As we all emerge from a long winter hibernation, it’s time to trade those alpine skis for water skis. Swap the parkas for a swimsuit and sunscreen, and that helmet for sunglasses. “Sun’s out! Fun’s out! Let’s get summer rolling,” says Kim Arnett, manager of Indian River Trading Company in Port Carling.
Let’s face it: we’ve all mastered our family indoor games, and we’ve had our fill of meals and cocktails we made just because the video went viral. It’s time to change things up and make the most of being at your cottage or lakeside home.
Swing open those doors, step into the fresh air and start exploring such classic games as badminton, croquet, bean bag toss, bocce ball and horseshoes. There’s backyard golf, bubble soccer, giant inflatable bowling, beer pong, volleyball, even giant chess. “Maybe it’s just tossing around the football, or a game of catch,” says Kim, “but let’s get outside. Tick all the important boxes: physical, mental and emotional.”
Playing family games is also a great way to foster stronger familial bonds. Remember, whoever loses at croquet washes the dinner dishes by hand. You’re talking, laughing, cheering each on, while learning some important sportsmanship skills and teamwork. It helps bring you closer together while enhancing communication skills.
The diversity of games available at Indian River Trading is substantial. “Our goal is to make sure you never hear those two dreaded words all summer: I’m bored,” Kim says. “We like to inject our own families’ enthusiasm for games that anyone can be involved in.”
Why not have a game of go-fish on the dock with giant waterproof playing cards? How about a rally of volleyball before lunch? Giant Jenga outside while the steaks are on the BBQ? “Our favorite after-dinner activity is a rousing game of bean bag toss and a cocktail,” says Kim. “Our nightcap is a recap around the fire by the lake.”
If a team sport is not your game, Indian River has a large selection of other toys, such as frisbees, water guns, waboba balls, floating footballs, and discs. There are hula hoops, battle boards, masks and snorkels, plus a giant selection of inflatables. If you’re looking for some you time alone, a single large vinyl noodle can be just the ticket.
This is the season to get your game on, on the water. Set up some family Olympics: kayak vs SUP to see who can paddle to the point the fastest. “Try double tubing. Or try our new paddleless Wig Wag versus the round boat called a Corcl,” says Kim. “Winner gets the first glassy ski in the morning. Just keep the games rolling, all summer long!”
When choosing furniture for your cottage or lake home you must think about how you are going to use your outdoor space. Every family, large to small has different needs. Every property is uniquely yours.
Many families are now spending most of their time at the cottage. The key is to purchase furniture that will last for generations and is durable.
Based out of Stratford, Ontario, C.R. Plastics is the industry leader in the North American outdoor recycled plastic furniture market. Their products are designed and built to last, while also being made with minimal environmental impact.
“It is inspiring to know that millions of tons of plastic are not ending up in landfills,” says Kim. The company uses a proprietary process to create durable plastic products which are well-suited to Muskoka’s natural settings.
“Their unique plastic lumber won’t mold, rot, splinter or crack,” she explains. “It can withstand all the precarious weather conditions.”
Some would like to sit lakeside and enjoy the quiet sunset and call of the loon. Others would like to enhance their enjoyment at the lake with chaos and toys.
“If you want waterfront toys, where do we begin?” Kim asks. “The giant golden goose, mermaid tail, sun lounger for 12, tubes that tow from front or back? Or would you like to ride on a giant sombrero?”
You can show off your Canadian charm with a beaver, moose or mallard design, or show your creative side and go for a llama, unicorn or pink flamingo.
“The most fun, but challenging, is choosing your ‘hot girl summer’ inflatable. We have lots of choices that match almost every personality.”
Indian River houses many towable tubes, wake surfs, wakeboards, wake skates, kneeboards, SUPs, water carpets, kayaks, canoes, and accessories. “We also have water trampolines and parks to elevate the cottage experience for everyone,” Kim says.
“Whatever adventure you choose this summer, we believe that fun starts with family. We are your cottage lifestyle store.”
PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN