The Little Book of Treasureboxes®

Activity Type:



3-5 years

Type of Content:


Related Activities

Rainy Day Boots And Shoes

A treasure box idea

by Pat Brunton and Linda Thornton

‘Rainy day boots and shoes’ is a chance for children to explore the properties of materials and design an investigation to see which materials are water resistant.

What you need

A collection of shoes and boots for wet, rainy weather, plus some less suitable footwear. This could include:

  • rubber Wellington boots

  • plastic jelly shoes

  • plastic or rubber flip flops

  • leather shoes

  • canvas sandshoes

  • some small pieces of the following materials; plastic, leather, canvas, rubberised or plastic coated material (such as plastic table covering)

Exploring and asking questions

Explore the Treasurebox shoe collection with the children and talk about the different materials that the shoes and boots are made of. Encourage the children to look closely at the shoes and feel the different textures of the upper parts of the shoes and boots.

  • Have you got any shoes like these at home?

  • Which shoes do you think feel smooth? Which feel rough?

  • Which shoes are shiny and which are dull?

  • Do flip flops protect your feet?

Help the children to think of some questions they would like to investigate using their shoe collection. They might ask:

  • Which shoes are the hardest and which are the softest?

  • Are Wellingtons comfortable to wear on a very hot day?

  • Which shoes would be best to wear on a rainy day?

You could go on to investigate any of these questions with the children. The next section shows how you could investigate just one of these ideas in more detail.

Helpful hints

Remember to build on children’s interests and experiences by following up on as many of their ideas as possible. This will involve genuine shared thinking between you, and may mean that the investigation takes a different path from the one suggested in the text!

Seeking understanding

Here is an example of how you might look more closely at: Which shoes would be best to wear on a rainy day?

  • Discuss the sorts of clothes we wear on a rainy day and why we wear them. Ask the children to select four shoes or boots from the collection. Suggest they try four different materials. Encourage them to predict which ones they think will keep their feet dry and which ones will not.

  • Look at the pieces of material, encourage the children to handle them and then help them to match each one up with one of the shoes. Talk about how you might test the different materials to see which ones let water through and which ones don’t.

  • Help the children to plan an investigation which involves dropping water onto each piece of material and seeing what happens. Is it important to drop the same amount of water on to each piece of fabric to make the test fair? Which materials soaked up the water and which ones did the water run off? Relate this back to your shoe collection.

Reflecting & evaluating

  • Were our predictions correct?

  • What happens if you polish the leather to make it shiny?

Other questions to investigate:

  • Can we find any other waterproof materials around the setting?

  • What sorts of materials are our coats made of?


  • shoe

  • boot

  • water

  • wet

  • dry

  • leather

  • plastic

  • canvas

  • rubber

  • material

  • test

  • waterproof

  • inside

  • outside

Where to go next: Make your own shoes
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