Rain doesn’t have to ruin your camping trip. With proper planning and packing, you can still have a fun and memorable time. The tallest hurdle when it rains during your camping trip is occupying your kids’ time. Here are some suggestions of activities, as well as a few extra tips that will help you better manage the inclement weather and any change of plans.
Activities for Kids
Get outside. Yes, even in the rain! May as well as lean into the skid. If it’s a light rain, you can still put on the gear, pack the day pack, and go on a hike through the woods. Make it an adventure and invite your children to use their five senses to explore the rainy woods, or bring along a scavenger hunt for them to complete. Water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and swimming are not off the table, if it’s a warm enough rain. Fishing can also be at its best when it rains, and since fish don’t mind what’s happening above the water, you can still hook yourself a nice catch. Go visit one of Michigan’s 129 lighthouses and go rock hunting. For anything outside, make sure you have the appropriate rain gear and footwear, extra layers, and warm clothes to put on when you return. Lightweight gloves also help keep little hands warm. Kids find being out in the rain a refreshing and exhilarating change from the ordinary.
Create a playhouse. Depending on your RV’s type and size, you and your kids might already be in cramped quarters. If that’s the case, you can expand your livable space by either stretching out the awning in front of the RV or popping a tent at the campsite and using these spaces as playhouses. Bring some favorite toys from home or bring out the special toy bin that is only used for camping trips. Add a couple new items for added interest. Rain tends to slow everything down and encourages quieter, more imaginative play. Make sure you lay down a tarp underneath any tents to help keep it warmer and dryer.
Play a game. Kids love to play, and they want to play with you! Board games and the traditional set of cards are lightweight and easy to pack, and they can be lifesavers on a rainy day. Spend time teaching a new game, which could turn into an all-day thing if the kids enjoy it, or
Read. Toddlers will enjoy snuggling up and reading a book. Children ages five and up, even tweens and teens, may enjoy being read a chapter book aloud, allowing their imaginations to depict the story in their minds. Children who are old enough to read on their own can find a spot in the RV and read quietly to themselves. There’s nothing like a rainy day to slow life down enough to take in a good story.
Craft. Crafting is a fun and exploratory activity. It doesn’t need to be messy, either, but that’s completely up to you. Pack a kit or small bin with various crafting supplies, such as paper, paper plates, paper bags, glue sticks, cotton balls, markers, watercolor pencils, weaving loom, scissors, tape, etc. Allow the kids to put their creativity to use by coming up with their own ideas, or research a craft ahead of time if you know the weather is going to take a bad turn.
Visit local attractions and entertainment. Local Nature Centers are a good place to start, and they are usually free to visit. Kids can investigate the natural world through interactive or informative displays. Museums near your chosen campground can also offer you a refuge from rain showers, whether it’s an air museum, science museum, art museum, or more. Being near larger cities such as Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Detroit. Smaller communities usually have a small museum or two to offer, typically of local historical significance. As for entertainment, bowling alleys, arcades, indoor shopping malls, indoor swimming pools, and any other indoor diversions can help you and the kids break up a rainy day.
- It’s impossible to know what the weather will be when you make your site reservations, so check the weather forecast in the days leading up to your trip. This will help you better prepare and potentially alter your packing list. Personally, everybody needs to bring along rain gear, including footwear that is either waterproof or that doesn’t matter if it gets wet. Be sure to have a few extra cheap plastic ponchos around! Pack an extra storage bin for wet shoes to be placed, so that muddy and wet footprints don’t get all over the floor of your nice RV.
- Layers are your friend, especially in rainy weather. Pack extra layers that you and the kids can change into if you end up getting wet.
- When you are booking your campsite, look for a campground that will have amenities that can be utilized even if it rains. These amenities are included in your nightly rate. Some campgrounds have arcades, or host events such as family movie night or a crafting session or music.
- Good laundry facilities are a must-have for any camping trip, but especially ones where rain is in the forecast. Wet clothes can get stinky and moldy in a hurry, so if you can’t get them dry on a clothesline or by draping them somewhere inside the RV – such as a portable clothes rack, then you’ll need to stop by the laundry facilities to at least dry things out, if not run them through the entire cycle.
- Talk with older kids about rules for the rain prior to your trip, such as whether they will be allowed outside, where to store wet gear, packing extra layers, and where footwear goes when you return to camp. Managing expectations ahead of time can save a lot of frustration at the family campsite.