Traveling with kids: 8 things to do in bad weather

You don't always get the weather you would like when you go on a trip. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it pours, and sometimes it's just too cold, snowy, or otherwise inclement, that you can't hit the beach, the playground, go for that hike or stroll, or do the sightseeing you had hoped to do.

If you're traveling with kids and are either staying in a hotel, a vacation rental, or with friends or family, you might feel rather cooped up inside. And if your kids are like mine, they really need some kind of activity during the day (even something really simple) to put them in a better mood.

Here are some ideas of how to spend your time with the kids when you're away from home, and bad weather strikes:

1. Catch a movie
Going to a movie theatre for a couple of hours with your kids can be a great way to spend a rainy day. Where I live in Canada, it is getting rather expensive to take the kids to a regular movie theatre - especially if the whole family is going and there's popcorn involved! However, where we live there are many movie theatres that show movies that have been out for a while, and the tickets are a lot cheaper there. Hollywood 3 Cinemas, and The Clova are just two examples of "cheap seats" near Vancouver. (The popcorn is cheaper there too!)

At The Vancouver Aquarium.
2. Go to a kid-friendly museum or other indoor attraction
This is often a great option if you're in a big city. Locally here in Vancouver, places like The Vancouver Aquarium, Science World, and the HR McMillan Space Centre are good spots to spend the day out of the bad weather.

At Leo's Lekland, Skellefteå, Sweden.
3. Get active at an indoor activity centre
These days there are lots of places that offer adventurous indoor activities for kids. There are places with climbing equipment and slides, like Leo's Lekland (a place we go to when we're in Sweden visiting family), and there are other places offering rock-climbing and trampoline-jumping and various other gymnastic activities like Club Aviva, near where we live.

4. Go for a swim
If you're staying in a hotel with a pool, that can be an easy and fun way to spend time with your kids, getting some fun exercise, and stay away from the bad weather. I know this is one of my kids' favorite indoor activities.

5. Take a bad weather stroll
Sometimes going outside is not so bad, even if the weather isn't cooperating. Dress everyone for the weather and just head outside for a while. Go for a walk in a park or at the beach, stomp in some puddles, run in the rain, get wet and cold and then head inside to warm up.

6. Go storm watching
On a windy day when you can't do much else, going somewhere near the ocean can make for a pretty enjoyable nature-display: big waves, seagulls riding the air (or hunkering down in the sand), and some crazy cloud-formations to watch. Where I grew up in northern Sweden, Bjuröklubb on the Gulf of Bothnia, was a great place to go on a reasonably stormy day. Of course, you should always stay safe, so if the bad weather is really bad, heading inside might be the better option.

7. Head to the library
In many towns and cities, libraries have various things going on for kids, like story-times and author-visits. My kids enjoy just hanging out at the library for a bit, maybe reading a book or playing on the computers that can often be found in public libraries around the world.

On-board Vancouver's SkyTrain.
8. Ride transit to somewhere fun
This is what my kids love to do at home as well as away. At home, we usually hop on the Skytrain and head somewhere like the local airport to watch the airplanes for a bit, or we go all the way to North Vancouver on the Skytrain and the Seabus. In other places you could pick a destination and use the local trains and buses to get there. My kids love this, even if all we do at our destination is go for an ice cream or muffin.

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