parcs. Yet when icy raindrops start making circles on the surface of the water, the experience seems almost magical. If you don’t like swimming, even looking at the crazy patterns that rain makes on a pond is beguiling.
Using Windscreen Wipers
Most of the fun things you can do while driving are now illegal (how long before changing radio channels is outlawed?), yet the childish delight of controlling the speed with which the wipers sloosh across your windscreen and the almost torturous scraping sound that accompanies it, should never be underestimated.
If you’re wondering why Jonathan Ive or James Dyson hasn’t invented a brolly that can’t accidentally invert itself in a spoke-snapping storm, then you’re missing the point. The umbrella is actually an adult game for those whose childhoods were spent delighting in hand-eye tests of will such as Operation, Kerplunk, and Bucking Bronco. The PlayStation generation will probably have to make do with Wii Weather Fit.
It’s been said that one of life’s small pleasures is being able to fart on a windy day with complete assurance of anonymity. This may be why there is nothing romantic about windy days. Rainy days, on the other hand, have many passionate possibilities, from the subtle caress disguised as the wiping of a wet strand of hair from the forehead through to an intimate mug of a steaming hot chocolate at a steamy-windowed caf? and, perhaps, even discarding those sodden clothes at the journey’s end. And if it all goes horribly wrong? Then you can always blame the rainwater for the smudged mascara.