Summer’s here…bringing back memories of being a kid, kicking off my shoes for 3 straight months and playing outside until the sky darkened and my mom yelled, “Dinner’s ready, everybody come home!” OK, this is obviously dating me, because back in the day there were no cell phones, computers, X-boxes, or PlayStations to distract my sisters and me from building forts on the empty lot down the street, hiking into the hills in search of rattlesnakes, or making a lemonade stand to earn summer cash…under no one’s watchful eye. And don’t get me started about long days spent at the local swimming pool or afternoons spread out with a good book under the apricot tree.
Things are different for kids nowadays…and not just because of technology. But being in the great outdoors is still one of the healthiest activities we can think of for kids. At this point, you are probably rolling your eyes, groaning and mumbling, “Yes, but camping is so much work.”
While we love camping and glamping at Lakedale, we also think a stay in a cabin (log preferred!) is the perfect way to get your kids outside and into nature. With much less work for Mom and Dad. In addition to the obvious benefits of cabin living (comfy beds, real kitchens, fireplaces, and indoor plumbing), many cabins are in picturesque locations, with nature just steps outside your door. AND… many cabins have no internet – think digital detox!
Here are some of our favorite ideas to help your kids enjoy cabin life and the out of doors:
- Wake up…and listen. Encourage your kids to stay in bed after they wake up and try to identify all the sounds they hear outside their (hopefully open) window…birds, bullfrogs, crickets?
- Eat every meal outside. The smell of your freshly baked pancakes may well wake your kids up (in addition to the birds), so encourage them to take their stack and syrup onto the cabin deck or picnic table and eat outside. Because…why not?
- Have an adventure. (Before you start, have everyone put their devices in a basket in the cabin so there are no digital distractions. Come on…it won’t kill you.) Take a walk outside the cabin for an hour or two with no preconceived ideas and let Mother Nature be your guide.
- Try fishing. Hopefully your cabin rental has a lake or river nearby so you can teach your kids how to fish. Personally, I never learned how to fish as a kid, and I’m still terrible at it, but there’s something wonderful about being on the water, baiting your line and catching your own dinner. Life skills!
- Go on a scavenger hunt. If you’re staying with us at Lakedale, come to the General Store and pick up a Lakedale Scavenger Hunt List. You and the kids can search for all sorts of critters, plants and outdoor features on our property and polish off your successful hunt with an ice cream. If you’re staying at a cabin rental elsewhere, do some research on the flora and fauna of the area, and have your list made ahead of time so you’ll be ready to scavenge from the get go.
- Campfire time. I once read an article about all the dangerous things you should let your kids do – and two of them were lighting a match and using a knife (age appropriate, of course.) Campfire time can involve both! Teach your kids to build a campfire and start it themselves. Then have them find a good, long stick, use a knife to whittle the end to a point, and voila, a marshmallow stick for S’mores!
Another great thing about cabin life is that when the weather turns stormy, you and the kids can cozy up inside, read books and puzzle away! At Lakedale, we have (6) two-bedroom real log cabins, each with 2 bedrooms and baths, a full kitchen, living area, private deck, campfire pit and picnic table next to Neva Lake, open year round. With all the amenities of a resort, we have you covered If you need a break from nature exploration – boating, swimming, a kid’s activity tent, giant chess, bocce ball, and lots more. But wherever you decide to spend your cabin vacation, the important thing is to go…and get outside!