It goes without saying that the weather can make or break a camping trip. We’ve been fortunate over the years and generally had fairly decent weather, but on our most recent trip to Black Moshannon it was quite the washout. It not only rained 75 percent of our trip, but we also had an awning mishap right before we left (more about that in a future post)–and our only other outdoor option was a non-waterproof screen house. It wasn’t long before we were going stir crazy with three kids and two large (wet!) dogs and wondering aloud whether we should just pack up and go home. But instead we found some ways to make the best of it.
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On the worst weather day, we piled in the van on a quest for adventure. We found a Goodwill store–which in the small town seemed like the most exciting place to scope out. For $1 each, we picked up a Disney character puzzle and a pop-up book about trains. (If our kids had been older, I think it would have been fun to give them each a couple dollars and see who could find the most entertaining items in the store to buy.) To assuage our appetite for adventure we detoured for ice cream–which makes any day a little sweeter–before heading back to the camper to have a puzzle tournament and story hour.
For those of you with TV and DVD systems in your camper, stormy days are the perfect excuse to pop some popcorn and put on a family movie. We always bring a few movies with us “just in case,” but even if you forget to do so, you could scope out a Redbox kiosk or raid the $5 movie bin at Walmart. Camping in a tent or pop-up? During our pop-up camping years we always packed a laptop computer that could play DVDs in the event of rain.
I also keep a stash of activities for the kids, such as coloring and activity books, paint with water books, a few containers of Play-Doh, card games like Old Maid and Go Fish, small puzzles, a giant search and find pad, and “busy books” like this Thomas & Friends one. (I plan to soon write up a separate post about the other kid-stuff we always have on hand in the camper.)
Other possible rainy day ideas could include:
- Go see a movie if there’s a nearby theater.
- Listen to audio books that your kids will find engaging. As a kid, I loved Adventures in Odyssey.
- If you are staying at a state park, they may have indoor programming at their park office; you can usually find schedules of events posted on bathrooms or stop in at the park office to ask.
- Tell your kids stories about things you did as a kid.
- Put on a shadow puppet show using your hands to make different creatures.
- Make paper dolls and clothes to go with them.
As I come across new ideas I’ll be pinning them to our “Rainy day rescue” board over on Pinterest, so be sure to “follow us” for more great ideas.