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Kids wearing coats under an umbrella

Outdoors in the Rain

Fall is here and with it comes wind, rain, hail, and sometimes snow. No matter what the weather, fresh air and outdoor play are critical for children's physical and mental health. During daily outdoor play, children use their senses and muscles, burn energy, and engage with nature. Outdoor play is so important that children should have the opportunity to go outside every day, except during extreme weather or emergencies. The new child care licensing regulations clearly outline which conditions pose a risk to children:
WAC 110-300-0147 Weather conditions and outdoor hazards.
(1) An early learning provider must observe weather conditions and other possible hazards to take appropriate action for child health and safety. Conditions that pose a health or safety risk may include, but are not limited to:
          (a) Heat in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or pursuant to advice of the local authority;

          (b) Cold less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or pursuant to advice of the local authority;
          (c) Lightning storm, tornado, hurricane, or flooding if there is immediate or likely danger;
          (d) Earthquake;
          (e) Air quality emergency ordered by a local or state authority on air quality or public health;
          (f) Lockdown notification ordered by a public safety authority; and
          (g) Other similar incidents.
(2) An early learning provider must dress children for weather conditions during outdoor play time.

To help facilitate outdoor play in wet or cold weather, let parents know that outdoor play is a daily activity, even when it is raining. Ask parents to provide a warm, water-repellent coat with a hood or cap, warm socks, water resistant shoes or rubber boots, and mittens or gloves. Dressing children in layers is good advice. Make sure the center has a complete change of clothing available for each child as required by WAC 110-300-0140(4). Some families may be willing to donate raincoats or boots that their children have outgrown to the child care so that extras are available. When the children are outside, open windows for a few minutes to clear out stuffy air with fresh, clean air from outside. 

"There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."

- R. Fiennes   

Make a list of outdoor activity ideas for rainy days to help kids explore and play in the weather. A few ideas to get you started are: make a rain gauge and watch water collect; make rain art with markers, water colors, or moistened crushed chalk; use tarps or branches to make an outdoor rain shelter; make mud cakes and cookies with spoons and pans; float paper boats; or jump in and around puddles. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has ideas for playing in puddles on their website

"Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass.
It's about learning to dance in the rain!"

- V. Greene   


Kale Chips Picture

Kale Chips for a Crispy, Fall Snack

For a healthy snack, try making kale chips with the children. This easy recipe is generally liked by kids of all ages.

     8 cups of kale (about 12 whole leaves)
     1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
     1/2 teaspoon salt

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2)  Wash kale leaves.
3)  Cut leaves off of thick stem and thoroughly dry in a salad spinner or by blotting with paper towels. Discard stems.
4)  Tear or cut leaves into large bit sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
5)  Drizzle oil over kale and toss to coat well.
6)  Place kale leaves onto baking sheet in a single layer.
7)  Sprinkle with salt.
8)  Bake until edges brown. About 10-15 minutes.
Try garlic powder, chili powder, or other spices for more flavor!  Recipe from Food Hero.

Did you know... Kale can be grown indoors over the winter? It will need sunlight to thrive, so a window sill or the ledge of a window that faces south is an ideal spot. You can also put the container under a fluorescent light. It is a hardy vegetable that can grow outdoors during winter provided you have a strong plant.

Planting pot with a seed
Plant kale seed 1/2" deep in soil.
Planting pot with watering can and sun
Place pot on a windowsill where it will get a lot of sun. Keep the soil moist.
Planting pot with kale seedling
As your seedling grows, feel 1” into the soil. If it is dry, add water.
Cart with hay, pumpkins, and chickens

Animals and Pumpkins

In October, many child cares visit pumpkin patches, farms, and petting zoos. Some providers bring the pumpkins, hay bales, or animals to the child care instead. Animals can carry various types of disease-causing germs on their fur, feathers, mouth, manure, and around their enclosures. Germs can be spread through contact with the animal or its surroundings. Here are a few tips to follow to keep kids safe during fall festivities:

  • If going to an off-site petting zoo or pumpkin patch, adults should visit first to make sure there are adequate handwashing facilities available. Ask what precautions are in place to protect the health of visitors.
  • Instruct children to keep their hands away from their mouth and face. Remind them often. Consider increasing staff to child ratios for these events.
  • Make sure children and staff wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after the activity. Consider using hand sanitizer gel during the activity, but make sure you follow WAC 110-300-0200.
  • Keep animal activities and eating separate. If possible, eat snacks or meals before interacting with animals. 
  • Obtain parent permission before going on a field trip per WAC 110-300-0460(1f) and let parents know of health risks if you are bringing animals to the child care.
For more information about animals and petting zoos, take our online class Preventing Diseases from Animals in Child Care Settings.

Image of Active Play Cards

Active Play Cards

Help kids be more active through play! These cards are easy to use in the classroom to incorporate fun movement opportunities into daily routines. These quick-move and skill building activities meet CLASS and ERS-R standards, increase cognitive connections, and improve health and well-being.  

If you are interested in receiving a set of active play cards for your child care, please send an email to  You can also download the full active play lessons on our website at

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Click here for instructions on how to use our online learning portal.
Image of people using online learning portal.
Click here to go to the online learning website.

This Month's Featured Classes

Girl petting goat

Preventing Diseases From Animals in Child Care Settings

Animal related experiences in the child care setting can mean additional health and safety concerns to consider. In this self-paced correspondence class you will learn about the best practice recommendations for keeping a class pet, for participating in animal related field trips and for having animal guests. Special focus will be on how to minimize illness, injury, and allergy risks.


Contact Information

Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Ste. 104, Everett, WA  98201

Program Phone:  425-252-5415


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The Child Care Health Outreach Program staff are available to consult with you on these and other health, safety, and nutrition topics by phone, by email, or at your child care. 

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