Fun & Games
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Bye-bye Bad Weather Blues

Creative ways to combat cabin fever

By Sally A Kane, J.D.
Published: July 1, 2009
Photo by © jupiterimages
Swimming, hiking, fishing, skiing – fun at the cabin usually involves the outdoors. So what can you do when the weather is less than perfect? Conventional pastimes such as reading, television, cards or board games will do in a  pinch. However, if you are looking for new ways to enjoy your cabin on a rainy day, here are a few creative, out-of-the-box ideas.   

Stay Outdoors
People instinctively seek shelter when the raindrops fall. However, venturing outside can offer a new perspective on familiar surroundings. Grab an umbrella and a waterproof camera and enjoy taking photos of streambeds flooded with water, choppy lake surfaces, trees swaying in the wind and mountain vistas topped with rainclouds. Later, compile the photos in a scrapbook, photo album or journal. Your kids may take pleasure in exploring a rain-drenched outdoors by searching for worms, jumping in puddles and looking for rainbows. Kids love to get dirty, so take advantage of the rain to explore nature’s perfect medium: mud. Clothe kids in their oldest apparel and direct them to the nearest mud puddle to indulge in mud finger painting or create a “chocolate factory” filled with mudpies and “chocolate milkshakes” (cups of water mixed with dirt).

Get Creative
It is easy to create works of art from everyday items found in and around your cabin. Use wet river stones to draw on flat slabs of rock – like chalk on a chalkboard. Construct  a birdhouse out of sticks and twine, string a necklace with sea shells, create a mobile out of stones and wire, or make a leaf-rubbing.  Homemade movies are another creative outlet for both kids and adults. Kids love to watch themselves on video, and adults can enlist them to develop a script, cast of characters and basic plot line. Or, forgo the script and record the events of the day video-journalism-style.
Get Active
Bad weather is no excuse for becoming a couch potato. Favorites like hide-n-seek or I-spy are great, but try these adrenaline-pumping indoor games for some fresh fun.   

Cabin Ball – Teams of five to 10 players sit on either side of a string, rope or cord strung out to form a net. Using a beach ball or balloon, players hit the ball over the net while remaining in a seated position. The rules of the game loosely resemble those of volleyball.

Obstacle Course – Create an obstacle course through your cabin using chairs, pillows and other items. For a new twist, climb into a sleeping bag and wiggle through the course (remove sharp and breakable objects) or navigate the course blindfolded.

Indoor Bobsledding – Teams of three to six players sit in a line with their legs wrapped around the person in front of them. On “go,” the teams use their hands to slide across the floor to the “hill’s bottom” – a line marked with masking tape. If a team breaks apart, it must go back to the beginning and start over.

Laughing Log – One person – the “log” – lies motionless on the ground with his eyes closed. Players form a circle around the log and try to make him laugh without touching him. When the “log” laughs, the person who made him laugh becomes the log.

Flashlight Limbo – Close the curtains and dim the lights. Use a flashlight to shine a beam of light straight across the room. Like limbo, players must walk under the light beam without touching it. After all players pass under the beam, the beam is lowered. The person who can pass under the lowest beam without touching it wins.

Cabin Noises – Use a tape recorder to record common sounds in and around your cabin. Examples include the sound of rain on the porch roof, the toilet flushing, the squeak of the porch swing or the fire crackling. Play it back and see who can identify the most sounds.

Dead Beaver – Players find a secluded spot in the room and lie down. When the leader shouts “dead  beaver,” players lie as quiet and motionless as possible. The last player to move or give up wins.   

My Grandfather’s Cabin – The first player says, “At my grandfather’s cabin I found …” and names something that begins with the letter “A.” The next player recites the same phrase, the object beginning with “A”  and then something that begins with “B.” Players continue in this manner, reciting the previous items and adding another until they forget and are out or reach the end of the alphabet and win. So don’t let a rainy day spoil your time at the cabin. The next time you encounter less-than-ideal weather, view it as an opportunity to engage in new kinds of fun – both indoors and out!  

Sally A. Kane is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer who is always finding new and fun things to do at her cabin.
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