12 Activities For A Rainy Day In Cottage Country

Your cottage rental is booked! All those months and weeks of planning will pay off and you’ll finally get away on holiday. But, as we all know, vacationing in Ontario doesn’t always mean all-day sun, all-week long. So, planning a few fun things to keep busy, even on a rainy day, is a great way to embrace the range of weather this province and Mother Nature will most likely bring .

Pre-Planning for Rainy Days

While it’s a given you’ll pack sunscreen, bathing suits, water shoes and beach towels, make sure you give some thought to what you might do when the weather doesn’t play nice.

Here’s a quick list of things to include.

  • Playing cards
  • Crib board
  • Favourite family board game (Monopoly, Risk, Clue etc)Favourite family board game (Monopoly, Risk, Clue etc)
  • New board game to learn
  • Pencils, paper, dice
  • Scavenger hunt sheets
  • Scrap book materials
  • Crafting box
  • Old sheet for covering a table while doing crafts
  • Cookie sheets & cutters
  • Baking accessories – sprinkles, chocolate chips, piping equipment
  • Rainwear – waterproof jackets, boots, umbrella

That may look like a lot, but it should all fit into one small tote. Label it ‘Rainy Day Stuff’ and you don’t even have to open it if the sun shines all week – but if the rain comes you’ve got an instant activity box.

All you need do is decide what activity to do.

Here’s 12 ideas that should keep everyone busy and have them making the most of the time indoors.

Cards & Games

Most cottages will come equipped with some board games & playing cards but to be on the safe side we recommend you take your favourites, and maybe a new one to learn.

1 If your kids aren’t familiar with card games, teach them something new. Our favourite is Go Fish – it’s easy to learn and fun to play. This list of 10 Kid Friendly Card Games has instructions for that one and lots more to while away a rainy afternoon.

2 Get a new game for the adults as well. We were recently introduced to Catan…here’s a Reddit user’s summary:

“Catan, on the other hand, has all the good elements that these games have. To a lesser degree, to be sure, but they’re all present. You have an OK (not great), but still engaging theme. You have one main path to victory, but you can choose what order to do each thing needed (upgrade to cities fast or spread out and then develop?). It’s very interactive (providing that you have people who understand the concept of trading). It’s easy to learn, but difficult to master (the modular board is one of its best features, IMO). It doesn’t take too long, but it’s not too short. It features luck, but not so much luck that it will determine every single game. Sure, sometimes, someone will get lucky and get all the resources they need and win, but when multiple games are taken into account, the most skilled player will be the winner. It covers everything just enough to make it great and accessible.”

3 Take along some family favourites such as Monopoly, Risk or Clue. Pictionary is fun for all the family too but don’t forget to pack a bunch of paper and pencils. Uno won’t take up much room in the car and is a super-easy game. Here’s the rules of Uno in case you’ve forgotten.

4 If you forgot to pack the games and all you have at the cottage is an old Snakes and Ladders set, there’s plenty of scope for fun with paper and pencil games. From Battleships to Hangman to Foldovers, all you need do is print off the templates and grids, and you have instant games to play. These 8 Pen & Pencil Games come with printables so take some with you,

5 When was the last time you played Charades? Dating back to the 18th Century, it started as a popular parlor game with players acting out literary works, plays etc. Nowadays you can buy game boxes with charade ideas but it’s cheaper and easier to just make up your own and these 150 Out-Of-The-Box Ideas will contribute to an epic games night. If you forgot the rules, there aren’t many…..

Divide the group into 2 teams and toss a dice to determine who goes first.

Each team thinks of a book or movie title, a famous person’s name, a song or a well-known phrase, then the other team selects a person to act out the word or phrase to his team using some common actions.

There’s few rules but the player may not speak or point to any clue in the room.

While players can be as creative as they wish, there’s some standard ways of acting out words and phrases to help your team solve the riddle.

The player thinks of a book title, a famous person’s name, a saying, a movie title or a song title to pantomime. He should choose something with which the others will be familiar. If you like, designate a category like sports or Disney.

The player then pantomimes the word or phrase he’s chosen to the other players.

Here are some common clues used in charades:

  • To indicate a book, pretend to read a book.
  • To indicate a song, pretend to sing.
  • To indicate a movie, pretend to crank an old movie camera.
  • To indicate the number of words, hold up that many fingers. (Then hold up one finger before pantomiming the first word, two fingers before the second, and so on.)
  • To pantomime a word that rhymes with the word you want players to guess, first tug on your ear to say “sounds like.”

Science Fun

Ok – we know…you’ve just had months of home-schooling, and the thought of packing up a bunch of equipment is not going to add joy to your holiday anticipation.

However, a few fun ideas that will keep the kids occupied if they can’t go out, could be just what you need to spare some holiday stress & angst. Bear with us – these could be the perfect antidote to the rainy day blues.

6 Check out the Do-It-Yourself series from the Toronto Science Centre. There’s hands-on games and activities together with easy to follow guides and templates. Enough to keep kids of all ages happy.

7 Embrace the weather and get the kids to construct a rain gauge. This is a simple construction and all you will need is a clear plastic bottle, a ruler & Sharpie to mark off the measurements, and a few pebbles to weigh it down.

Pine Cone Crafts

Pine cones are usually in vast supply in cottage country – just do a little foraging in the woodland and you should have no problem finding a whole bunch of them. Then just do some googling for pine cone crafts. Because the source materials are so easy to find, it makes sense there are hundreds of ideas for creating fun decorations with them Here’s two of my favourites.

8 How cute is this pine cone owl from Fireflies and Mudpies– using only materials collected from around the cottage.

1. After gathering supplies on a nature walk , glue acorn caps to the front of the pine cone.

2. Next, glue a piece of bark to each side of the pine cone to create wings for the owl.

3. Use a pumpkin seed or a tiny pine cone for the owl’s beak.

4. Last, glue a maple tree seed above each of the owl’s eyes to give the owl the look of the Great Horned Owl.

9 You might be on a summer vacation, but there’s never a bad time to be thinking about Christmas is there? So if the weather keeps you inside, why not get a head start on the decorations, while you have that huge supply of materials right in the back yard, or along the country road. Hre’s 55 Awesome Outdoor And Indoor Pinecone Decorations For Christmas


Gone are the days of cottage kitchens with rusty can openers, scratched pans and minimal cooking equipment. Well, there may be some still out there but you are more likely to find them up-to-date and well-equipped. It makes spending time on new culinary creations or letting the kids have a go at baking, much more enjoyable.

So, pack up your favourite kitchen stuff ( I always take a really good knife, a loaf pan and a muffin tray) just to be on the safe side, and have a plan for cooking up a storm should the weather prevent you from going outside.

When we’ve been at a rental cottage with friends, we’ve had chilli cook-offs, cookie competitions and pizza bakes. It’s so much fun, gets everyone involved and the results can be eaten! What could be better?

10 The pizza party has always been a favourite, with everyone making their own – this could stretch out for hours as each one gets cooked then eaten before the next arrives at the table. This list of 10 Ways to Get Creative with Pizza should give you some great ideas.

Give the kids a go at the toppings and have them join in with the creativity.

11 While cottage country stores may lack a fine cuisine aisle and you might not pick up truffle oil or okra, you’ll easily find cookie ingredients – sprinkles, chocolate chips etc.

12 And if all else fails, just get out and enjoy the weather. After all, you’re at a water-based vacation and you were planning on getting wet anyway. Splash in the puddles, dance in the rain, take a bunch of funny photos, look for frogs, go fishing, check out the Geocaching app and hunt for treasure.

It’s only your attitude and reaction to poor weather that will get in the way of you enjoying it. So decide to embrace it and have fun!

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