When you plan a cabin getaway, there are days where things just don’t go as planned and you find yourself wanting for things to do. Or maybe you’ve just built a “down day” into your vacation to relax and enjoy some leisure time. These are days that can bore kids to tears. And when kids are bored, no one is happy.

To make this potential time less dull for the kids, and therefore more relaxing for the adults, we’d like to offer some “Cabin Survival Kit” (a.k.a. activity kit) suggestions. Each kit can (mostly) fit into a single bag/box for easy transport. With a little pre-planning, your Beavers Bend Creative Escapes getaway can be enjoyable for everyone, no matter what the season.

Inside during storms or cold
These can be the worst times for kids: cooped up indoors on a down-day because of the weather.

Indoor Art Kit
Pack a shoebox with craft supplies (the less-messy kind are polite when renting a cabin). Crayons, washable markers, felt and fabric remnants, colored pencils, ribbon, yarn, string, scissors, hole punch, large beads and buttons, glue stick, pipe cleaners, tape, straws, lunch bags, wiggle eyes, and Popsicle sticks are all great materials to have on-hand to create something amazing. Construction paper may not fit IN the shoebox, but it’s a necessary thing to bring along for art’s sake.

Scavenger  or Clue Hunt
A little creativity on your part can result in grand fun for the kids. Bring some notecards and a pen (or even a notebook to tear paper out of) to write down the clues. Don’t forget a small prize for them to find at the end – maybe even something they can continue playing with outside (bubbles? kazoos? A jump-rope?)

For a scavenger hunt, consider different leaves, pinecones, flowers… pretty much anything seasonally available.

Of course you’ll need to relegate the kids to a single, closed room as you plant the clues for a Clue Hunt – or maybe take advantage of letting them sleep in! It might be easiest to find the final prize location – somewhere that can hide the items – and work backwards. Then create a clue to the final location, find a place to hide it, create a clue to THAT location, and so on. When the time comes, hand them the first clue and send them on their adventure.

Coloring Books and Crayons
No matter your age, coloring books can be a fun activity for the whole family, and can easily fit into a tote bag.

On nice days, kids should ideally be able to find things to do on the property around the cabin. But if they need some ideas, here are a few things that might just do the trick.

Bug Adventure Kit
There’s no time like vacation in an unfamiliar area to discover new species. And we all know that kids can be fascinated by those crawly creatures! Set a boundary distance for discovery and set them loose on the property.

  • Gloves – gardening gloves can help keep hands clean and safe
    Hat – to protect from branches and sun while outside
  • Magnifying glass – to get a good look
  • Flashlight – to help them peer into logs or under rocks
  • Notebook and pens/colored pencils (or even a small camera) – to record the bugs they’ve seen.
  • Bug identification book – if your kids are old enough to read and understand, they can identify the insects as they discover. Otherwise, refer to their drawings and photos to help them once they return to the cabin.

Scavenger Hunt
Use the “indoor” idea above and apply it outside! Of course you’ll need to occupy the kids indoors as you plant the clues outside – or again take advantage of letting them sleep in!

Outdoor sports
Pack a frisbee, small football, or a whiffle-ball set for outdoor fun no matter what the temperature!

Some outdoor games don’t even NEED a kit: tag, red rover, red light/green light, simon says… break out the classics and teach them to your kids!

Around the Campfire
If you choose to end the day around a roaring fire, we have a couple of kits you can prepare to make those end-of-day treats.

S’mores Kit
Pack graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows in a lunchbox – add hot chocolate if it’s a cool/cold night!

Banana Boat Kit
Bring bananas and aluminum foil and pack a lunchbox full of “stuffers”: mini-marshmallows, chocolate/peanut butter chips, slivered/crushed nuts, berries and granola. Slit the banana about halfway through on the inside-curve side, let your kids stuff them with whatever goodies strike their fancy. Wrap the banana in tinfoil and place on the coals. In just a few minutes, they’ll have a yummy treat

In the snow
Check the forecast! While Broken Bow isn’t known for large snowfalls, we do get some snow occasionally. If you’re visiting in the winter, and snow is forecasted, a small amount of snow can turn into a lot of fun for the kids.

Snow Art Kit
A tote bag could easily hold these items to spur creativity in the snow!

  • Bring some condiment bottles and food coloring for “Snow Paint”: water tinted with food coloring. Kids can pictures in the snow, make game boards (hopscotch, anyone?), or anything else the kids can dream up.
  • Pack a few small molds/cookie cutters for the kids to create sculpture art outside.
  • Use bubbles to create “frozen orbs” if it’s below 32 degrees – blow a bubble and watch it freeze on the wand. Use these to create sculptures or decorade the cabin’s deck.

With a little planning, kids can have endless fun during your cabin vacation. Whether you use our ideas or simply let them inspire you to create “kits” that better suit your kids’ interest, a family vacation can go much more smoothly with some forethought and creativity!