When you picture a perfect summer camp day, you probably imagine the sun shining and campers enjoying all sorts of fun outdoor activities. Of course, you also know that not every day will be picture perfect, which means planning summer camp rainy day activities is critical.
You may want the rain to go away, but as the old song goes, it will probably come back another day. Make sure you and your team have a contingency plan in place when the clouds roll in, and use these 12 summer camp rainy day activities to get started.
1. Interactive movie watching on a camp rainy day
Take movie day or night to the next level by adding a fun interactive game to it:
- Watch your chosen movie ahead of time and create a list of key moments and elements. These can be words, phrases, or actions that are repeated. Look for catchphrases, characters wearing specific colors of clothing, or classic movie moments like someone slipping on a banana peel.
- Write each of these elements on a large sheet of paper, and have the campers assign specific cheers or actions to each item on the list. For example, every time two characters give a high five, campers have to clap their hands three times. Write these corresponding actions next to each item on the list.
- Press play, and watch hilarity ensue.
This perfect summer camp rainy day activity means movie watching will never be the same.
2. Indoor relay races
As we highlight in this blog post about 27 fun summer activities, group activities that get kids moving are perfect for sunny days. That doesn’t mean you should let a rainstorm fool you into thinking that you can’t create just as much fun with relay races indoors. One of our favorite options is a dress up activity.
- Separate your campers into groups, and for each one place a cardboard box at the other side of your indoor space.
- Fill the box with a variety of items from your camp costume closet. The bigger the better, so you can make sure campers of all sizes can fit.
- The first camper runs to the box, puts on one item of clothing, and runs back to the group. There, they take off the item, and the next camper puts it on, before running to the box and adding a second item.
- As each camper completes their turn, the next in line has to add more and more clothing. The first team to have the last camper wearing every item from the box wins!
For more indoor relay race ideas, check out these suggestions.
3. YouTube karaoke
If you have a projector and screen, you have everything you need to host a karaoke party as a camp rainy day activity. You definitely don’t need a fancy machine or even microphones, thanks to endless karaoke-style videos on YouTube. You can pre-plan by creating a YouTube playlist of some kid-friendly songs, or choose from these existing lists:
Campers can volunteer to sing alone, in duos, or in groups. You can encourage cabins to choose songs to sing together, and counselors can perform as well.
Create flexibility for the performances for campers who might be too shy to sing in front of everyone else. Encourage them to be backup singers, dances, or air guitar soloists.
4. Indoor mini golf build and play
Mini golf doesn’t have to be reserved for courses outside, and building 18 holes can be a huge part of the indoor fun. Gather as many random supplies as you can from around camp, and divide your campers into small groups. However many groups you create, that’s how many holes your course will have.
Give each group some time to set up their hole, before everyone tries out the course firsthand. If you have a larger indoor space, hockey sticks and ping pong balls work great.
Having a smaller space just means you have to further miniaturize the game into mini-mini golf. Keep the premise the same, with small groups building different holes. This time, hand out popsicle sticks and marbles, and have the campers maneuver through the course using these tools.
5. Homemade ice cream in a bag
If you’re looking for an activity that combines learning a new skill, moving around, and dessert, look no further than making homemade ice cream in a bag.
As explained in these instructions, all you need are resealable plastic bags, half and half, vanilla, ice, and kosher salt. Have a counselor walk through the steps and then give campers the thumbs up to follow them on their own.
Once the ice cream is made, you can also offer campers a variety of toppings to create personalized sundaes.
We know not all campers can eat ice cream, but there are other make-your-own-food activities you can do indoors. Maybe instead of ice cream, you provide a variety of ingredients for campers to make their own trail mix.
6. Minute to Win it
So many successful camp activities involve adapting TV game shows, and Minute To Win It is a perfect one for rainy days. Fast and frenzied is the approach for this activity, where campers try to succeed at random activities in one-minute intervals. This list of 32 activities is an awesome place to start, and you can adapt any of these suggestions to use materials you have on hand.
What makes this activity particularly great for camp is that unlike other physical activities, you don’t need to be very athletic to be really great at these random tasks.
7. Rainy day trivia
We love trivia at camp so much that it made our list of 27 activities to spice up your summer camp, and our list of camp activities for kids with neuromuscular disorders.
You can stick with any categories you want, but since it’s a rainy day activity, why not make it about… you guessed it… RAIN! Use these random facts about rain to get you started.
8. Collaborative craft project
Arts and crafts are an obvious indoor activity, but making a collaborative project can bring your campers together and create a memorable piece of artwork to display around camp.
Give each camper a blank piece of paper, fabric, or canvas. It can be a square, a puzzle piece, or another shape. Give all campers time and supplies to design their pieces. You can give them a specific theme, such as why they love camp, or have it be totally up to them.
After the activity, gather all the different pieces, and attach them together. Depending on the material, you can stitch them together or glue them to a larger surface.
Once the final artwork is finished, hang it somewhere the campers can view it. They can spend time trying to find their own piece, find their friends’, or stand back to see how they all fit together.
9. Fishbowl game
What makes this game so great is that it’s actually more like three games in one. After you fill your fishbowl (or hat, or bucket) with clues, clue-givers take turns trying to get their teams to guess as many as possible.
This guide lays out all the instructions, and you can make a camp-specific version by requiring that all the words and phrases that are submitted relate to camp in some way
However you play, we can’t recommend enough that you add the hilarious fourth round where the clue-givers have to act out the words and phrases under a sheet or sleeping bag.
10. Finish the lyric
If you need a quick indoor game that requires little to no planning, this is a great option. You can play in teams, or with each camper individually.
You say or sing the first part of a song lyric, and the campers compete to see who can perfectly finish the line.
11. Pass the story or drawing
This activity is another one from our earlier list of 27 camp activities to spice up your summer, and it’s a great rainy day option as well.
If you take the story approach, each camper writes two lines of a story, leaving space between them. Then they fold the paper so only the second sentence is visible. The papers pass among campers, with each adding a new sentence based only on the one they can read, and then folding over the previous one. Once all campers have had the chance to add to the story, the papers are unfolded and read aloud.
You can do this with drawings as well. The first group of campers is instructed to draw a person or animal, but just the head and neck. Then they fold the paper so only the bottom edge can be seen. The next group adds the torso, again folding the paper so only the tiniest edge is visible. The final group adds legs, tails, wheels, etc., to finish the image. Then, each paper is unfolded to see what amazing collaborative creature was created.
12. Card houses, domino designs, and marble runs
No matter which material you choose, the concept is the same. Playing card houses, falling domino designs, or recycled material marble runs are all about trial and error. These can also be individual or small group activities.
Campers can try to recreate camp buildings using playing cards, they can make creative designs with dominos, or they can use cardboard and other materials to make long and winding pathways for marbles.
While there’s joy in the finished product, the effort to create and recreate is actually where the real fun lies.
Keep campers smiling with these summer camp rainy day activities
Camp activities are about creating fun in the moment, and leaving campers with happy memories. Of course they’ll look back on all the outdoor events with smiles, but rainy days can be just as magical.
For camp staff, rainy days are an opportunity to think on your feet and be creative. For campers, rainy days can highlight new skills and create connections with each other in quieter moments.
Taking refuge from a cloudy day is just another opportunity to show that nothing can dampen the camp spirit. Not even a downpour.