If you’ll be spending any time at a cottage this summer—maybe you’re renting one for a week as your summer vacation, or visiting a friend or family member’s cottage—then you may be wondering what to do to keep your kids entertained 24/7, since their regular toys and activities might not be available. Here are 12 ideas for fun things to do with your kids at the cottage.
1. Go on a scavenger hunt
Look for the old standards, like bugs, leaves and rocks, but throw in some fun challenges, like “sticks shaped like a Y” or “two rocks of similar shape and size.”
2. Go on a hike
Have older kids draw a map of the property or area and take a nice hike, following the map. Bring along some snacks and water as a way to break up the hike midway through (and extend the activity!).
3. Build sandcastles
Assuming there’s a nearby lake, bring along plenty of shovels and buckets of various sizes for building castles and digging out moats. Kick around a beach ball, then play hopscotch and tic-tac-toe in the sand.
4. Plan for a rainy day
Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, it’s safe assume you’ll need several indoor activities, so make sure to have some playdough (here’s how to make your own), construction paper and crayons on hand. Older kids will enjoy board games, card games, puzzles and making friendship bracelets (check out this tutorial!). Or try one of these crafts made from recyclable materials.
5. Blow bubbles
Have the kids blow, catch and pop bubbles. Bring supplies to make a DIY giant bubble maker, like the project outlined here.
6. Check out the local country store
There’s usually at least one not too far from most cottage areas.
7. Paint rocks
Collect a dozen rocks, then decorate them! If you want to be extra fancy, offer your kids not just paint but also other materials like googly eyes, stickers and pipe cleaners.
8. Watch movies
Some cottages don’t have internet access but many have a TV and a DVD player. Kids can get legit burnt out from the sun, so although the whole point of the cottage is to get away from screens and technology, consider allowing a movie here or there.
9. Splash around in a blow-up pool
Even if there’s a beach and lake, an inflatable pool is a safe spot for babies and toddlers to hang out in. It’s always less stressful when they’re contained!
10. Have a dance party
Bring something along that plays music and bust a move! Even better, have your dance party once the sun’s gone down. Let kids wear glow necklaces and shine flashlights.
11. Fly a kite
If you get a windy day, teach your kids the right way to fly a kite (click here for instructions). The beach is actually the ideal spot, since there shouldn’t be many trees or structures around.
12. Count your mosquito bites
Kidding! (Sort of.)