Come rain or shine

Samantha Pope

It may seem like we are at the whim of the weather, but why not turn its unpredictability to your advantage? We have a range of exciting activities to try with your child, whatever the weather has to offer!

Beat the forecasters!
Forecasters in the United Kingdom have a very difficult job. No matter how hard they try to get it right, the weather is certain to throw a few spanners in the works! Can you prove them right… or wrong? Here’s the idea:

  • With your children, visit the BBC’s homepage and click on the five-day weather forecast for your area.
  • On a piece of paper (or on the computer, if you prefer), draw a chart with five columns – one for each day in the forecast.
  • Next, add two rows: one for the BBC’s forecast, and the other for your own.
  • In the BBC’s row, write down the forecast for the day, or draw it if you prefer.
  • Now it’s your turn! At the end of each day, discuss what the overall weather has been like with your children and get them to write it down or draw it in your own weather column.
  • How correct were the weather forecasters? Is it helpful or even accurate to predict the weather so far in advance? You decide! 

Vocabulary booster
Schools at the moment are really focusing on trying to boost children’s vocabulary, and to include lots of ‘wow’ words into their writing. This means using plenty of describing words (adjectives) that can help enrich their creative work.

Fortunately, the British weather gives us lots of scope in this area! One thing it isn’t, and that’s dull and predictable. So why not use the weather to challenge your child – and yourself if you like – to come up with some words, old and new? For example:

Grey: bleak, dismal, colourless, dull, dreary

Wet: damp, dank, humid, soggy, moist

Hot: scorching, boiling, sweltering, melting, roasting

Encourage your child to use a thesaurus if you have one, or search for an online one. See how many different sentences you can come up with to describe the weather: a fun way of doing this is to go outside and experience it for yourself! Take a notepad and pen and sit in the park (weather permitting). Will you wander as lonely as a cloud (thank you to Mr Wordsworth for that!) or ‘Let it Shine’ (thanks to Take That!)?

Become a top TV/film reviewer
Let’s face it: the British weather can be pretty shocking during the summer, as the torrential rain during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations showed. Sometimes, it can feel like the children are constantly in front of the television but what if you could put that time to good use?

Rather than zoning out in front of a film or a TV programme, why don’t you challenge your children (and yourself, if you fancy it), to review what they’ve seen? They could jot down what they watched, whether they liked it (and why) and how many ‘stars’ they would give it out of five. You can check online for examples of film and TV reviews or in a daily newspaper – there are normally some great examples of how to write positive or negative ones. Just how nice or nasty can you be?!

Just say the word
Another fun way of passing a rainy afternoon is by playing some of the classic word games that are out there, like Scrabble, Boggle, Hangman and Bananagrams, or by checking out ones on your computer, iPad or iPod if you have one. Any games that challenge your child to think of words they already know or learn new ones will help develop and improve their literacy skills, plus they’re good fun! Alternatively, you could look online for free wordsearches or buy magazines with them in at the newsagent. See if your child (and you) can discover a new word every day, and write them down in a little notebook so you can stun friends and family with your extensive vocabulary!

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