Rainy Vacation Activities

colored-pencils.jpgYou know you’re either terribly predictable or somewhat loved when folks write in asking if you’re trapped under something really heavy on a day (yesterday) with no posts or tweets (thanks, folks!). I actually was enjoying a much needed long weekend away with a couple of other families and made a conscious decision to remain unplugged. Our packing was decidedly uneven – too much food for our numbers and too many bathing suits given the weather – but one thing I did right was pack plenty of rainy day entertainment. Here’s a list of 10 smart things to pack to keep the kids from going crazy on rainy vacations:
1. Basic craft supplies. We brought coloring pages, but it was the blank paper (for general doodling and coloring in pictures the grownups drew) that got a lot of action from all of the kids (ages 2-6). Don’t forget to bring plenty of colored pencils, markers, and crayons to avoid squabbling over colors. And if you’re thinking ahead, consider purchasing a Kid’s Busy Box kit for plenty of craft options on the go.

2. Puzzles. I picked up this Disney 8-in-1 Puzzle Box several months ago on ridiculous sale at Toys R Us and it was perfect for our trip. It’s an impressively compact box that includes 8 puzzles of varying difficulty (four 100-piece, two 300-piece, two 500-piece) so there’s plenty to go around for older kids and grownups.

3. Games. Again, on crazy toy sale, we recently purchased Operation Rescue Kit for $10. For those of us who grew up on Operation, the new version took a little getting used to (there are four fancy playing modes), but the kids loved it. And I like that the game comes in a snapped first aid kit style case. Super easy to transport and no crushed cardboard box. I also brought Laurel’s other favorite games: Sorry! and the Fairytale Spinner Game.

4. Books. I literally filled an entire reusable grocery tote full of books, including pop up books, short stories, and Laurel’s favorite Elmer and the dragon chapter books.

5. Activity books. Word search, maze, letter, shape, or math activity books offer a nice change of pace from stories and art projects. You usually can find these at drugstores.

6. A trusty DVD. Laurel is obsessed with the movie Enchanted (except for the scary witch parts…) so of course it came with us. I was glad that we got enough sun one day, and the other activities on this list were entertaining enough that she only ended up watching this movie once.

7. Roll, build, stack, and dump toys. For younger ones, trucks or cars to roll around and soft foam blocks to stack and knock over (go with soft blocks to prevent parental headache) are good both for motor skills and to burn off energy inside.

8. Sculpting projects. Play-doh or other types of sculpting clay are always a good option for indoor fun.

9. Tactile precision projects. For older kids, mosaic tiles are terrific (portable and easy to clean up) or if you are OK with the ironing step, Perler beads also are a great rainy day option.

10. Cooking project. Finally, another great option – since I’m all about getting kids involved in the kitchen – is bringing supplies + recipes to make your family’s favorite cookies or brownies.

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Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net