Rainy day tent camping activities are essential for every camping family.
Imagine this, you’ve scouted out the perfect campsite, set everything up and have just finished lunch when an unexpected storm rolls in.
The kids are getting cranky and whiny, what are you going to do to save the trip? Don’t let a little wet weather ruin your next camping trip, pack some of these rainy day camping activities!
If you want to make camping in the rain fun, you can. It just takes a little planning and a good attitude. Having rainy day activities prepared beforehand is essential to keep boredom away!
If you’re stuck in the tent during an unexpected storm, it pays to pack things to do. Having your whole family in the tent with no games will quickly turn into a soggy, sad disaster.
If it’s going to be a short sprinkle while we’re camping, we go into the tent and try out some games and activities that we’ve literally saved for a rainy day.
(Be sure your tent is waterproof by testing it in the backyard before you go)
Rainy Day Camping Games
We literally bring things JUST for a rainy day, because when you’re a kid, nothing is as exciting as a new game or toy. Younger kids love playing games and it doesn’t often matter which game.
Once we played a mini-board game that came with a kid’s meal we bought on the drive to camp. It was a silly cheap game that kept falling apart, but Tiny Critter had so much fun playing it because it was new. That game is still one of his favorite rainy day camping activities.
Here are our suggestions for activities for camping in the rain with kids.
Once the rain starts, grab a lantern and break out your family’s favorite board games!
Our family loves all kinds of board games, but this camping game is one of Tiny Critter’s favorite games. You don’t need to be able to read, only to recognize numbers and count.
It’s super fun to play a camping themed game while hiding out from a storm in your tent!
Travel Versions of Games
Travel versions of popular games are a great choice for rainy days in the tent. All kinds of classic games can be found as travel games.
Card games are great games to play when you’re camping in the rain. You don’t need any extra room to play cards, and you can even play while snuggled up in your sleeping bag!
Grab a variety pack or just your families favorite card game and never run out of options!
If you have a table you can play on in your normal tent or screen tent, dominos can be a great way to pass the time while waiting for the rain to stop. Campers of all ages love dominos!
I haven’t met a kid yet who didn’t like magnatiles. Tiny Critter is always talking about the creations he makes with them at school.
They don’t take up a lot of room and they can be used over and over again. Magnatiles are perfect for a rainy camping trip.
Brain Spark Digit Builders
These are like magnetic tinker toys. You can build all kinds of fun things with them.
Tiny Critter loves building houses for all of his stuffed animals with them. He’s also made his animals cars and hooked them into a train.
Dice games take up little to no room and are easily played in a tent. Yahtzee, Tenzi or Bunko are all amazing games.
Like the other dice games, story dice take nearly no room. However, they can be a big hit. We’ve used ours multiple times this year (at least once on a rainy camping trip) and with a young kid you can get some pretty funny epic tales!
The dice have pictures on them and the idea is to roll them and make up a story that incorporates all of the pictures.
Story dice are also a great game to bring if you’re winter camping, as the dice can’t be hurt by snow or water.
Word Play Games
Word games are tons of fun and you don’t have to pack them! That makes them the perfect camping activities for rainy days!
We love to play the Alphabet game. Someone starts and says “I’m going camping and I’m bringing an Axe!” Then the next person says “I’m going camping and I’m bringing an Axe and a Backpack!”
The next person repeats the A, and B items and adds on their own that starts with C and so on! This game usually gets everyone laughing in no time as everyone helps to remember the order of things!
Rainy Day Tent Camping Activities
Everyone has a different definition of fun camping activities, but these are classic ideas to help your family spend quality time together.
Read a Book
Not much beats snuggling in your tent and curling up with a good book. Something about camping in the rain and a sleeping bag and I could read a book all day.
We always have books with us on our camping adventures. It’s how we wind down in the evenings.
A few of our favorite camping and storm related books are:
The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm
This is an awesome book by LeVar Burton. It sounds like it’s about a storm, but it’s a book about dealing with your emotions.
Tiny Critter loved this book and we read it over and over again for quite a while.
The Gruffalo is a cute story about a mouse who makes up a fake creature called the Gruffalo.
I won’t spoil the ending for you, so go check it out.
Just Me and My Dad
I loved these books when I was younger, and our son still loves them. We may be partial to them because IT HAS A LITTLE CRITTER!!!
This is a classic Little Critter Book, there are a few mishaps, but generally a good time is had by all.
Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll
This is an amazing book that my son got at school.
Flash, Crash, Rumble and Roll teaches kids about what is really happening when a storm rolls in. You’ll learn facts about thunder and lighting right along with your child!
Write in a Camp Journal
Some folks really like looking back at all the fun camping memories. Pictures are nice, videos are great, but you can’t catch all the fun on either.
Take time to write down the funny things said or done, you won’t regret it.
If you’ve read enough books (and memorized some like momma and daddy critter), have an imagination (like tiny critter), or just recall some good stories from your own adventures.
Sit back and tell a story, it’s like reading a good book but better. It’s a great way to pass the time and keep the family entertained.
Pick up a coloring book just for camping and keep it with your camp stuff. This way your kids can have something special to look forward to in the stormy times.
In this case, pick whatever you think is most interesting for your critterz. Older kids usually like activity books too.
Don’t forget to pack crayons for the coloring book! Coloring or drawing is always a good way to stay busy and calm if your little ones are bothered by storms.
Paint with Water
There are awesome water-only paint books so no crayons are needed. No paint, no mess!
Perfect for those times you might be stuck in the tent and need to get some artistic inspirations going.
Sing a Song (or all of the songs)
Every family knows some camp songs they like… sing ‘em, dance a bit.. in the tent you can dance like no one is watching, because they’re not!
If you don’t know any good camp songs, check out our repeat after me camp songs so everyone can learn the words together!
For added fantastic fun (if you planned ahead)… while singing and dancing, maybe some glow sticks are in order.
Take a Nap
Ok, for Daddy critter this one is never done on purpose (though it happens). Now, Momma critter has taken a nap while the other two told stories. It seemed to work out super well!
Napping while a gentle rain is tapping on the tent is quite peaceful. Nature’s white noise machine!
We understand that for some, watching movies on a screen defeats the purpose a bit when it comes to camping. However, if you’re out of ideas and things are desperate, movie night can save the day.
If you’re suddenly having to come up with rainy day camping activities, Netflix and other apps allow you to download shows before you leave.
We suggest having a few pre-loaded. Use them as you need, no judging here.
Our pick is a kid friendly tablet like the Kindle Fire for kids. It’s more rugged so it’ll hold up to camping life a bit better than a delicate laptop or smartphone.
What takes up time and can be fun while rewarding at the same time… a SNACK-TIVITY!!! These are perfect in a screen tent or under a tarp. Some quick ones we can think of:
- Food Necklaces (fruit loops, apple jacks, cherrios, etc on a string or pipe cleaner for easy snacking)
- Ants on a Log (peanut butter, celery, raisins)
- Pistachios (good and takes some time to work through!)
- S’mores if you can sneak it between the rain storms
While doing your snacktivity, maybe warm up with some hot chocolate or cider. Rainy days are perfect for hot drinks.
Be sure to eat and have snacks in your screen tent for safety. No one wants wild animals sneaking into your sleeping tent.
Rainy Day Activities for Staying Dry:
If you’re tired of being in the tent for long hours and the rainy weather just won’t stop, try some of these rainy day camping activities to get you through a rainy afternoon while camping:
If it’s a cool rain or you’re just not interested in getting wet on your camping trip, here are ideas on how to survive while staying dry.
Drive into Town
If you’re near a historic town maybe you can hop over and see the sites. We’ve ended up at some small restaurants and had some great meals/seen some interesting stores while making our way around small towns.
Eat at a Cafe
It’s nice to drive to a nearby town if it’s been raining all night/morning and you’ve been stuck inside your tent. You can pick up a late breakfast/lunch to get those spirits back up.
I really do recommend taking a chance on those small town restaurants. They always are more likely to be memorable than the chains while on a trip.
This is also a great activity for 2 if you’re on a couple’s camping trip.
Visit a Local Museum
Maybe there is a museum or some attraction you’ve been meaning to hit up in the area. Now is your chance, give it a go and see what the fuss is all about. You may end up seeing the world’s largest ball of twine!
Go on a Scenic Drive
Usually around a park there are pretty drives. Even in the rain (unless it’s a downpour) it can be very pretty to see.
I know most folks don’t think that bad weather is that great to be in but it’s honestly just another part of nature we can appreciate.
Visit the Nature Center
Most parks have a nature center to explore, it’s one of the first things Tiny Critter wants to see on every camping trip.
They typically have neat facts about the area you’re in. They also have ideas of what you can do at the park AND usually some level of animal life for the kiddos to get excited about. Even when it’s not raining we always stop by the nature center!
Build a Campfire
Maybe you have a screen tent (no, NOT over the fire pit) and you can sneak between the raindrops and get a fire lit.
I don’t know why, but it’s always a fun challenge to keep a fire going when you’re camping in the rain. It’s always fun just to see if you can start it and keep it rolling until the rain stops.
Plus, then you have great coals for all those tinfoil dinners… or after dinner treats like smores.
Be sure to keep some dry wood under a tarp or in your car if you’re car camping.
Stay Dry in a Screen Tent
If your site has the room, a screen tent can be pretty fantastic to enable more space for more activities for rainy days. It keeps you outside a bit more and lets the whole family stretch a bit.
We have a great one we really enjoy and we find a use for it on every camping trip.
- SPACIOUS CANOPY SHELTER: 12.5 x 12.5-foot canopy, 7.8 feet at center height; Accommodates up to 8 people or can fit a picnic table and a few camp chairs.
- ADAPTABLE SHELTER: Heavy-duty removable floor and built-in wind panels that roll up, down, and zip on the sides.
Rainy Activities to Get Wet:
If the rain is warm with no lightning, there are a lot of fun camping activities that involve running around in the water!
Get some waterproof boots and go explore the wet great outdoors! Water activities are also a great idea in a rainy campsite.
Splash in Puddles
The most obvious rainy day camping activity is to go play in the rain!
Bring your rain boots and go jump in puddles! I’m sure you packed an extra set of clothes, so if the water isn’t too cold, put on your rain gear and go jump around.
Our Tiny Critter LOVES splashing in puddles, (so do kids of all ages) so a little rain while camping makes his day.
Walking through the woods during a gentle rain can be an amazing way to reconnect with nature. Get your rain gear on and go for a short hike to get out of the tent for a while.
Be sure to choose an easy path that won’t be slippery in the rain.
If it’s raining and you’re catching fish, you know what you don’t care about anymore? That’s right, being WET!
Wet weather doesn’t matter if you’re having a grand time pulling in fish after fish. If you can find yourself a great spot for a bunch of hungry sunnies, that tiny critter will be ecstatic.
Some fish are more active in a light rain so grab your rain gear and go fishing!
If you’re camping by a lake or swimmable river, you can easily have fun with the best water activity! Going swimming while it’s gently raining is fun. (Make sure there is no lightning)
As long as you’re already wet, you might as well have more splashy fun, so grab your life jacket and jump in!
Don’t forget the buckets and shovels, wet sand can make for some nice sand castles.
You can also fill up the squirt guns and have a water fight! Everyone wins when everyone is equally wet at the end!
We love these squirt guns, they’re really easy for everyone in the family to use.
Build A Dam
Anywhere there is water running down a road, there is a way to make a dam. Grab sticks, build a dam across the running water.
It’s a great learning opportunity and your kids will have so much fun that they won’t even notice they’re learning about physics!
Camping Activities After the Rain:
Once it stops raining, you’ll want to get back to camping if you still have daylight hours left. Here are a few good things to do once the rain stops.
Look for Worms
Tiny Critter loves looking for worms and helping them get back to the grass. We have contests to see who can “save” the most worms.
Open the Windows in Your Tent
You’ll want some ventilation in your tent once the rain is over. Things inside a tent can get pretty humid quite quickly.
Opening the windows will help to prevent everything from feeling damp. Having good ventilation in your tent is important, even on non rainy days.
Start a Fire
Keep your wood in a dry spot, like under the picnic table for a light rain, or under an extra tarp or in the car for a harder rain storm. Having even a small amount of dry firewood will go a long way.
Then when the rain is done, you can start a good fire. Making S’mores in a gentle rain is a fun experience.
Change into Dry Clothes
If any of your clothes got wet in the rainy weather, be sure to hang wet clothes on a clothesline to start drying them out. I always pack extra clothes for this reason, as wearing wet clothes is always a miserable experience.
If you can, avoid wearing cotton clothes, because they take forever to dry. Many outdoor clothing companies make awesome quick dry clothes that wick moisture and are perfect for camping in.
We hope you don’t have to go camping in the rain, but if you do, be sure to use some of our camping activities for rainy days!
I’m Molly Foss, aka Momma Critter. I’ve been camping since I was 9 years old and I always wanted to be Robin Hood and live in the forest when I grew up. I’m excited to share my love of camping with my son as he grows up. My favorite thing to do while camping is roast marshmallows over the fire.