Playin’ in the Rain

April 18, 2019 0 Comments

We live in Seattle. It rains in Seattle, especially in the spring (ok…. fall and winter, too… sometimes summer). Does that keep us inside? Nope!!!!!

But spring is a fun, exciting time to be in our part of the world. All of the rain gives us SUCH a beautiful place to live. From the evergreen forests, to the spring show of flowers (blooming often starts in early March, or even February) — the rhododendrons and camellias, the early crocus to bright yellow daffodils, and, of course, the tulip fields a bit north of Seattle.

The grass (and dandelions) come back to life, and the snow slowly climbs back up the mountains so folks can get out onto the hundreds of trails in the hills and mountains that surround us on all sides.

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When the winter rain transitions to spring rain (which is pretty much the same rain, except we get wonderful rainbows with spring rain), the days get longer and longer (and a bit warmer) and we exchange our thick coats for lighter weight rain coats. And we just keep going outside to play. If we let the rain stop us, we’d never go out!


So….. what do we do? One of our favorites activities is to take a good old-fashioned walk. Our neighborhood is easiest, of course, but we like to check out neighborhoods throughout the city. We park somewhere and just walk up and down the sidewalks or roads for an hour or so (bonuses: exercise, fresh air, time to connect and talk). I was not kidding when I said the spring blooming is beautiful. Here in Seattle, we mostly don’t have broad grassy lawns. The way people in the Pacific Northwest get their exterior living spaces fixed up (or not) is an expression of their life and interests. When the older kids are with us, we check out landscaping, gardens we like, interesting plants, and garden decorations and structures. They take pictures of things (sculptures, accents) and plants they like with their phones.

If the Littles are with us, we do more basic searching…. can we count how many red flowers we see? What is your favorite plant in this yard? (No, you can’t pick other people’s flowers!) which yard on this block do you like the best? (Yes, that green frog is cute. No, you can’t have it). Wow! Look at the huge tree!!! Yes, I see that bee. Do you know why bees are important and why dandelions are important? It’s always such a joy to see them curious and learning.


If not a walk, we search out a lot of local parks. We have one within walking distance, but the city (and region) is loaded with a variety of parks. The Littles, of course, enjoy the play structures and want me to watch every move. But our parks tend to include wooded areas, walking trails, meadows, and lots of hills to climb (and roll or run down). There is such a varied landscape at different parks. We have a couple of favorites, but given time and energy, rain or no, we venture farther out to find new or different parks as the weather gets warmer.


Even farther afield (still in the rain much of the time), are special events and happenings that occur in the spring. One of our favorites is heading to the Tulip Festival up north. There are acres and acres of colorful tulips and farmers expect and prepare for a lot of visitors. We love the flowers, but to be honest, the kids seem to enjoy the mud even more. Rain + farming fields = mud! We come prepared.


There are also new babies at the zoo most years, which is always special, rain or shine. We haven’t been to the zoo yet this year, but I hear there are baby otters at the zoo in Tacoma!!!


AND we start to spend more and more time on the beaches. The winter winds off the water are pretty daunting and, while we don’t mind getting wet, braving a very cold wind makes exploring the beach too nasty and NOT fun! But once the winter winds die down and the days get longer, beaches are a favorite outing of ours… first and foremost, there is a lot of free space to run and run and run, and especially if it’s raining… we often have very few fellow humans joining us.

Here in Seattle, we enjoy saltwater beaches along the Salish Sea (AKA Puget Sound). The Sea comes in from the Pacific Ocean via The Strait of Juan de Fuca and stretches pretty far south of us. We hit up a beach once in a while in the winter, but really start to explore when the days get longer and a bit warmer. There are so many beaches and SO MANY rocks! The tide provides a different experience every time we go as well as interesting finds in the tide pools, among the driftwood, and along the water line.

We have Lake Washington (fresh water) beaches that spread north and south to the east of Seattle (it’s a fairly large lake). The beaches are obviously not tidal, but the play is just as much fun. There is more vegetation at the edges of the beach to explore and, while the water is never warm, it is definitely not as bone chilling as the Salish Sea and makes barefoot wading a must… even if it is raining.

Necessities for enjoying rainy day play

Everything we plan in the spring in Seattle usually involves boots and layers to adapt to the weather.,, take two layers off….add a layer, top whatever layers you are wearing with a raincoat of some sort. That’s pretty much it! I’ve learned to have clean dry clothing ready for everyone when we get home. But for play time… put on the boots and layers and out the door we go.

Do umbrellas play a role in our play? Nope. You can’t run and explore and pick up rocks and various other nature finds with an umbrella in one hand. You also can’t get gloriously wet and muddy if you are trying to keep track of an umbrella.


These are our frequent types of enjoying the rain. Heading further out requires more planning and often more time than our usual rainy day play days. Specifically, the trails up in the foothills and mountains are wonderful as well as the beaches out on the Pacific coast. But that can be shared another day; it’s time now to round up the kids who are home. I promised them we’d go out when I was done writing this piece … we are walking down to our local park to slide down some wet slides — just playin’ in the rain.


If you want to read more about any of the kids’ journeys, click on their name under categories to the right –>
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