Top tips for camping in the rain with kids

Camping trips are fantastic family entertainment — but your holiday can feel like it’s fallen flat if the weather turns awful. Not to worry; even on soggy days, it’s possible for you all to have a fabulous time with plenty of memories that don’t require blazing sunshine. Rainy camping trips can be awesome all on their own – here are some tips on how you can achieve that.

Mother and daughter playing in the rain wearing colourful raincoats

Nearby attractions

First things first, check out what’s accessible nearby. Indoor attractions including museums and local leisure centres that you might have neglected for outdoor pursuits should be your target. Investigate child-friendly venues for entertainment: galleries, aquariums, theatres and local cafes might have fun activities to keep your kids fascinated, or you can do a tour of the best hot chocolate places in town to see which one’s gets top marks from the children.


Cosy up inside

Want to stay snuggly inside a tent? Camping with kids on a rainy day means dealing with lethargy and boredom, so bring a range of family-friendly games that appeal to all relevant ages. One pack of cards can do wonders — who can learn a card trick fastest? — but perennial favourites like Trivial Pursuit can also work wonders. If your kids are older, Lego is an excellent idea; compete to make the most ludicrous creation. Always make sure the pieces are all picked up though, so you don’t end up with one stuck in your foot.


Take to the tech

If you’re not tech-averse during camping trips, a portable DVD player with some old family favourites can be a good bet. Pop some popcorn, make a pretend ‘theatre’ inside your tent, go the whole hog. Books are also a good bet, particularly read-aloud ones where dramatic voices are necessary. Or just lie on your backs and ‘race’ raindrops down the side of the tent, with treats for the winner.


Father and son playing card game in their tent while it rains outside

Enjoy a game of cards whilst cosied up in your tent

Carry on regardless

Want to keep it close to the campsite? Rain shouldn’t impede you if you want to head outdoors; some landscapes look their best in drifting rain, like moors or spectacular coastline. Make sure everybody has wet weather gear — and that you have a waterproof map — before you set off on a hike or a walk. Stick to forests and places with natural cover if you’d like some relief from the rain. Find a cave? Make ‘cave paintings’ with wet hand prints.

Play Poohsticks, skim puddles with rocks (or just have a big splash) and generally make the most of the wet landscape. Collect leaves, give foraging a go, compete to see who can find the oddest rock, gather moss for homemade terrariums if you’re in an area that allows it, and go frog and newt-spotting; some animals positively love the rain.

Swimming in the rain can be fun too, as you’ll have some protection from midges and mosquitos. Pack extra rubbish bags, to keep towels and changes of clothing warm and dry when you exit the water. But, while finding a swimming spot can be great fun, don’t go near unclean or fast-flowing water (rain won’t make it more hygienic or safer) and stay well away during lightning storms.


Young girl splashing around in puddles on a muddy path, wearing wellington boots

Pack your wellies and go for a splash

Drying out

Make sure you have plenty of dry newspaper to help dry out wet socks and clothes, in preparation for the sparkling clean sunshine that’s surely coming. If you know there’s a strong likelihood of rain before you set out on your camping trip, it can be a good idea to pack an extra tarp, so you have somewhere to store kids’ shoes, food and other things that need to stay dry. With these tips and tricks, there’s no reason for a little inclement weather to rain on your parade.

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