Rainy days and camping with children
Rainy weather when camping with kids is every parent’s worst nightmare, but camping with children in wet weather doesn’t have to be stressful.
But with a bit of preparation, and a plan B (and C!) you should be able to brave the weather and have a lovely time. T
here are a few things to keep in mind when camping in the rain. Most importantly, make sure your tent is watertight. Once you’ve ensured that you’ll stay dry, it will be the perfect place to play games and watch movies with the kids, and to return to after you take walks in the rain or trips to the swimming pool.
Pack with rain in mind!
Be sure to check the weather forecast repeatedly before you leave.
Even if you see a small chance of rain, pack for wet weather just in case- you don’t want to get caught out!
Waterproofs are a must, so bring along a waterproof jacket and even trousers for each kid. I would also recommend bringing wellies so the kids can run around in the mud and not get damp feet! The last thing you want is to be drying out shoes in your tent in the pouring rain.
One of the most important things to bring is lots and lots of extra socks. Then, even if some get wet, you’ll always have toasty dry feet.
If you’re packing for rainy weather, you could also consider buying a bigger tent so you have the space for the family to spend more time in it without going stir crazy.
You could also let your teenagers or older kids bring their own tents, so that they can get a bit of privacy and alone time away from energetic younger siblings.
Keeping the tent dry is key
Arguably the most important thing for a successful camping trip in the rain is to ensure that your tent doesn’t leak.
Check that it is fully waterproof by using a hose in the garden or park before you leave.
If you have an older tent, and the seams or patches have become less waterproof over time, you can buy spray that will add a layer of waterproof protection.
Make sure that none of your bags touch the inside sides of the tent, as it’s the gap between the inner and outer layer that keep the inside of the tent dry.
Always try to pitch your tent on higher ground, as water will drain downhill. If the rain is really torrential, you are more likely to get leaks from the bottom of the tent than the top. To try and prevent this, place a tarp underneath your tent, making sure all the edges are tucked into your groundsheet.
For loads more practical tips on keeping dry when camping, check out our blog here.
Playing games in the tent
A great way to keep kids occupied (and dry) is to have a few games they’ll enjoy playing in the tent.
Bring some of your favourite boardgames or branch out and learn how to play a new one.
Make sure to bring a pack of cards, it’s a no-brainer as they pack up so small. There are almost limitless options for card games you can play with your family.
Cards are also great because you can play with virtually any amount of people.
If you’re stuck on what to play, Spit is a great fast-paced two-person game.
We also really enjoy racing demon for a bigger group (although you need a different pack of cards for each person for this one).
Try to find games with magnetic pieces, to avoid losing any when you play at the campsite.
A family favourite of mine is mankala, which is great fun for both kids and adults, so is perfect for a family trip. For more ideas, check out how to entertain children when camping.
Bring an arts and craft bag for your kids packed with pens, pencils, crayons and paper of all colours. This is a great way to occupy them without parents having to get involved – they can make some art while you have a rest or read your book.
More active games to play
When the kids get more restless and start requesting screen-time or complain that they’re bored, having some more energetic games to play in the tent is a must.
Charades is great fun. We always find that the funniest moments happen when someone chooses ‘whole film/book/tv show’ and has to single-handedly (silently) act out the plot of their chosen show or book!
You could also organise a talent show. People can sing, act, perform magic or comedy- whatever they think will win! Then get an (obviously impartial) judge to decide who has the most ‘talent’.
Or go for all-round draw if you’d rather prevent a fall-out.
If the kids have a big tent to themselves and a lot of space, then one of my favourite games to play as a kid was slug wars. Everyone gets into sleeping bags and fights! Given the cushioning of the sleeping bags, this game is actually fairly safe, and is a fantastic way to stop kids from going too stir-crazy when they’re stuck in the tent.
Rainy weather is the perfect excuse for a movie-night
Download films on a computer or iPad before you leave, so that you can watch movies without having to worry about campsite Wi-Fi or using up data.
Be sure to bring lots of portable chargers with you so that your device doesn’t cut out midway through the movie.
For tips on how to set up a projector for a more cinema-like experience, and some film recommendations for camping, check out my blog rainy day games and movies in the tent.
Bring a canopy
A shelter, or tent with a porch is a must so that you can sit outside and experience the incredible weather, whilst still staying dry. You can also cook and eat underneath it (remember never to set a fire or light a camping stove in an enclosed space like a tent).
Why not also position your camping chairs under the canopy so the family can sit around and chat. You can also make hot chocolates and sip them from the dry safety of your shelter, while you listen to the calming patter of raindrops on the roof!
Going out on walks
Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean you can’t go out and explore the countryside surrounding you. Kit out the whole family with waterproofs and wellies, and venture out on a walk.
You could also plan to end up at a pub at the end or mid-way through your walk to help motivate tired kids. You’ll find everyone is a lot more eager to go on a rainy walk when a pub meal is involved!
Another great rainy camping activity for children is a trip to a nearby leisure centre or better still, try and find an indoor waterpark. It ticks all the boxes for a great outing as the kids can get some exercise splashing about in the pool, and you can all have long hot showers in the changing room.
I hope that some of these tips will help you to make the most of rainy weather on your camping trip.
There is no need to dread rain when camping, even if you’re camping for the first time. It only takes a bit more preparation, and some of my favourite camping memories as a child were made when it was raining.
Here’s me signing out and thank you so much for reading.