Those of you readers who have been Oregon residents for years will quickly testify how difficult it can be to prepare for the weather in our great state. From one moment to the next, scattered rain demands the need for a waterproof coat, and suddenly, it is clear and warm enough for a tank top! As we all enjoy the last bits of summer, like the festivals, longer daylight hours, and the absence of dark clouds in the sky, Oregonians can begin setting themselves up for fun during the cooler seasons just around the corner. Since chilly and damp are familiar themes in the Pacific Northwest, here is a generous collection of fun ideas that will help you look forward to Oregon’s rainy days.
Calls, Videos, and Letters
The current advancing age of technology offers incredible ease of access to video calls or other instant internet communication. It is inundated deeply into our society in a way that it becomes possible to neglect using them at appropriate times. Cell phones are almost always within our reach, making family and friends just a few clicks away. Next time the rain patters on the rooftop and the kids are stir-crazy, consider creating your own mini movie or creative written story to share with grandma or a dear friend. Think about the last time a handwritten letter arrived in the mailbox and how exciting it can be to find it amongst the rest of the junk! Spread some joy to family, friends, and neighbors by getting a bit silly with household props, papers, or even your own funny noises to make unique calls, videos, and letters when the rain is pouring down outside! Foul weather combined with technology can, unfortunately, isolate family members instead of offering a chance for interaction. Encourage your children to associate bad weather with opportunities to make those in your life feel more connected and joyful by utilizing materials close at hand.
Books, Games, and Snacks
While this may seem like a “well duh” inclusion on this list, this goes beyond the basic suggestion of grabbing a close novel or board game. While there are still some sunny days to enjoy, consider collecting an assortment of special books and games for your family members that will only be accessible during bad weather. These items could be kept in a separate cabinet or whatever suits individual needs, but having a unique set of entertainment that can be used only during rainy days can give everyone in the family something to look forward to when the clouds roll in. Imagine getting to a new place in a video game only to have the sunshine break through the clouds… and your kid now has to wait until the next drizzle to play again. They may head outside and make up a rain dance! As mentioned in the header, this could apply to special snacks as well. If your kids are particularly interested in a specific treat, like fudgsicles or snickerdoodles, make that a special rainy day snack. Growing positive associations to foul weather in Oregon is important and does not have to be complicated! Maybe it would work best to limit paying for movie rentals or ordering delivery on rainy days… but we all know that could be more nights than not during the winter! Keep your set of rainy-day entertainment simple but fresh and tuned to your family’s interests.
Covered Areas for Play
Oregonians are used to moving events inside due to bad weather, and that has given rise to many businesses that offer kids an indoor chance to move and play. Indoor playgrounds (such as Athletic Edge Adventure Park in Salem and Get Air Sports in both Salem and Eugene) have massive play areas for kids of all ages to blow off some steam. Many of these types of locations also offer food and beverages, making it more straightforward for families to meet up and easily keep everyone fed. Bowling alleys and entertainment centers such as Bullwinkle’s in Wilsonville are also popular locations to escape the rain and boredom. Distraction is easy with laser tag and mini golf! Still, there should not be a need to spend lots of money to get out of the rain. Keep a watchful eye out for scenic lookouts or parks that feature covered areas. There are many days during the fall that rain comes and goes in spurts, so take advantage of shelters in places like Champoeg State Park near Aurora or Stella Olson Memorial Park in Sherwood, utilizing their open spaces in the dry moments but keeping all supplies safe under the cover. Many parks also offer reservations via phone or website for their covered spaces, making them a great, dependable place to plan a fall birthday party or reunion that will not have to get soaked.
Fostering interests and hobbies within children can be time-consuming and require materials you may not have on your own. When the weather is nasty, experimenting with different types of creative studios can be an excellent way to stay dry and entertained! It can be liberating to know a familiar place to drop in and exercise skills with like-minds, such as a dance academy or dojo. Whether children find comfort in quiet corners of the library or by sweating to a kickboxing routine, there are tons of creative studios throughout the state that would welcome a chance to include them. At Create a Memory in Salem, glass fusing and pottery painting are offered to creatives of all ages, Tuesday through Sunday. Performance in Roseburg makes martial arts and other self-defense sports accessible to everyone in the family, with a range of different classes. Community theater projects are another great way to pass the time when rain clouds loom! Even if a family member is not confident enough to get on the stage, there are plenty of helping hands needed for stage building, lighting, and other behind-the-scenes roles. As the holidays approach, more needs will arise for interested bodies to join choir, band, and other groups. Keep your family involved and stave off the winter blues by staying open to creative community opportunities.
Embracing the Rain
An essential part of adjusting to life here in the Pacific Northwest is learning to enjoy the rain. An old saying from the state jokes that you are a true Oregonian once you have webbed feet. Take a bit of direction from the ducks and find ways to live a whole life here, even if you end up wet most of the time! There are loads of traditions or attitudes you can encourage within your family that embrace our wet weather. Make wise, prioritized shopping choices that account for Oregon weather, making sure that rain gear like galoshes and waterproof windbreakers are up-to-date staples in everyone’s wardrobe. Do not waste valuable time or effort creating hairstyles or fancy chalk art that could be easily washed away in commonly damp months. Remember that our state only remains lush and green thanks to the substantial rainfall, so staying positive about how vital the rain is for our environment is critical. Make thoughtful gifts of rain chains for the gutter or rainfall gauges for garden lovers and bright patterned umbrellas and boots for those who prefer to keep dry. Structure most fall and winter plans around being indoors so that you will not be delayed or dismayed by showers. Speak mindfully and kindly to those around you about the weather rather than focusing on everything it prevents you from doing. Here is hoping that you can learn to love the patter of drops on the windows, appreciating it as one of the major factors that makes Oregon special.
Michelle is a married mother of two toddler girls and a house full of pets. As a homegrown Oregonian, she enjoys spending her time on family adventures throughout the PNW to fuel her creative inspiration! Photography, crochet, freehand mandala designs, hiking, and gardening are a few of her hobbies that are highlighted on Instagram @xenonvogue. Each new day is a chance to be present and involved, so Michelle strives to live honoring the knowledge that this too shall pass.