Repeat after me: Rain is not the enemy. Rain is NOT the enemy...
Repeat after me: Rain is not the enemy. Rain is NOT the enemy...
Scott Dunlop
You probably don’t spend a lot of time considering how much the weather is a critical factor in parenting, until the teddy bear’s picnic party you have spent weeks organising coincides with an unseasonal downpour, or the last week of the school holidays gets rained out. Don’t worry, though, you’re not cursed- it’s just there to test your parenting skills.

This past long weekend we mastered the rain, and had loads of fun, despite the floods outside (and inside - don’t ask, but a tap left running into a bath with a plug in it is a great way to create your own indoor pool).

Your response to rain may be to hide sobbing under a blanket while the children bounce off the walls with ferocious cabin fever, only to emerge to help slip another DVD into the machine, or to stare blankly at the muddy footprints accumulating in the bathroom, passage and kitchen. It can be so depressing, that you forget about just how awesome a parent you can be, with a little resourcefulness and ingenuity.

There are cooking and baking projects you can do - after all, colder weather seems to generate bigger appetites, and teaching your children to cook gives them independence. Soups and smoothies are easy to make, and healthy to eat. If they’re old enough to cope with a kettle, don’t forget to teach them how to make you coffee!

Beading, painting and modelling are all relatively cheap to do, and will keep your kids busy for hours. You can easily make your own play-dough, and even the least artistic parent will enjoy twisting a brontosaurus into shape out of the goo. There are forts to be built in the lounge and home movies to be directed - Your kid could be the next YouTube sensation!

There’s a reason that many children’s books show the characters wearing wellies. Gumboots are made for splashing in puddles, and a reminder that the rain needn’t keep you all trapped indoors. According to photos of me as a kid, I lived in my wellies. Find that stream where you used to take them tadpoling, and show them what it looks like in flood. You can make boats out of biscuit tins and have a competition to find the most colourful autumn leaf. You’ll all have to warm up when you get home, so don’t forget to have some hot chocolate waiting.

Rain can be great fun, believe it or not. If you never stood outside in a downpour, catching big drops on your tongue as a child, then I reckon you missed a key milestone. Whether it’s summer or winter rain, the fields and gardens will benefit, and your children could, too, as you spend more time with them, keeping them busy.

The first rule of children’s birthday parties (especially outdoors ones) is we don’t talk about children’s parties. No, wait, that’s not it. Actually the rule is a simple one, and applied to almost every aspect of parenting: Always have a Plan B.

Always, always, always have a Plan B.

What are your top rainy-day tips? Send us yours to and you could win a R250 voucher.

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