Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it!

Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it! |

It doesn’t always seem like the logical choice, but these days we are working hard not to let the rain and lack of daylight stop us from our usual afternoon walks and adventures.  After all, the boy needs to get his energy out, the dog’s gotta go, and we all need our exercise.  I fully admit that it’s hard, and sometimes a struggle. I’m discouraged when I realize we are quickly kissing the sun goodbye at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.   And yes, its sometimes a drag to spend all that time suiting up to protect against the cold and the rain. But the thing is, we can’t be limited to indoor play when its…

…drizzling out

Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it! |


Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it! |


…getting dark.

Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it! |

Or else…

we’d never get outdoors!

Here’s how we make sure enjoyable family time in the outdoors happens every day despite the elements:

Be Ready.

This means getting a little organized.

  • We designate spots (close to the front door) for all the items (see below) that help us get outside more easily and comfortably.
  • Most days we make a plan and stick to it, specifically for our afternoon walk, so that dawdling or getting occupied with other tasks doesn’t happen.

Dress for the Weather.

The sunhats, sunscreen, and sandals get stashed away, and we bring out all the protective gear that will keep us dry and warm.

  • For Bergen (3 years old) a typical get-up is a warm base layer, plus fleece jacket underneath his rain suit followed by boots, gloves, and mittens depending on the particular elements hitting us that day.
  • For us adults, we are prepared with raincoats, hats, gloves, and yes, even rain pants for the days when we want to get out and there’s more than drizzle or mist.

Reflective Gear & Lights.

  • We’ve outfitted our stroller with reflective tape so that our little crew stands out when crossing streets, and we try to make sure at least one of us has a jacket that is bright or reflective.  Our dog also has a light attached to his collar that we can illuminate as it gets darker.
  • We bring along a small flashlight, and I’m even thinking that it might be fun to have headlamps on occasion!

Bring a Towel.

Also in the stroller, we stash a towel for drying off slides, swings, and other playground equipment.  Just because it is raining out or it might have rained earlier in the day, doesn’t mean we can’t get out and enjoy our neighborhood parks and playgrounds!

Do a little Research.

Two additions to playgrounds and outdoor spaces that help in this late fall/winter: Lights & Cover.  We’ve searched around a bit and found a few neighborhood spots (and some that we have to drive to) that either have lights (think play fields) or covered elements like a play court.  Here in Seattle we have a park built underneath part of Interstate 5.  When we’re really desperate to get out and it’s pouring, we head there for some fun exploring.

Embrace the Dark.

The areas we know and love (in the daylight) just have a different feeling when the sun goes down, so once we hit the dark rainy season, I do my best to change my mindset to appreciation instead of dread.  I’ve found that some senses (like sight) can take a back seat to our sense of smell and hearing, and we can discover new aspects of a familiar spot.  For some specific ideas, I love this post about after dark adventures from MommyHiker.

How do you get make sure you outside despite the rain, darkness & cold? Or…what’s holding you back? Let’s chat in the comments!

This post is linked up with the Outdoor Play Party with Rain or Shine Mamma (among other great sites to check out)!

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25 thoughts on “Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it!

  1. These are great tips! It’s definitely harder to get outside at this time of year, but it is so necessary for all of us. Investing in some good rain gear makes all the difference for us, and planning fun places to go keep us motivated.

    • Thanks so much! Love your tip on planning fun adventures—so good to have stuff on the calendar to look forward to–what are your favorite hikes in Western WA this time of year?

  2. Great tips! I do try hard to get the kids outside whatever the weather, which is easier some days than others 🙂 I’m a big believer that there is no such thing as bad weather (within limits!), just inappropriate clothing! #CountryKids

    • Thank you, Sara! Really appreciate you stopping by the blog and commentig! Yes, as long as we are suited up, its so possible to be comfortable outdoors and really have a great time too.

  3. Practical tips that make winter adventures not only possible but fun. s you say we can’t stay in till next summer! I love the photos especially that last one as the light is fading. Thank you for joining me for Country Kids, I hope you will stop by again it is always packed with lovely ideas like yours for getting outdoors whatever the weather.

    • Absolutely! I’m so glad I was able to link-up this time as I gained so much inspiration and new ideas for getting outside with my little guy (and new bundle just a month away!). Gotta love the beach at sunset! Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. I’ve had some wonderful adventures with my kids where we go watch the sunset on a beach or lie on a trampoline and gaze at the stars. If they’re bundled for the weather then they love being outdoors.

    • Ahhh, gazing at the stars…I love the sound of that! Can’t wait to get to do that with our son–hes always been asleep before we can get to it! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and for your comment!

    • That’s great, Karen. Thank you! LOVE the hot chocolate idea–yum. I’m thinking we’ll need to do that this weekend–chilly temps here in Seattle this weekend.

  5. I’m so glad I clicked onto this post. It can be so hard to make the effort to go outside but as long as you prepared and have decent waterproofs and are wrapped up they should be no stopping you to have some outdoor adventures.
    We recently took a group of young children to some local woods and they loved jumping in the puddles and running around in the rain. We had hot chocolate waiting in our mini bus and the children went back to their playcentre so happy and excited. It was worth all the rain, cold and mud we encountered on our adventure.

    • Congrats on such a successful adventure! Love reading about fun outings like that–and how perfect that you had hot chocolate ready and waiting in the mini bus for the ride home–I’m thinking we might need to take a thermos with us on our next adventure.

  6. I live near the high street and near the beach. When its Christmas some of the stores have extended hours so we go out even if we are not buying/shopping. This means that if we get cold we can go to the stores to warm up a bit. Since we dont have a car for our school run we walk (no matter what the weather) and yes we get ready by wearing the right clothes. If wind permits we walk in the beach and son & I stays in the sand for as long as we can. #countrykids

    • Your Christmas tradition sounds lovely! So nice to live close to the action–that’s why we enjoy city life so much and Seattle very special with its mix of nature and urban perks. How nice to get to walk on the beach too! Totally understand the wind factor–it can be brutal! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and commenting!

    • Thank you! Yes, the towel really comes in handy for the playground–alwayd glad to have it in the bottom of our stroller. Thanks for stopping by the blog and for your comment!

  7. We have two dogs so we also have to get outside every day (usually by 9am or they get impatient) the right kit is really important. I’ve just upgraded my wellies. I think they might be close to the most expensive footwear I have ever bought, but when you wear them every day it is so worth it!

    • We are so appreciative of our impatient pup! 🙂 Such a good point on having quality gear–for years I would purchase run of the mill rain boots and they were always uncomfortable and would end up with cracks–but last winter I took the plunge and bought Bogs & its made such a difference! Thanks so much for stopping by and blog and for your comment!

  8. Great post, full of practical tips. I honestly do believe that if you start going out everyday it just becomes part of the routine & now I couldn’t imagine staying indoors on wet or rainy days. Thanks for linking up to the Outdoor Play Party.

    • Thanks so much, Kierna! I agree, I often find myself disappointed when an afternoon/evening activity cuts into our family walk/outdoor time even when we’ve got something fun planned! 😉 Routine and habits are so important!

  9. Great tips, Kate! I’m having a rough time adjusting not only to the cold but also to the short days. As you say it’s so important to make it a routine, so it doesn’t fall by the wayside. And headlamps are a great idea! We went out with headlamps and flashlights the other night and the girls had so much fun. I think it was actually the flashlights that convinced the girls to go outside at all, because they too need a little extra motivation during the dark season and that did the trick! Thanks for linking up to the Outdoor Play Party.

    • Thanks, Linda! How fun that the headlamps and flashlights worked out so well for getting the girls out the door and having a good time—we will be staying in a cabin this weekend and I’m anticipating some fun with flashlights in our future!

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  12. Rainpants make all the difference! I love not having to hold an umbrella. We try to get out even if it’s cold or wet, but if it’s a torrential downpour, we like your advice to take cover. It’s still fun to hear and watch the rain come down. : )

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