April is notorious for rain. Don’t let a damp forecast rain on your parade, though. Whether it’s just sprinkling or it’s raining cats and dogs, embrace the rainy month with the activity ideas below.
UMBRELLA ART – Turn umbrellas into a work of art with your group, then display them throughout the month of April. Purchase plain umbrellas from a discount store and set out various craft supplies that you already have. Suggestions include stickers, foam stickers, paint, pom-poms, glitter, ribbon, and pipe cleaners. Then, invite participants to decorate an umbrella and let their creative juices flow. After umbrellas are decorated, display them throughout your community for a week. If you are limited in space, host an Umbrella Art Viewing Party where members can see the talented work of other participants.
APRIL REMINISCING – Take advantage of rainy days with your group and reminisce about the month of April. To prompt conversation, ask participants if they ever jumped in puddles after a thunderstorm, what their rain coat looked like, and what they liked to do on rainy days as a child. Bring props, such as an umbrella, rain coat, rain boots, Easter eggs, spring bulbs, and spring flowers.
VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION – April is National Volunteer Month. Take time to recognize your volunteers. Ask members to write “thank you” messages to your volunteers. Then, invite volunteers for a special luncheon or open house, where you recognize their service to your community. Consider purchasing umbrellas with your company’s logo printed on them to give as a gift to your volunteers.
HOMEMADE RAIN STICKS – To make these rain sticks, you’ll need clear, empty water bottles (the liter sizes work best), a lot of wooden toothpicks, uncooked quinoa, and Elmer’s glue. Fill the water bottle with as many toothpicks as you can fit inside loosely. Then, pour in the uncooked quinoa, allowing it to settle to the bottom of the bottle. Pour just enough quinoa to fill about one quarter of the bottle. Finally, glue on the cap of the water bottle and let it dry. Once dry, turn the bottle over slowly while the quinoa filters through the toothpicks, creating the sound of rain.
MUSICAL THUNDERSTORM – Sit members in a semi-circle for this fun, interactive activity. Starting from one side of the semi-circle, working towards the opposite side, instruct participants to follow your lead. Participants should continue the pattern you give them until you give them a new pattern. Start by rubbing your palms together, then snap your fingers, then clap your hands slowly, then clap your hands more rapidly. Next comes the big thunderclouds, so pat your hands on your lap, slowly at first, then more rapidly. Finally pat your hands on your lap while tapping your feet on the ground, creating the climax of the thunderstorm. Then, work your way backwards from this list, until there’s nothing but silence. To add more fun, give a few participants the homemade rain sticks or pieces of bubble wrap to pop or twist.
SUN AND RAIN SENSORY BOTTLES – To get started, you’ll need two clear water bottles (8-ounce or 16-ounce) per participant, blue and yellow food coloring, glitter, plastic beads, and glue. Fill each bottle with water. Then, drop a few drops of yellow food coloring into one bottle, and a few drops of blue food coloring into the other bottle. Add glitter and a handful of beads to each bottle, then secure the cap in place with glue. Give the bottle a gentle shake to mix in the food coloring. Once the cap is dry, members can shake their bottles and watch the glitter and beads float around.
PAINT THE RAIN WINDOW ART – Create the effect of a rainy day window with this fun craft. You’ll need a small cookie-baking tray, blue watercolor paint, white watercolor paper (plain paper can work, too, but isn’t as absorbent), black electrical tape, a water cup, and a paint brush. Instruct participants to dip their paint brushes into the water, then dip into the blue watercolor paint. Ask participants to swirl the blue paint all around the cookie tray. Next, instruct them to lay a piece of watercolor paper on top of the cookie tray and gently press it down with their hands. Lift the paper carefully to reveal the artwork. Once dry, use strips of electrical tape to create the effect of window panes on top of the painting. (Source: munchkinsandmoms.com)
SENSORY SCIENCE: RAIN CLOUD – Demonstrate weather science with this sensory rain cloud experiment. First gather your supplies: a large vase or mason jar, shaving cream, an eye dropper, liquid food coloring, and an extra bowl. Fill the vase about two-thirds full with water. Then, squirt a heaping amount of shaving cream (rain cloud) on top of the water in your vase. It’s okay if the shaving cream puffs out of the vase. Using the extra bowl, mix together some water and blue liquid food coloring. Use the eye dropper to squeeze droplets of your mixed blue water onto the shaving cream cloud. Keep adding the blue water to the cloud and watch the storm take place in the vase. The blue water should seep through the shaving cream and mix with the water in the vase. Some of your participants may want to help squeeze the droplets of blue water into the shaving cream cloud. (Source: littlebinsforlittlehands.com)
HOMEMADE RAIN GAUGE – Are you looking for a quick one-on-one activity? Keep a record of the rainfall throughout the month by making a rain gauge with one member. Take a clear, empty, two-liter bottle and remove the label. Carefully cut off the top of the bottle, about three inches down from the top. Turn the top upside down and place it inside the bottle to form a funnel, making sure it’s flush with the edges. Measure off inches (two to three-inch increments) from the bottom of the bottle working towards the top. Take a Sharpie marker and draw a straight line around each marking and label the inch amount. Then, find a secure place to stand the rain gauge outdoors, perhaps wedged between flower pots. After a rainfall, bring the gauge indoors for your one-on-one member to record how many inches you received. Be sure to dump out the water before placing the rain gauge outdoors again.
RAINY DAY MATINEE – Rainy days are perfect for watching a movie. Show the film Singin’ in the Rain this month. Members will enjoy watching this classic film and may find themselves singing and tapping their toes along with the music. Serve popcorn and drinks.
DANCE IN THE RAIN – For more mobile members, invite and encourage them to join you outside for a brief moment to “dance” or walk in the rain. Select a day where there’s a light sprinkle and the temperature is warmer. Participants can wear their rain coats and boots, or use an umbrella if they prefer. Have a few towels ready to give participants once they come back indoors.
A RAINY DAY SING-ALONG – There are many songs about rain. Challenge your group to list as many songs as they can that include rain. Then, sing the songs together as a group. Some titles your group may be familiar with include these: “Singin’ in the Rain,” “April Showers,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “Over the Rainbow,” “I Can See Clearly Now,” “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More,” “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella,” “Rainy Days and Mondays.”
APRIL SHOWERS TRIVIA
- Finish this phrase: April showers bring ___________. May flowers
- What do Mayflowers bring? Pilgrims
- Name one of the Hollywood stars who was in the film, Singin in the Rain. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds
- When it’s raining and the sun is shining, what might appear in the sky? A rainbow
- Can you name the colors of a rainbow? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet
- Finish this phrase: Red skies at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning… Sailors take warning.
- According to the song “April Showers” it’s raining which flower? Violets
- What do we call forests that experience high levels of rainfall? Rainforests
- When it’s raining really hard, people might say that it’s raining which two animals? Cats and dogs
- Rain falls from clouds in the sky in the form of water droplets. Meteorologists refer to this as what? Precipitation
- Which continent is the driest on Earth: Africa, Antarctica, or North America? Antarctica
WHEN APRIL SHOWERS COME ALONG THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
“Whenever April Showers Come Along” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2018 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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