When parents are outraged over rain

b24f893efc1d9a60a00927af88b8d070--rubber-rain-boots-vintage-bootsI saw a story that I found interesting about parents being outraged because their kids were forced to play outside in the rain at school. I remember playing outside in the rain a lot growing up in a small town in Washington. Rain was part of our daily life. I now live where the sun shines on a daily basis and we look forward to rain like it’s a special treat.

In “Parents’ fury as primary school toughens up pupils with play in the rain” Camilla Turner, education editor for The Telegraph, a UK publication, says this:

“A school’s attempt to toughen up the ‘snowflake’ generation by forcing them to play outside in the rain has met with a backlash from furious parents.

“The head of Piper’s Vale Primary Academy in Ipswich has insisted that playing in the rain is a ‘normal’ part of children’s development but parents said they are ‘disgusted’ by the new policy.

“Ben Carter, the school’s executive principal, apologised to parents for not communicating the change in policy to them but urged them to send their children to school with “suitable footwear and a winter coat or jacket.”

“He defended the ‘wet play’ approach, saying: “Compared with previous generations, children today spend a lot of their time looking at screens and staying indoors. Many have relatively sedentary lifestyles.

“Paradigm Trust academies place great value on outdoor play and exercise as part of children’s education and wellbeing. This is why we encourage our pupils to make the most of their time outside during lunch and breaks, even in damp conditions. 

“This type of wet play is part of children’s normal development. However, in adverse conditions, we will, of course, provide options for pupils to play and be supervised indoors.”

I agree with the school that playing outside is healthy and rain won’t hurt children. I also believe there was a lack of communication and if the parents didn’t know about the new policy, their kids might not have had the right shoes or coats and could have gotten drenched.


I had a yellow rubber raincoat that I hated.


When I was growing up, we had these clumsy rubber boots that went over our shoes. Also, ugly yellow rubber coats that I couldn’t stand. I hated to wear those things, but my mom made me. At Emerson Elementary School, we had space to hang up all our wet rain gear and remove our boots. I was jealous of my best friend’s “bubble umbrella” that was clear plastic. Mine was a normal shape and you couldn’t see through it.

There were plenty of days where we were forced to play inside. When I was in first and second grades, we played on a cement floor in a huge room with a tin roof, in a building that was nothing more than a big garage. I loved the sound of rain on the tin roof when we could hear it above the noise of the kids playing. It’s where we lined up after school to leave the school. The games we played were square ball and keep away.


My best friend had a cool bubble umbrella like this.

Once I reached the third grade, we got to play in the gym/cafeteria where we hot lunch were served on sectioned plastic trays. After we finished our lunches, which we ate in our classrooms, we lined up and walked single file into the gym without saying a peep. Once in the gym, we rolled around on little square scooters, a few inches off the floor or played a rough game of dodgeball. I don’t envy whoever was assigned lunch recess duty on the inside rainy days!

When I was in college at the University of Washington in Seattle, I don’t remember rain ever slowing us down. My best friend and I would ride bikes or run around Green Lake rain or shine. I do remember hating walking across campus when the rain was coming down sideways and my jeans would get soaked.


A view of the Cascade Mountains from my little town.


Do you think schools should make kids play outside in the rain or in bad weather? What do your kids do when it’s raining outside? When you were growing up what memories do you have of playing in the rain?

12 thoughts on “When parents are outraged over rain

  1. For us the big thing was snow. Oftentimes we would come in from recess soaking wet. I think our grade school had the right approach. If a green flag was up everyone went outside. If a red flag was up everyone stayed inside the gym for recess. If a yellow flag was up, usually during iffy weather, it was student’s choice. That would solve a lot of problems.

    • That’s a great idea with the flags. At the beach in So Cal, they have the same flag system. Green flag days are the best in my opinion–nice gentle waves! Even I can get in and swim.

  2. I live in Victoria BC. I’m also a Preschool Teacher. I believe children of all ages need to go outdoors in all types of weather. It is more about ensuring that they have the proper clothing. When dressed accordingly, children can be outdoors where they have space to run and play. High winds are more likely to keep us indoors due to a risk of fallen trees.

  3. We went at least once a year while I was growing up and I collected miniature teacups from Victoria. When I was in first grade, we took a ferry with a stateroom from Seattle and stayed in the Empress Hotel. I think it was the Queen Elizabeth I or II. When I was a little older we’d drive north and take a ferry from Vancouver and stay at a lesser know hotel. When I was 14, my parents bought a 31-foot cabin cruiser and we docked across the street from the Empress Hotel. We had kids and families hanging off the boat watching us eat dinner! We were part of the tourist’s exhibition. But Victoria remains one of my favorite memories of my childhood. What is it like to live there?

  4. I am from the area where the children were forced out and as much as all parents don’t mind their children playing in drizzle as the story says it was due to the fact that it was pouring with rain all day and children of the age 4 to 11 years were made to spend an hour in that weather and then spend 2 hours after that in soaking wet clothes they were not allowed to change and the children who had left their coats inside were not allowed to go and get them the school had not informed parents of the change in policy and children who have health issues that are affected by cold wet weather were also forced outside that’s why parents got angry not because it was just a little bit of rain it was downpour for the whole hour

    • Thank you for clarifying the unfortunate situation. I think if the parents had been informed they could have made sure their children were prepared for the bad weather. It sounds like a lack of communication by the school. Also, that’s so awful kids weren’t allowed to get their coats!

  5. As an active advocate for outdoor education, and a home school mom who teaches almost exclusively on our mountain I did have to shake my head at the situation. Parents do need to be made aware of policy changes and the welfare of the children is at the top of the list, but with a change of dry clothes and adequate gear for the weather there is almost no reason ever for kids to be kept indoors. Great post!

    • Thanks for your comment. I grew up in the rainy PNW and being wet was a way of life for us. Then we’d go inside and get warm and dry. I homeschooled my daughter for the middle school years and loved the experience. I’m sure you know how rewarding it is.

      • I adore it. I didn’t expect to, nor plan to, it was somewhat thrust upon me. I grew up in Langley, BC and all we knew was rain. Now I’m at the top of a mountain and all my boys know is freezing cold from Nov to March 🙂 But I do love it, and you’re right it is remarkably rewarding.

      • Langley B.C. would have similar weather but a little colder than my hometown Snohomish. Homeschooling is great and you’ll always be happy you made that choice for your family.

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