Friday, October 25, 2013

Things to do on rainy days

Life is good: where's the beach?

A mama friend emailed me and said they were going on a beach vacation soon.  And NO, she did not invite me to go along. I know, RUDE! ; )
She knows that we try to say hello to the ocean once or twice a year and asked for ideas for rainy vacation days. So I decided just to make it a post so that I can share my experiences with everyone!

When we go to the beach, we plan to go to the beach. Our vacation typically entails waking up, eating breakfast, applying sunscreen, and then jumping in and out of waves over and over again. But in case of inclement weather, I usually turn to my friend, the interweb, prior to our vacation and scope out a place or two to go just in case. Whether that is the Maui aquarium, a mammoth site in Rapid City (ooh! I need to write a post about that trip!), or a great library in Nantucket, it's always good to have this info bookmarked. And pray for no rain!!!

We usually rent a house when we travel. It is just easier for us. With two kids under five, we need space for them to roam. And because of their allergies, we need a kitchen to cook their meals even if we dine out. When you rent a house, it usually comes with beach toys and maybe even house toys, which is nice. But I always bring along some books and toys of our own, too. You can fit quite a few Little People, Imaginext guys, Hot Wheels cars, and Playmobil dudes in a small baggie!

For rainy days, I love the game, Obstacles. Our big kid could play this endlessly. And his daddy and I enjoy it, too. You make the game your own. It is all pictures, so you don't need to know how to read. Little brother isn't quite old enough to play the game, but he thinks he is! The great thing about this game is that you can play it the way the instructions suggest, but you can also make up your own rules, your own different game. You can also just use the game cards to discuss objects and colors with a younger kid or make up a story with an older kid. Love it!

I also like to hide some toys a few weeks before we leave on a trip and pack them. Then, when we get to our destination, everyone is overjoyed to see the missing items and it is like getting new toys!

Don't forget that a small container of (new) Playdough is fun for everyone!

(pic courtesy of

With that said, I buy a few, small, new toys. My kiddos love Pez dispensers like these.

They are only about a dollar, so I sometimes pick up a couple of them for the plane ride. They don't eat the candy and use them like action figures. We are big in to pretend play at our house, if you haven't figured that out yet...

I also like to bring a baggie of odds and ends that can be made into "an invention" or "a sculpture". This baggie doesn't take up much room, but can keep little people busy if you need them to be. Make sure you have a brand new glue stick if you want to make a sculpture. Items for the baggie could include:
Popscicle sticks * Chenille stems (pipe cleaners) * rubber bands (for older kids) * recycled pieces of cardboard or paper * wine corks * paper clips (for older kids) * pieces of ribbon or yarn * scraps of fabric * thin, wood craft shapes * stickers * recycled bottle caps and lids * tiny boxes

The ideas are as endless as your imagination!

I always bring along a couple of favorite books as well as some new ones. Books are slim enough that you can slide then into bags and not take up much room. That said, I don't travel light. I would rather be prepared for anything and pay for an extra bag than have an issue on vacation. I love the I Spy books and Busytown books for keeping eyes and minds busy. When you're done finding items in the I Spy books, you can use them to make up stories or talk about shapes and colors, just like the Obstacles game.

Of course, we never go anywhere without paper, stickers, crayons, and markers. Coloring books are great if you have room for them. Sticker books, too. A roll of painter's tape can keep little fingers occupied and encourage young inventors to push ideas further. I also mentioned a few other ideas in my post about car trips.

You've probably noticed that most of these ideas are interpretable and not designed to stick the kids in a corner. We look forward to a slower pace on a beach vacation, but we also always plan to spend that time with our kids. I often think that we are "making memories" and I want to make sure that my kids remember that we loved spending time with them.

Enjoy the beach for me! (Never have figured out if the ocean waves hello or goodbye?)

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