“Wilderness survival is a lot of work but it sure is fun”
says a 6 year old member of the pack, sipping on a cup of Doug Fir tea in the pouring rain. I fully agree. After struggling to make a fire by friction in a totally soaked Redwood Forest and sheltering a hail storm under a tarp with four 4-6yr olds, I certainly am tired. But it is a lot of fun, and such a great learning experience.
When parents ask me if we go out even if it’s raining, I like to tell them that the rainy days are actually some of our favorite ones. There’s something about being completely soaked and muddy and feeling more alive than ever. Or about working for hours just to get that fire going and finally enjoying a story and a cup of tea next to it.
In my programs, the weather is one of our greatest teachers and one of my greatest allies. When it’s warm and sunny it’s easy to just forget you’re even outside and chat about video games or movies. When you’re cold there’s a real immediate need for warmth and action. You need to stay alert, aware and work as a team. You definitely know the difference between being indoors and outdoors, and you leave the day having learned a whole lot and appreciating the luxuries you have at home.
Some of my favorite things to do with kids in the rain:
- Go on a walk and let yourself get soaked (make sure you have a place you can get warm afterwards though)
- Challenge yourself to make a fire (where allowed)
- Go look for a spot where you could actually stay dry, don’t be surprised if you find an animal there
- Make up a rain dance or song
- Make a feral cup of tea out of rain water and a wild plant (where allowed)
- Build a fort out of tarps and sticks
- Listen to raindrops falling on the shelter roof
- Put your toes in the mud
If you have a favorite rainy day memory from my programs, please share it here.
Hope to see you out there soon.