Health and wellness are crucial, no doubt, but we must think about the long-lasting impacts of our choices on vacation. This includes ensuring that we plan to keep our young travel companions engaged and entertained throughout our trips as well.
Making good memories should always be a top priority when we’re traveling with our kids. Childhood is fleeting, and the memories that we make with them during these formative years help shape who they’ll become as they grow.
These are also the times that we so often look back on later in life, wishing that we’d taken more time to plan for fun instead of relaxation.
With that in mind, we’ve put together 15 of our favorite cottage activities for kids that you can try on your next trip. However, before we get to that, let’s discuss some ways that you can plan the best cottage activities for your kids.
There’s only so much engagement you’re going to get from your kids if you’re just giving them a task to do and sending them on their way.
Kids want things to be fun. They want to be engaged. Most of all, they want you to perform the activities with them.
This means finding cottage activities for kids that check all of those boxes, without putting yourself in a position where you’re forced to play along with activities you won’t enjoy.
Put yourself in your kids’ shoes. Try to think back to the things that you enjoyed doing when you were their age, and then figure out ways to incorporate those activities into your cottage trip.
There are a few things that you can do when you’re planning your cottage activities for kids to ensure they’ll work well for your kids.
Kids don’t have a lot of patience or long attention spans, so when you’re planning your cottage activities for kids, you need to keep that in mind.
If you think that there’s a chance your children are going to find some of your proposed activities too long or complicated, you’re probably right. Trust your gut on this one.
By the same token, kids don’t want to be doing the same things for long periods. They get bored too easily.
So, if you think that you’re going to be able to plan one of two single activities and have them fill the whole day, you might want to reconsider.
Odds are, your kids will be bored by the lack of variety, and you’ll end up disappointed that they aren’t enjoying the activities you had planned.
There are some cottage activities for kids that are great for giving adults a break from all the chaos. However, for the most part, the activities that you’re planning should include you as well.
Your kids want to have a good time, yes, but what they want more than that is your attention.
Be active and participate with your kids. Regardless of what cottage activities for kids you’ve got in mind, your kids are guaranteed to enjoy it more if you’re playing with them.
Pack an eyepatch, dawn your greatest pirate drawl, and send your little ones on a treasure hunt.
This cottage activity for kids is a fantastic idea for any trip because there’s no right or wrong way to plan it.
Cater the objects that you’ve got them searching for to the things that you know they’ll be able to find (eventually) nearby.
Just be sure to set space limits on how far they’re searching outside the home. The last thing you want when you’re planning cottage activities for kids is for someone to wander off amid the fun.
Need to get some things done around the cottage, but the kids don’t feel like giving you a hand? Make a game of it!
Have a leaf-raking contest and see which kid can rake the largest pile of leaves. Hold a race to see which kid can clean up the most toys from their play area in 30 seconds.
With kids, chores are all about perspective. If they don’t want to help for the sake of helping, make their incentive fun. Then, they’ll be a lot more likely to jump in and get involved.
Not all cottage activities for kids have to be about playing games. Sometimes, it can impart a little bit of valuable knowledge, since you’re already together spending time as a family.
Healthy cooking and eating habits are things that are learned, not something that’s inherently understood. This means you should take the time to show your kids the basics of how to cook.
We’re not saying you should be handing a knife to your toddler and ordering them to cut up some vegetables, but consider having them help wash uncut vegetables.
They can assist with shucking corn, rolling dough, and other low-risk jobs that are still important to know how to perform.
The jobs you give the kids should depend on their age, as well as their existing experience level working with you in the kitchen. Use your judgment and talk to your kids about what they want to learn how to do. They’ll enjoy the work more if they have a say in the matter.
Regardless of what you have them doing, you’ll be helping them develop a valuable life skill that they can use to Getaway Well for the rest of their lives.
Some cottage activities for kids don’t have to be massive, elaborately planned events. It can be enjoyed just taking a hike through the area around your cottage, taking in the local scenery.
Not only will this allow you to talk to your kids about the nature around you, but it’s a great source of low-impact exercise to get you and the whole family out and about, instead of sitting around all day.
The hike can be long or short, it’s totally up to you. Maybe you’ll even plan to take a short walk, but end up spending half the day exploring, because you’re having such a great time.
Are your kid’s fans of constructing things, constantly finding ways to stack and build random items in their play area? Consider planning to build a fort with them as one of your activities.
You can take apart the couch indoors on rainy days and use the cushions to build a furniture fort (and add your meditation cushion to the pile).
Or, you can scavenge the area around the cottage for twigs and sticks that have fallen off of nearby trees. Then set about building a stick fort on the property.
If you and the kids build a strong enough fort, and the night is weather permitting, you could even consider camping outside under the stars using your new fort for shelter.
What would a trip to the cottage be without a nice dip in the lake?
Grab your swim trunks, water wings, or life jackets for the kids, and then spend the afternoon swimming or lying around near the water.
This is a great way to soak up some sun while enjoying bursts of great cardio going in and out of the water.
Not to mention, all the great water games that you can play with your kids too! If you wanted to, you could easily spend all day in the water.
Sometimes, kids just need to run around and burn off some energy. That’s where this classic kids’ game comes in handy.
Tag is a great way to get the kids to spend some time and energy chasing each other around, while the adults have a chance to sit down and catch their breath.
Of course, the kids may want you to play too, and why not? It’s a fantastic way to get in some cardio and get you up moving on days where you’re feeling like laying around and being lazy.
Even the best-laid plans can be shut down pretty quickly by a couple of days of unexpectedly bad weather.
For those tough times, it can be even harder than normal to keep the kids occupied and entertained indoors. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a cupboard full of art supplies handy at the cottage.
Drawing, coloring, or painting are fantastic cottage activities for kids that allow them to express themselves in whatever way makes them happy.
They’ll be busy for a bit, and you’ll get some more beautiful, handcrafted decorations for the refrigerator. Win-win!
For veterans of the outdoors, building a campfire may seem like second nature, but many of us forget that we were once little too. Back then, none of us inherently knew how to build an efficient, safe campfire.
Take this opportunity to teach your kids how to build a campfire. Start with collecting tinder, and explain all the details that go into building a long-lasting campfire that’s also safe for everyone nearby.
You never know when these types of life skills will come in handy, but instilling these skills in our kids is the best way to ensure that they’ll be able to take care of themselves, no matter what life throws at them down the road.
Even just sitting down to a nice meal together can be a cottage activity for kids that helps leave them with happy, lifelong memories.
Pack up a little meal of your favorite, healthy foods and snacks, then head out to find somewhere nearby that you can use to have a picnic.
Whether that means hiking up a hill for a stunning view or trekking through the forest to find a peaceful clearing, really depends on you and where your cottage is located.
Wherever you have your picnic, use this as the chance to take some quiet time with your kids to soak up your gorgeous natural surroundings.
Staying at a cottage that has a beach nearby? Do more than lay around on the sand all day. Get creative and challenge your little ones to a sandcastle building contest.
All you’ll need is some pails, a couple of shovels, and a bit of imagination.
Depending on how many people you have in your group, and how many kids are traveling with you, you can even break off into teams and use this fun cottage activity for kids as a teamwork exercise.
They won’t even know you’re teaching them a valuable lesson, because they’ll be too busy having such a great time.
Not every moment of every day at the cottage needs to be high energy and hectic. Sometimes it can be just as nice for kids (and definitely parents) to take some downtime inside for a breather.
Consider having the kids take some time to themselves. They can read a book, build with some Lego, or work on a puzzle for a little bit. These are wonderful, quiet cottage activities for kids that give parents a bit of a break to rest.
If you’re concerned about space, or about bringing all those little toy pieces with you to the cottage where they can get lost, consider picking up some toy storage bags.
This will help keep the mess contained when toys aren’t being used, and it will make it much easier to keep small pieces from disappearing between play sessions.
It will also keep those pesky Lego pieces from ending up underfoot. Ouch!
If there’s one thing that our kids are better at doing than many of us adults are, it’s making up their games to play.
When you’re bored of the alternatives you had planned, or you’ve already rolled through all the cottage activities for kids that you had planned for today, let your kids help solve the problem themselves.
Sit down and write the rules down for them as they come up with them. Work together to make up the basics of whatever game you’re creating as a team.
Not only is this good exercise for our mental muscles, but sometimes the craziest, most enjoyable ideas come out of brainstorming like this. Let your kids’ ideas run wild, and just do your best to go with it.
There’s a lot more to see than you might even realize in the natural environments found in cottage country.
One of our favorite cottage activities for kids is a great way to not only stop and appreciate all the natural beauty around the area, but it can also be a great learning tool for kids who are just beginning to understand and explore natural habitats.
You can even find printable nature bingo cards that you can bring from home, already ready to fill out.
While there are plenty of great cottage activities for kids that are a bit bigger and can more easily occupy themselves, we can’t forget about the little travel companions – babies and toddlers.
They may not enjoy some of the big kid activities that you’ve got planned, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to keep them entertained while you’re at the cottage.
Blow some bubbles and let the little ones try to catch them. Play a long game of peek-a-boo or living room hide-and-seek.
Regardless of what you do to keep our youngest loved ones occupied, cherish this time with them.
Before you know it, they’ll be off running around with their friends, more than content to keep themselves entertained.
As you can see, there’s practically an infinite number of fun cottage activities for kids that you can try on your next vacation.
It’s really easy to let ourselves get sucked onto the couch, especially when our cottage has a television and DVDs or streaming services readily available. However, spending too much time on screens defeats the purpose of visiting the cottage in the first place.
Make the most of your time at the cottage with your kids. Plan activities that engage you and them together, so that instead of focusing on ways to pass the time, you can enjoy spending time as a family – all while you make happy, lifelong memories.
When we’re enjoying time with the people we love most, like our kids, we’re always on the right path to Getaway Well.