Rainy days are fun and all, but if it’s cold, and your kids aren’t really old enough to enjoy it… well, it’s not quite so fun after all! It’s then even more important to be prepared for that inevitable rainy day while you’re camping!
Being honest, we all know that tablets, tvs etc are an option. And I’m definitely not afraid to admit that we have used them for wind down time and such, but it’s nice to keep that special so that it actually holds their attention when you really need it!
Here are some of my favorite rainy day activities for camping (and they all fit in a super small grocery sized bag – check out the link below to see what I usually bring!)
Related: What I bring in my camping craft pack so I can do a TON of crafts (if needed!) while camping
Here’s what we’ll go over for good rainy day indoor kids camping activities:
- Coloring (especially fun camping themed papers!)
- Play Camping BINGO (or modify it to a matching game)
- Play doh for nature creations
- Fill in Watercolor Books
- Read Camping books
- Dab a Dot Activities
- Decorate some rocks
- Make a campsite sign
- Have special camping only toys
- Make a necklace
- Have karaoke night with some camping songs
- Window crayons or window stickies for creative play
- Build a fort with blankets in the bunks or under the table
- Animal Hunt in the camper or tent
- Play a camp themed board game
- Have an elaborate movie night
I wanted to let you know that I am an Amazon and Etsy affiliate and will get a very small cut if you purchase anything through these links. But these items are all awesome so don’t worry! More info about this is here
1. Do some Dab a Dot activities!
If you have never heard of dab a dots, they’re those bingo dabbers you’ve probably seen used strictly for BINGO games. However, it ends up they’re quite useful as a less messy way to paint!
Because I like to make everything camping extra special with the kids, I created a couple of my own with woodland animals!
(P.S. Do you want the activity pages I use in this article?)
You just saw the Do-a-Dot Bear activity page above, but did you know I made 8 more camping themed pages! PLUS 4 camp scene coloring pages too?
Get your own copy below! It includes
- Bear, bird, moose, raccoon, flashlight, campfire, tent, “I LOVE CAMPING” Do-A-Dot Designs
- 4 coloring scenes, including one perfect for cutting out and making your own camp scene!
2. Play Camping BINGO
If you’re all stuck in the camper, you might as well play a game! BINGO has always been a favorite game of mine, and it is small to store!
Simply print out some bingo cards and cut out the squares from a spare card to be your “calling card”.
If you have little kiddos, use it more like a matching game instead! Simply take all the cut out pieces, put them in a baggy, and let your child pick one at a time and match. Up the fun by giving them a glue stick so that they can glue the match in place!
Here are some great camping BINGO cards!
3. Make Playdoh houses, people and animals with items from nature!
If it’s raining out, grab a small bin and run outside to collect some nature decor – sticks, leaves, pine cones, flowers and rocks are the best!
Then try to build animals out of them (we love making pinecone hedgehogs!) or buildings! Play doh makes great building material and it’s a great way to get creative with nature while not actually being in it.
Check out some more play doh nature building ideas here!
4. Get some water activated coloring books!
Melissa and Doug make a TON of absolutely wonderful water activated coloring books! Even my 20 month olds can use these!
Best of all, they are reusable and don’t neccessarrily need the special brush it comes with (my kids just end up using wet fingers as brushes often times!)
I really love these books for camping because they are so mess free!
Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Travel Activity Pad
- Tons of option -Letters, numbers, animals, cars, makeup, princesses, occupations – there are MANY kinds of these water color books!
- Reusable – they can even endure very rough coloring!
- No special brush needed – Even though it comes with a brush, you can just have the kids dab their finger in a shallow bowl of water and it works fine!
5. Read some camping books
I’m always one to think that if I can’t be actively doing said activity (making s’mores, hiking, exploring etc) then I want to read about it! Camping books keep the mood fun even if the kids are too little, or it’s just plain too miserable to go outside in the rain!
Check out my full list of camping books for kids here!
Coloring is definitely the easiest thing to do! My kids are at the age where they more just scribble, but it still keeps them busy! If your kids are older and like to color, here are some fun camping themed coloring pages!
7. Decorate Rocks
I don’t know about you, but I have a whole collection of “cool” rocks that I have found through various camping and hiking expeditions! And if you have kids like mine who also come back in the camper with a pocket full of rocks, you’re in luck!
Grab some markers, glitter, pipe cleaners – whatever you have – and decorate them! It’s especially fun for the rocks that are shaped like something the kids recognize because then they can decorate it similarly!
8. Make a campsite sign
Down time in the tent or camper because of rain doesn’t have to mean you can’t do things for your campsite. We love to make a new campsite sign for especially fun places we go using the items we find around camp!
For little kids who aren’t good with glue yet, it might be easiest to get a bowl of outside goodies and put some glue down on the paper for them to fill in!
Make sure to write their name(s) on the sign!
9. Have special “camping only” toys
This is one of the tricks up my sleeve! I actually hide these toys during the day, or times we don’t need them, so that when we take them out they are VERY special!
You don’t even have to buy anything super cool – ours tend to come from the happy meals from fast food places we inevitably stop at during our travels.
However, if you DO want to go all out, there are definitely some pretty awesome camping themed toys for kids out there!
10. Make a nature camping necklace
I always bring yarn for this reason! Though the necklaces may not be much by our standards, a simple pinecone your kiddo found tied to a necklace can be pretty magical!
If you find stout leaves, or big flowers you can also tie those in as well!
Related: Camping clay DIY necklaces for kids!
11. Sing some fun camping themed songs!
If we can’t actually camp, I really try to make everything possible camp themed. For us, that includes some fun camping songs we can all sing together!
This set of printable camping songs is especially perfect for younger kids as some classics have been modified to have a camping theme (IE Molly Had A Big Red Tent to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)
12. Bring some window stickers for imaginative play in the camper
Even if you don’t have a window, you could always use a camp table, cooler or such! Alot of our windows have a screen so I like to use our table for the window stickies!
We have a set from Easter we reuse, but there are alot of options that will be perfect for your kiddo!
13. Build a fort or bear cave in the RV!
This is easiest in the RV because of the bunks and table, but even if you are in a tent, you might have room to make one with a cooler and a chair!
14. Go on an animal hunt in the tent!
Find a favorite stuffed animal or toy and hide it while your kiddo counts to 10! Cramped spaces make it a bit hard for two people to play, but there are infinitely more spaces to hide for something that’s only 6 inches tall!
15. Play a camp themed board game
If your child is old enough to play a game, this is probably my favorite way to pass the time!
I always liked camping because it sort of forces everyone to be together, and if you have no cell service (which as an adult, sometimes feels like a blessing and a curse at the same time) it REALLY forces everyone to find entertainment with eachother!
We love our board game “Roll a S’more” because it’s something he can actually play – it practices matching, turn taking, and best of all… it’s about s’mores!
As kids get older, there will obviously be a ton more they can play (ever walk down the game aisle? It’s overwhelming… but exciting!) but if you have little ones like me, you might enjoy the game as well!
16. Have an elaborate movie night!
So I saved this one for last beacuse I know you’re probably here looking for SCREEN FREE activities… but if nothing else is working, it’s still important to have a good time “camping” even if the weather is awful! Especially when they’re young and one bad camp trip can make them dread anymore for the next 3 months!
Pick up some popcorn, bring a favorite movie (if using a phone or tablet, I highly suggest downloading some favorites ahead of time just in case you don’t have service!) and sit down together to watch!
Get in those comfy pjs, have some treats, and laugh together to forget the “ruined” plans outside!
Do you feel prepared to camp in the rain with the kids now?
It does get easier to play in the rain when the kids are older, but perhaps you are a “fair weather camper” as my friend recently put it (this article was actually inspired by her recent 7 day RV trip with two little kiddos!).
I know I certainly prefer warmth and comfort if I have the option!
P.S. Leave your great indoor camping ideas in the comments!!
You might also be interested in these kid camping articles too!
- If you have a baby, find out the baby camping gear you need to have a fun camp trip… with WAY less crying!
- Check out these easy ways to keep babies entertained (and if needed… contained!) while camping!
- If you are concerned about sleep while RV/camper camping, you may want to check out my guides on toddler sleep while RV camping or baby sleep while RV camping,
- For my tent camping families – check out the #1 sleeping bag for your camping baby + awesome tent sleep tips
- How to find a safe but fun campground for your toddler!
- This kids camping packing list and tips to make sure you bring enough (but not the whole house!)