We've had a rainy stretch around these parts. Normally, I enjoy a nice rainy day. Staying inside, curling up with a cup of tea and a book, listening to the rainfall...that sounds like a pretty fantastic afternoon to me. Now that I have a preschooler, however, a quiet day sitting on the couch is not an option. Raining outside? Why wouldn't you want to be outside in it? Think of all the puddles! The mud! Yes, it is all good fun, I suppose. (I still prefer the book. Shhh...don't tell.)
Last week we were reading Waiting Out the Storm by Macken and Who Likes Rain? by Yee. Both of these are really, really fantastic books. I spend quite a bit of time picking out which books that we'll read for our weekly explorations. I really do believe that if you want a child to appreciate beauty, you surround them with beauty. If you want them to have an ear for beautiful language, you read them well-written books. So, I place quite a bit of importance on what books Silas is exposed to. There are so many bad children's books out there. Either the illustrations aren't aesthetically pleasing or the language is poor or the story not well developed. It really can be a challenge to wade through all the twaddle to find something good. Waiting Out the Storm is darn near perfect, in my opinion. The illustrations are soft and inviting. The story is sweet and nature-based. And the language is poetic without being sing-songy or hokey. Perfect.
One of our rain activities was to Paint with the Rain. After Painting with the Snow and Painting with the Wind, you knew this one had to be coming, right?
On a day that looked like rain, I gave Silas two small sheets of watercolor paper and he painted on them with gel food coloring (I like the set by Wilton) and cotton swabs. Gel food coloring is awesome. It is a wonderful nontoxic option for painting homemade wooden toys (about a pea-sized blob of food coloring dissolved in about 1/4 C. of water - a little really does go a long way).
Then we taped his artwork to a plastic tray, so that it wouldn't blow away, and set it outside. Then we waited for the rain.
We actually left it outside while we went to town to run some errands and, of course, it rained while we were out. So, we totally missed seeing the rain fall, but when we returned home we found the result of our collaboration with sister rain.
It's subtle, but the rain water diluted the food coloring, causing it to spread and feather. It's really quite beautiful.