Do you remember saying this rhyme when you were a child, and the weather stopped you going outside? Sometimes it is teachers that mutter it under their breath when yet another wet playtime is called. No time to get things ready for the next lesson, a classroom full of children messing things up and afterwards fidgity children not able to concentrate on their work after being cooped up all day.
I wonder though, how often it is not necessary to have wet play? Some schools hardly ever stop the children going outside whereas others seem to regularly decide that the weather is unfit for going out. Wet play was not common at my school nevertheless, more often than not, my colleague and I would get our coats on and take our class out anyway ‘just for five minutes’. So often five minutes would stretch to twenty and really it wasn’t so bad at all once we were outside. You can be sure that some of our colleagues would send their classes out too once they realised that we were out and saw for themselves that when we came in the children were only a little damp.
There are those who would argue that when the weather is as grey and damp as this it does not matter if children miss the occasional play time. What harm could it possibly do? However, I believe that when we call wet play we are doing more than denying the children twenty minutes of exercise. We are giving them a strong message that when the weather is inclemment it is better to stay inside, to get in the car, to avoid doing what we had planned to do. In the long term this is likely to have a negative impact on their health as they will be more sedentary than they might have been. Moreover, they are likely to miss so much about the experience of being out in the rain which really is not as bad as you might think.
The day after I posted this I was in a school while Storm Imogen raged outside; going out in that would have been madness!