Sometimes it can rain all week when you’re camping, and you can feel like moist potato chips: limp and yucky. But you don’t need to pack it all in and head for home—or a hotel. Even if you didn’t bring along the Legos, board games, coloring books, or cards, you can be creative and entertain the kids when it’s raining while you’re camping. Here are five suggestions for you.
Bring raincoats and rain boots and hike anyway. As long as the weather is not severe, just don your boots and raincoats and take a walk in the woods or along a beach. There’s no need for sunscreen or bug spray during a light rain. My kids love the squishy mud. Splash through puddles. Have a contest to find the biggest puddle at the campground. Discover what kind of animals or bugs come out when it rains. If you find worms, go fishing.
|Hiking in the clouds
and rain in Maryland.
However, never hike or fish during thunder storms, especially on mountaintops or in open areas. Never invite danger, only adventure. While hiking in the Colorado Rockies, we were told by the park rangers to be off the mountaintop by 3 p.m. because thunder storms happened almost daily at that time in July.
Find campground or park activities under cover. Depending on where you’re staying, there are activities for children to enjoy. Adults too! Some are supervised or led by experts. At state or national parks, my kids have made dried apple dolls, learned about geology from park rangers, and watched nature videos at Visitors’ Centers or even movies provided by campground personnel in their activities’ center. Most parks offer activity guides including indoor and outdoor things to do. Most family friendly campgrounds have activities for campers to do, too. Just check at the office to find out.
|Dried apple dolls made
inside the hut.
Create games inside. If you’re stuck in the camper or tent, play charades. My kids love this game. A player tells the participants the topic; a song, movie, or book title or an object or person and how many words there are, all without speaking. Then the player acts out the words. You could sit around the table and make up stories with each person adding to the story. These can be a lot of fun. Remember the stories do not need to make sense. You can choose a genre; adventure, fantasy, or science fiction. And then let your imagination go. It’s okay if your story starts to sound like a movie the children like. I like to bring a battery operated tape recorder along just for these types of situations. The kids love to listen to the crazy stories we all came up with after our camping trips.
Play “guess what it is.” Give one person a paper bag. Make everybody else close their eyes while the person puts something in the bag from the camper, tent, or one their possessions. Then that person needs to give clues to everyone about what’s in the bag. Whoever guesses it is the next person to put something in the bag.
Or build something with things that are available in the camper and have everyone else guess what it’s supposed to be. Set a timer to rush the builder. We’ve used marshmallows and colored pencils or crayons, bent paper plates, cups, spoons. Be creative!
Discover what’s around you. Take a scenic drive in the area where you are staying to see the sights. The mountains are still impressive; forests lush, waterfalls full. The ocean or river or lake may be peaked in whitecaps from the wind; beaches are windswept.
The drive will help you find indoor activities in the area, too; museums or discovery centers to visit, indoor playgrounds.
Whether you’re camping with kids in the rain or sunshine, be creative, enjoy each other’s company, and by all means, have fun. I hope you found these few suggestions helpful about what to do when camping in the rain. There are many more; like, hang-the-man using trip-specific sights or sentences. Please share any experiences you may have about entertaining children when it’s raining outside. Just leave a note in the comments section here at Camping with Five Kids. It would be truly appreciated. Enjoy your adventure!