How many of us have childhood memories of running through the grass during a summer rain shower? Or floating leaves down streams along the curb, racing them to the storm drain? Putting on your rain-boots and splashing in puddles, looking up at the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of a rainbow? How many of us now tell our children, “No, you can’t go outside. It looks like it’s about to rain?”
Recently, Houston endured a stretch close to two weeks long where it rained every single day. That’s enough to drive even the most patient boymom crazy. So, faced with the decision to endure another day in the house, or try to get outside before the rain came, I threw caution to the wind and told the boys we were going for a hike.
We left the house around 10:30am and in the Texas summer that meant it was already 90 degrees outside so the boys wore shorts, t-shirts and the rain-boots they wear rain AND shine. We were staying close to home so I was able to pack light-sunscreen, hats, bug spray, and snacks. I also had the boys grab their binoculars and magnifying glasses.
After just a ten-minute drive, we parked the car and made our way to the trail-head. The boys were immediately fascinated by a huge spider and its web. I was immediately not fascinated by a huge spider and its web. The trail was nothing elaborate or difficult and we didn’t walk far (you could still hear street traffic if you listened hard enough), but we had a blast looking at dragonflies, listening to the frogs croak and wading in puddles. We stopped at an outdoor classroom along the way to nibble on our trail mix and saw more butterflies than we could count. The boys followed an ant trail with their magnifying glasses. We spent some time looking at an aloe plant and discussing its uses and employed the 21st century edition of an encyclopedia (read: an app on my phone) for help identifying a new plant. Weeks later, they are still pointing out american beauty berries when they see them and we are attempting to grow an aloe plant in the backyard. Attempting.
I loved that this outing was so simple, yet so memorable. We were only gone for a couple of hours and the kiddos came home tired, hungry and dirty-a boymom win in my book. They learned new things AND we were back inside and eating lunch before the first thunderclap. So the next time you see a little black rain cloud, don’t let it scare you away. Even rainy days are good days to be outside.
--The LIN Crew