This weekend, it is officially the start of the summer holidays for most schools across the UK and it is forecast to absolutely pour with rain. Both Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd of July are set to be complete washouts, with ominous dark grey clouds and inky blue raindrops decorating their designated picture box on the met weather forecast. It does not stop there either, oh no. For the entire first week of the summer holidays it is set to rain across the UK – with some sunny spells between soaking, sprinkling and the ‘occasional showers’. I’m not sure what’s more depressing, the summer holiday weather forecast or the fact that supermarkets have already started selling school uniforms for the next school year. We might think Easter eggs, halloween candy and Christmas decorations appear earlier in shops these days than ever, but it doesn’t seem quite fair to see the ‘back to school’ stuff advertised before they have even left school yet. It gives the rather bleak impression that the summer is over already. Of course it’s not all over. The heatwave in June was not our entire summer and the fun has only just begun! So, if you are desperately looking for things to do, wondering what wet weather family fun activities there are and want to discover the best things to do in dorset, look no further. Here are our top three tips for surviving a summer when it rains.
Top Tip Number 1:
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”
This quote was first shared with the world by legendary fell walker Alfred Wainwright, in his book Coast to Coast. Wainwright was a legendary walker and author who was also described as ‘famously stubborn’ and “a curmudgeonly, difficult and off-hand man”. So, not exactly the most sympathetic sounding guy. I would argue that there is such a thing as bad weather that is frankly dangerous to get caught in. Luckily for us, this summer the forecast is currently set for ‘unpleasant’ as opposed to ‘unsafe’. That we can work with. So, tip number one is to dress for the weather. Just as we put on our sun hats and sun cream on hot sunny days, we can put on our light waterproofs when it is wet. Whether it is a wetsuit or wellies, embracing the weather and dressing to match it will make your life a lot less miserable. Pack away the denim and the canvas converse trainers and pick up a pair of sandals and a poncho. Summer rain means that it is actually still warm temperature wise and so a full waterproof or welly boot might make your family members overheat and become grumpy. If the thought of walking around with wet toes weirds you out then we recommend investing in a pair of ankle length welly boots, like these Barbour ones that are currently on sale for £35. Teva are a really good pair of summer sandals that are a suitable brand for all of the family and can be worn during wet weather activities. Walking around in a waterproof poncho might make you feel like a tourist visiting the Niagara Falls but there is a reason why festival goers and hikers alike love a poncho. They are light enough to be comfortable to wear in the heat, they are loose and long enough to cover most summer outfits, they are waterproof and incredibly easy, portable and lightweight to carry around each day. So when those “intermittent showers” hit you can throw on a poncho and then swiftly pack it away when the sun pops back out ten minutes later. Poncho options include the classic clear number that sells for about £10-15 and the traditional pack-away poncho available from the ordnance survey for between £30-40. If you fancy something a bit more exciting there is the seriously cool and colourful brand RainKiss that “specialises in sustainable designer rain ponchos”. Unisex, 100% waterproof and made from 100% recycled materials, RainKiss ponchos have a range for both adults and for kids.
Teva original women’s water friendly sandals
RainKiss Kids Poncho
Barbour summer ankle welly boots
Top Tip Number 2:
“Better out than in”
That quote may have been taken from the animated movie Shrek and refer to burping but the theory also applies to the benefit of being outdoors instead of cooped-up inside! As families, our instincts to protect often means that we think we have to bundle kids up and entertain them with indoor activities and keep them sheltered from the rain. However, studies have shown that it is actually better for children to be playing outside in the wet weather than to be kept away from it. It is why more and more nurseries and primary schools are turning to and including a ‘forest school’ approach. Again, as long as children are in the suitable clothing and have a towel to hand afterwards, they reap the benefits of playing outdoors in the rain. These benefits include: enhancing their sensory experience and development, stimulating a child’s immune system, improving and developing their motor skills and agility, improving their independence skills and even enhancing their creativity. So when every other family this summer holiday is panicking and cramming themselves into any available indoor activity, like irritable sardines squeezed into a humid can of hyperactivity, head lice and verrucas – they could actually just be embracing the great outdoors.
Top Tip Number 3:
“There comes a point where you’re so wet you can’t get any wetter.”
That immortal line uttered in the 1990’s cult romantic comedy, Four Weddings and a Funeral, has been lambasted as one of the worst pieces of dialogue in cinematic history – along with the one uttered a few seconds later: “Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.” The writer Richard Curtis did, however, have a point. When it is already set to be wet weather, you might as well go for some wet fun tourist attractions and play at a waterpark. At Dorset Adventure Park you can charge across the total wipeout course over two, fully lifeguarded, big, blue lakes and even really embrace the wilds of nature, by battling your way through 50 obstacles on the mud run! You really will enhance your family’s agility, confidence, independence and mood when you test abilities with the muddy mayhem or enjoy an aqua adventure together. At Dorset Adventure Park, you can zip on a wetsuit, slap on some grippy aqua socks when you hit the water or just throw on your oldest t-shirts and trainers when you hit the mud trail, because there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
Words by Olivia Lowry