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How to Survive Camping in the Rain With Kids

Updated on September 9, 2014
Camping kids in a tent out of the rain
Camping kids in a tent out of the rain | Source

You Can Survive Camping in the Rain With Kids - Maybe

A camping trip with kids can be a great adventure. You plan for sunshine, exploring nature, bonding with the kids over delicious campfire meals and treats. But now what? Who ordered the rain?

It's no longer about the glories of nature, it's about surviving a tent or RV full of miserable, bored, complaining little, (or not so little), kids because it's raining too hard for them to be outside.

A short summer rain can even add to the adventure, but this is a deluge, an all-day downpour. Now what?

When rain or other bad weather confines the kids to a tent or RV - it can be a mild inconvenience or a tortuous ordeal - it all depend on how prepared you are.

You can do more than just survive, and save your sanity, you can be the hero of the day with a "Bad Weather Rainy Day Survival Kit" like the one discussed here

Loaded with rainy day camping activities for kids, this emergency pack could save your trip!

Games, Activities, and Patience

When experienced campers take kids camping, they recognize the truth in the Boy Scout motto: "Be Prepared!" (subconsciously they add the postscript - "or suffer!")

Kids love camping, they love the outdoors, the running and playing, the non-stop fun and activities. But, when the downpour starts, you have about 15 minutes before the moans of "I'm bored," or devious plans for mischief begin. That's when you need your survival kit of camping activities and camp games for kids.

It doesn't take much to occupy or entertain them. A deck of cards, box of Dominoes, or a checker set can be all it takes to survive the confinement of a crowded tent.

Colorful yellow and green backpack Graphic
Colorful yellow and green backpack Graphic | Source

Rainy Day Knapsack

It's easy to create your own "Rainy Day Survival Kit." Just pick up a small knapsack, (you can even use an old school book bag), and stuff it with these universally favorite camp games for kids.

But, remember it is a survival kit. So it's not for everyday use, and you must make sure you pack it for every camping trip. Then when bad weather hits - just pull it out and save the day with games and activities to keep the kids occupied until they can get outside again.

  • It could even be recommended that you never bring it out unless the kids are confined. If it becomes just another piece of camping gear, it becomes too easy for it's contents to be misplaced or left-out, so that the next time you really need it - it won't be there for you!

Note: All these games can be picked up very inexpensively at any Dollar Store for a buck, or two, each. Creating this survival kit could be the best $20 you ever spent.

(If you don't have a Dollar store nearby - there is a link to these items on Amazon at the bottom of this article)

Color graphics image of playing cards
Color graphics image of playing cards | Source

Some Favorite Camping Games For Kids

Cards - Whether it's regular playing cards, or branded games like UNO - card games are one of the easiest ways to get kids to forget their confinement.

  • Your knapsack should contain at least two decks of regular playing cards.(more for large groups of kids)
  • For variety you could also include a deck of UNO, or other game-specific cards for the older kids , and a deck of Old Maid or Go Fish cards for the younger ones.

Checkers game
Checkers game | Source

Checkers Game(s) - Another old favorite that's easy for kids of all ages to understand and play, (as long as the player's ages match). Checkers can get competitive too, so you could even suggest tournaments or series championships.

  • You should have at least one checkers game, but if you camp with more than three kids, it wouldn't hurt to have two sets. You will be surprised at the creative uses the kids will find for checkers - besides just playing the regular game, that is.

Row of Dominoes
Row of Dominoes | Source

Dominoes - Older camping kids might actually play the game of Dominoes, but for most kids it's the ultimate building-stacking-knock em' down game.

  • A box of Dominoes doesn't take up much space, and you should have at least two boxes of them. (usually 99 cents or so at the Dollar store, all you need is the cheap ones)

Important Cautions: Dominoes do have a couple drawbacks to consider. Depending on the age and temperament of your young campers you may want to think about these before you bring them out.

As mentioned - most kids use them to build things, or set-up knock-down rows, so beware that sometimes a little mischief, or even an innocent accident occurs and the younger kids might get upset if their creations are prematurely destroyed by other kids.

Also, Dominoes might need a little more flat free-space than is available in a tent full of kids.

Activities for Younger Campers

Moving beyond the games, here are some easy activity supplies that you should include in your knapsack for your younger campers.

graphics image of crayons
graphics image of crayons | Source

Crayons and Coloring Pages

Grab at least two boxes of crayons, and two coloring books.

But, the coloring books should be ones you can tear the pages out of, if needed. No need to set the stage for an argument between the kids when they each want the same coloring book. (or take the easy way out have have two of the same book)

*you can also print a few coloring pages from online sources and have them in the survival pack too.

You should also include a sketch pad for the more creative young artists. It could be a great source of "art" for your home collection of your kid's masterpieces.

Cups of Play-doh with form press
Cups of Play-doh with form press | Source


Good ol' Play Doh - Don't be surprised when you catch even the older camping kids playing with this one. Clean, easy, and inexpensive. What a great combination.

  • Important: Look for the multi-paks of smaller Play Doh containers. More variety, more to share, and less to waste.

composite image of rainy-day camping games
composite image of rainy-day camping games | Source

Create your own camping in the rain survival kit

Those were just the basic concepts of having a rainy day survival kit, and what to include. You can customize your own based on your knowledge of your kids, and what they like. The main point is that you should have one.

When considering what to include in your survival pack, remember where it will be used; in a cramped tent or RV somewhere in the woods - so try to avoid games with small pieces that are easily lost, like the little pegs or plastic dots you find in a lot of those "fold-up" plastic travel games.

You can see these and many more choices to create your own customized Rainy Day Sanity-Saver, plus resource links to get them online if you don't have any stores conveniently nearby, at:


About the Author

The author behind camping activities for kids and camp games for kids is Gus, from

Image credits: Unless specifically noted, all images are either: composite images created by GA Anderson, Amazon and/or ebay associates program product images, clipart and/or graphics images from GA Anderson's legally purchased image libraries, and/or images used under CC licenses with appropriate source credit links.

Camping Activities for Kids: A Bad Weather Survival Kit for Camping with Kids Comments

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    • Camping with Kids profile imageAUTHOR

      GA Andereson (Gus) 

      6 years ago from Maryland, USA

      @Rebecca Hurst - Thanks for reading Camping Activities for Kids: A Bad Weather Survival Kit for Camping with Kids, and I am glad you found the tips helpful

      but... because you included a non-hubpages promotional link, I was unable to approve your comment.


    • Camping with Kids profile imageAUTHOR

      GA Andereson (Gus) 

      7 years ago from Maryland, USA

      @Delores - Thanks for the comment.

      I learned to survive rainy camping the hard way - For my first year as a Scout Leader, I never needed a calendar to know when out camping weekends were - if it was raining - it must be a camping weekend.

      With an average of 15-20 boys of mixed ages, it didn't take me long to realize I needed to plan for rainy day activities.

      A few decks of playing cards usually did the trick as the card game "Slap-Jack" was very popular, and could keep them occupied for quite awhile.


    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I always dreaded a rainy camping trip. But with a pack of cards and a couple of books, we survived one rainy camping trip quite well. The rain moved on and we were treated to a super double rainbow as a reward for our patience!


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