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Exploring Weather Up Close and Personal: Rain Walks for Children with Mental Retardation

written by: jenniferterry • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/11/2012

Teaching children with mental retardation about weather through hands on learning and Rain Walks can become wonderful field trips in helping students understand how weather impacts nature and people. Rain walks can also help children explore their outside world and have fun in the process.

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    Exploring Rain Walks and Weather

    Children with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities learn through explorations that envelop all the senses. Academic lessons that become meaningful to daily living can be most helpful to them.

    Science lesson plans about water can teach the properties of water, weather, and even water dwelling animals.

    Learning Objective: A Rainy Day modified lesson plan will be perfect in the spring or summer months. you will need to plan ahead to be able to adapt your teaching schedule to take advantage of a warm day. Students will be able to explore nature and the weather in understanding their outside world by taking rain walks.

    Book Needed: Tools you will need: "The Rain Puddle" by Adelaide Hall


    Laminated weather chart



    Instructions: On a warm day with a gentle rain plan to take a "Rain Walk". In the morning, as you wait for the day to warm. Read the book "the Rain Puddle" by Adelaide hall. Have the children look out the window and point their weather chart to indicate the correct weather pattern.

    When the time arrives to venture out give an umbrella to each child to carry on their "Rain Walk." On the rain walk, encourage the child to smell. Ask them "what do you smell?" tell him to look out and report what he sees. Tell the children to stand still and be quiet. "What do you hear?"

    Encourage children to splash in the shallow puddles. A child who needs extra sensory input may enjoy the feel of the water slapping the hand. A child who is hesitant to try new experiences may be tempted if you allow time to stand and look at the water. Do not force the child but do allow time for exploration and gentle encouragement.

    Closure: When you go back inside, have the children write the answers to your questions in their journal. If the child doesn't write, have stickers available. The selection of stickers should have choices corresponding to answers to the questions. These will allow him to answer the questions. Supplying a pre-made checklist with probable choices so the child can make a mark or use a stamp to answer the question is also an appropriate accommodation for the lesson.

    Be sure to have journals modified ahead of time so these children can participate with completing the project at the same time as other children in the class.