As someone who sunburns easily, I have empathy for earthworms. I used to think that these squiggly pink charmers emerged from the earth on rainy days to avoid drowning in soggy soil. Not so! As it turns out, rainy, cloudy days are the only days worms can surface. Why? Without moisture, the slimy coating that protects worms will dry out. To sum it up, a sunny day equals doomsday for our earthworm friends.
Which is why rainy days are such fun for children. As long as no thunder or lightning threatens, consider digging out that seldom-used rain gear in preparation for an earthworm adventure. The joy of stomping in puddles is only heightened by counting, touching, scooping, and dangling earthworms. If interest begins to wane, pull out a roll of tinfoil and make impromptu puddle boats. There should be plenty of mud for mixing up a batch of mud pies once the puddles have begun to dry.
What to do once your rainy day adventurers are tired? Snuggling up with one of my favorite worm-centric children’s books, Wiggle and Waggle, is sure to entertain. And while I don’t usually advocate TV time for kids, there’s no shame in watching an episode of Kratt’s Creatures or Wild Kratts. After all, it’s thanks to the Kratt brothers that I first learned why worms so love their rainy days.
Wiggle and Waggle, along with many other delightful books for children and adults, is available for purchase at the Arboretum’s gift shop. Come browse in the cool!
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator