Monday, October 3, 2011

Traveling with kids: 8 rainy day activities

Riding the Sky Train on a rainy day.

Rainy days happen, whether you're away on holiday or at home. And whether you're at home or away, they can make it more complicated to entertain your kids. However, entertaining kids if you're staying in a hotel room (often cramped, not a lot of toys, not always very kid-friendly), can make things even harder.

Here are some ideas on things to do with your kids, at home or when you're away on holidays, when it's one of those rainy, sopping wet days.

1. Find a pool
If you're staying in a hotel, there might be an indoor pool you can splash around in with the kids. Or you can locate the nearest public pool and have fun with your kids there. If you're really lucky, the town or city you're in might have an indoor adventure waterpark place, like the Newton Wave Pool in Surrey, outside Vancouver, or Water Mania in Richmond.

2. Find a good, kid-friendly museum-type place
Depending on the personality, age and mood of your kids, you can pick a museum that fits them and you. I know parents who have successfully entertained their children in art galleries, though that doesn't really work for my brood. My kids usually prefer something hands-on: like Vancouver's Science World.

3. Head to the conservatory, aquarium or zoo
Most big cities have a place like this somewhere. In Vancouver, there's the Bloedel Conservatory, The Vancouver Aquarium for example. 

4. Find an indoor playground
Places like Leo's Lekland in Sweden, or Crash Crawly's in Canada are two examples of these kind of gigantic jungle gyms with all sorts of slides, trampolines and climbing equipment. The hardest part is usually getting your kids to leave... Or even finding them in the maze of rope ladders, tube slides, and ball rooms.

5. Get dressed for the weather and stomp in puddles
Put on your gum boots and rain gear and head outside. Find a park and let your kids do their worst, stomping in puddles, running in the wet grass, and whatever else they feel like doing. Yes, they'll get wet, and you'll probably have to change their clothes afterwards, but this can be a ton of fun.

6. Watch the bad weather somewhere

If it's a stormy, rainy day it can sometimes be fun to go somewhere to do some storm-watching: head down to a beach (Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, or Bjuröklubb in Sweden for example). Watching waves crash in and clouds chase by, feel the wind and rain (and stay safe while doing so!), and then go for a hot chocolate and coffee.

7. Ride transit

I've spent many rainy days with my kids riding the Sky Train in Vancouver: either out to the airport to watch the planes come in, or all the way downtown and then across the water on the Sea Bus. A transit adventure can be a terrific fun time when the weather is frightful.

8. Have a movie day with snacks and treats
Whether you're in a hotel room or at home, you can spend part of a rainy day with some favorite movies, and some favorite snacks. Check out the movies offered on your in-room TV, see if rentals or kid-friendly pay-per-view is available, or use your personal DVD-player, tablet or laptop to watch a movie while vegging out on a couch, in a bed or in a pile of blankets and pillows on the floor.

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