You know the old rhyme: April showers bring May flowers. True enough – the wet weather in early spring is often followed by brilliant sunshine and an influx of beautiful flowers. While waiting for the drier and warmer days ahead, your group can weather the storms and welcome the blooming season with a few of the activities suggested below.
- RAINY DAY: Display various photos of outdoor scenes on a rainy day in April. Ask: What’s the weather like on a typical spring day in your area? What are some of your favorite activities on a rainy day? What are spring showers good for? How does the earth smell after rain? Do you remember a very wet spring season? What effect does wet weather have on gardeners and farmers?
- MOODS AND RAIN: Listen to the song “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella (on a Rainy Day),” sung by Bing Crosby. Ask: How does the weather affect your mood and outlook? How do you feel when the sun is shining? Do you like gray skies and rainy weather? Name some reasons to smile on a rainy day. Do you like to sing or dance in the rain? Tell about a time you got drenched by a surprise rain storm.
- APRIL FOOLS’ DAY: Show funny rain pictures (including dogs and cats in raincoats), share humorous weather or gardening jokes, or try some tongue twisters, like “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.” Ask your group to wear floppy rain hats and take a group photo under a large umbrella. Write silly captions for the photo.
- RAIN FOREST: Learn about the Amazon tropical rainforest, including plant and animal species. (See the National Geographic Web site.) Host a simple jungle/safari party for your group. Watch an old Tarzan movie. (Practice your yell.) Make and play a rain stick music instrument.
- RAIN SOUNDS: Talk about the various forms of rain and how each might sound. (Examples: shower, drizzle, downpour, deluge, mist, torrent, sprinkle) Invite a group of teenagers to model the latest rain gear and how to stay dry in style. Compare these styles to some vintage wet weather fashions.
- SONGS: Enjoy some “rain” songs: “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “April Showers,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “Rain, Rain Go Away,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella (on a Rainy, Rainy Day),” “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More.”
- FISHING: Invite an avid fisherman (perhaps someone in your group) to talk about the pros/cons of fishing on a rainy day. Answer these questions: Do fish bite well when it’s raining? Should you go fishing before, during, or after a hard rain? What’s the best weather to catch fish? Share memories of spring fishing season for trout and bass.
- POETRY: Celebrate National Poetry Month with some classic rain poems: “The Voice of the Rain”/Walt Whitman, “Spring Rain” and “There Will Come Soft Rains”/Sara Teasdale, “Rain”/Robert Louis Stevenson, “April Rain Song”/Langston Hughes, “Rain”/Shel Silverstein, “Rain Music”/Joseph S. Cotter, Jr., “Rain in Summer”/Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Rain Poem”/Elizabeth Coatsworth, “The Summer Rain”/Henry David Thoreau, and “The Rainbow”/Christina Rossetti.
- PREDICTIONS: Ask participants if their grandparents passed on any methods for predicting rain the old-fashioned way and how accurate they were. Examples: aching bones, smoke going to the ground, ring around the moon, predictions in The Old Farmers’ Almanac.
- RAINBOWS: Listen to the song “The Rainbow Connection,” sung in the first Muppet movie. Ask participants to give their opinion to the question asked in the song: ‘Why are there so many songs about rainbows’? Listen to, or sing, a few bars of some rainbow songs. (Examples: “Over the Rainbow,” “Look to the Rainbow,” “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows”) Bring in a prism and show how it makes a rainbow when it catches the light of a lamp or the sun. Talk about the Irish legend about leprechauns, rainbows, and finding a pot of gold.
- RAINFALL: Find out the 10 rainiest/driest cities in the U.S. Ask: Did you ever live in a place that got a lot of rainfall? Did you ever live through a serious drought? How well did you cope with weather extremes? As you got older, did you consider moving to a place with pleasant year-round weather? Why or why not?
- RAINY DAY MONEY: Explain the idiom: “save for a rainy day.” Ask: Did you have a rainy day fund? How did you get it?
- GARDENING: Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with a look at the benefits of indoor house plants, including how they purify the air. Invite a nursery owner to talk about houseplants that don’t need a lot of watering and are easy to grow (examples: English ivy, spider plant, African violet). Start some plants from cuttings, using the water method.
- RAINING VIOLETS: Listen to the song “April Showers,” which says ‘it’s raining violets.’ Ask participants to describe the scent of violets after a spring shower. Make paper violets. Find out which states have the violet as the state flower. What’s a “shrinking violet”? Look at the various shades of the color violet. Make a collage of a field of wild violet flowers or show colorful photos. Read the poem “The Violet” by Jane Taylor.
- POETRY: Discuss the meaning of the following lines found in the poem “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: ‘Thy fate is the common fate of all/Into each life some rain must fall.’
RAIN TRIVIA QUIZ
- The advertising slogan “When it rains, it pours” is associated with which food product? Morton Salt
- According to the nursery rhyme, what is the old man doing if it’s raining and it’s pouring? Snoring
- An old weather proverb says you can look for rain if what kind of bird flies low? Crow
- Which actor did the solo dance routine (while under an umbrella) to the title song in the movie Singin’ in the Rain? Gene Kelly
- What does it mean to “rain on someone’s parade”? To spoil his/her plans
- Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night can stop who? Post office mail carriers
- According to Genesis 7:12, how many days and nights did it rain in the Great Flood? Forty
- From which 1950s musical do the songs “The Rain in Spain,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” come? My Fair Lady
- Finish the song title: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My….” Head
- Finish this first line from Lena Horne’s signature song “Stormy Weather” – “Don’t know why there’s no… Sun up in the sky”
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“After the rain cometh the fair weather.” ~ Aesop
“Rain” was written by Sue Hansen. Copyright 2015 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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