After an unseasonably hot summer and the slow, sweet pace of the season bids us adieu, we’re thrust into fall weather abruptly with little hope of reprieve. Ok, cue the dramatics, it’s actually not all bad. I enjoy the crisp autumn air. Seeing the leaves change colours always captured my imagination and the drinks – glögi, cider, hot chocolate – hits the spot every time. Best yet, daycares resume so this means that I can converse with actual adults. But it also means that it’s the rainy season. And for many of us it’s a last minute chance to enjoy the summer cottage before the winter. So now you’re there every weekend. Rain or shine.
Let the boredom games begin. What to do when it’s pouring rain, going outside isn’t an option, and the nearest activity park is 100km away? It’s an endurance sport – little hands get into everything they shouldn’t and you’re unprepared for a day indoors. It’s times like these you start to wonder if having the dog (you originally wanted) wouldn’t have been the better choice. Crazy thoughts, right? We all know that canine companions are infinitely easier than kids, but nothing compares to that goodnight hug, especially after spending the whole day explaining why we can’t go swimming in 10°c water. But there are other ways to appreciate rainy days at the summer cottage, and I’ve found that with a little effort and planning beforehand, these activities are actually quite fun.
Think sweet, simple and easy. I personal love cupcakes, and my little ones enjoy squeezing on the frosting (and eating it too). But don’t feel limited. Brownies, pancakes, cheesecake popsicles, even the lattice work on pies are a fun thing for small fingers to try – with hilarious results. Just pick a recipe and a flavour that your little ones prefer and let the good times roll. For ideas try here.
I go bananas for Playdoh. It’s fun, cheap, and the creations are different every time. I suggest getting a few different sets (this is my personal favourite), and extra dough to keep the fun going. As an extra tip, take pictures, print them out and hang them on a designated wall of inspiration. It’s nice to see the progression.
Cosy nooks – Tepees
Invest in a tepee if you don’t already have one. Smallable has many options but you can make our own version if you’re feeling crafty. Creating an intimate space that is easily moveable is the stuff of dreams. I personally like Granit’s tepee, as the roll down window panel is a fun feature. Best of all you can really spend time with your little one face-to-face, whether it’s reading a favourite, building a train set, or tea time – there are less distractions for both you and them. It brings you a little closer every time.
This is a fantastic option if you have little ones under 3. Because there isn’t a lot of dexterity involved coupled with freedom of movement, I find that it really relaxes busy minds. I use large sketch pads that are foldable as they’re easy to store, and I designate a special table and stools to manage the mess. If you happen to have a patio at your cottage then I recommend taking the activity outside, as it’s less cleaning, and also it’s inspiring to look at the rain while painting!
Speaking of painting, Mamas and Papas, I encourage you to find your inner artist and get cracking. Create a treasure map, adding wacky details and fun obstacles along the way. It doesn’t even matter what the loot is – as long as it’s not candy (otherwise you’ll be playing pirate chest for hours). The journey is excitement enough.