The first couple weekends we went camping, we were so focused on making sure that we had all the RV gear, the gadgets, and all kitchen and toiletry items to make it a successful weekend that we totally neglected the fun, RV friendly toddler items. We did have a few things laying around the house that we packed and did purchase a few items for our first 4 day long trip. Some of those items definitely proved to be SOOOO not for RV living. As we are finding out with some, if not most items for #rvlife, what seems to be good for a house doesn’t always make it easy to travel with. Between having to pack and unpack the RV, cook inside in a small space or outside by an open flame, being in familiar places and not so familiar, sometimes parents need a moment where their toddler can safely play independently at an RV campground. I found that we need this the most when we are parked 15 feet from a lake water- I always worry she will try to go swimming so entertaining activities are important! So… I have compiled a list of top activities that our toddler loves (and one we will try!) that keeps her entertained for hours with or without us at our campsite!
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This portable bag of beach toys from Amazon contains just about all the beach toys we have collected over the past 2 years for our daughter in one bag. We don’t have this particular one from Amazon but it makes me wish we had just gotten this one right from the start. This one has everything you need to keep your toddler happy and entertained for a while no matter if you are at the beach, lake, or just near sand, dirt or rocks! Our toddler loves to use the pail to fill with water or sand, the shovels to dig just about everywhere, and her favorite is the watering can! This one from Amazon has great reviews and comes with all of the items a toddler will love. Pair this with the collapsible kiddie pool shown below and have yourself hours of imaginary play!
The first time we went camping I made the mistake of buying a $9 Walmart special blow up kiddie pool to take with us to the lake. I thought it would be the greatest thing ever for my 2 year old- and it was while it was blown up and stationary…HOWEVER… it was painful to take the air out of it. Needless to say that pool only lasted for 1 trip. Not super RV travel friendly.
Finally! I came across this collapsible kiddie pool from Amazon. It is downright AMAZING! No blowing up and no letting the air out. It is super stable and super durable. Go ahead and set this up on an RV pad made of rocks or stones. No leaks or scratches in this one! My daughter even likes to bring her beach toys in this pool. This thing has kept her entertained for hours on campsites without direct water access or just while we are cooking, cleaning, or unpacking. This pool comes in multiple sizes based on your needs and is advertised for pets as well!
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We got to use this Shakespeare Catch and Fish Combo Rod and Starter Fishing Kit on our recent trip and not only did my toddler love to sit there and reel the line in, but it also kept my husband entertained for hours too!…Woohoo BONUS! We have no idea what we are doing when it comes to fishing but this one is awesome because it comes with everything you need as a beginner. The rod is already set up with fishing line and the kit comes with all kinds of tackle. Amazon has different kits depending on what kind of fishing you are doing but we would recommend the Ladyfish or Lake/Pond. They do offer a Youth kit with a smaller rod, but our toddler was able to reel the adult one in pretty well. It is great to get them fine tuning their motor skills with movement like reeling the line in. These kits are perfect for small time fishing at a pond or lake first starting out. Amazon is selling this one right now for $29.99 which is cheaper than the special Cabela’s was offering at the time of our purchase! Note to self… always check Amazon!
4. Coloring Books, Crayons, Colored Pencils
Coloring books are seriously the best invention ever for keeping toddlers happy and content. My daughter always asks to color while we are at the campground…actually…she just always asks to color anywhere we are! She pretty much knows at this point that electronics are off limits majority of the day at our site, so coloring it is! Coloring is great for a rainy day, keeping busy while the adults pack or unpack, or while we cook. We have a stack of coloring books from the dollar store and some of these Crayola Color and Sticker Themed Books below for whatever character your child is into. They have Disney Princess, Dory, Paw Patrol, Hello Kitty, Frozen among the ones to choose from on Amazon. During back to school season we stocked up on colored pencils, washable markers (definitely make sure they are washable!!), and crayons for pretty cheap. I found a similar collection of all these Crayola items on Amazon at a really great price so no need to wait till BTS season! We keep everything in large pencil box like this one. All coloring books and that pencil case goes into a tote that stays in our coat closet. On camping weekends that tote goes right into the camper for our weekend and comes right back out so she can use it for the week.
5. Rock painting
If you are at all crafty, I know you mom’s out there must have some craft store paints laying around somewhere. Bring those bad boys on your next camping trip and keep your toddlers entertained and happy! If you don’t have any paints in your arsenal, try this paint set or this Crayola set. Grab some newspaper and an extra T-Shirt for your toddler (this can get messy!) to store with those paints. I think half the fun might just be finding the perfect rocks around the RV campground to paint!
Although we really try to limit any electronics at all at home or on the road, iPads are another tool we use not only to keep her entertained, but also for educational purposes. I am already hearing some moms in the background mumbling and grumbling about this being on the list and I hear ya… but for us and our situation, this works. Most of the time we only bring this out when we are cooking or driving. In our GeoPro, we have limited amount of space near our kitchen. We try to keep her on our bed while we are using the stove or while the knives are out prepping on the dining table we have. We do limit use time per day but for a few reasons this iPad is on our list:
1.Dance time! Time to get those sillies out! We play music on our iPad through Pandora or YouTube. Best part for kids is they get to control what we listen to! Yay for parents…we get to listen to “Baby Shark” on repeat 45 times over! In all seriousness, when there is little to do kids get wound up being in such a small camper like ours that they need to get the wiggles out somehow!
2.Educational apps– these are particularly helpful for us since our daughter was diagnosed with being behind in speech. I firmly believe these apps have helped along the way. A few of her favorites are “Toddlers Farm Animals”, “Elmo Loves ABCs Lite”, and “First Words for Baby”. Books are super helpful and we have a ton of them, however, we aren’t traveling around with her 50+ books. These apps not only show pictures, they also associate sounds with the pictures. These apps are also great because most don’t need Wi-Fi. On longer travel days when she isn’t napping, she can play with these apps since they don’t need Wi-Fi to work.
3.Exercise! This is my favorite one! I told you iPads for us are not just a “sit there and stare” kind of electronic for our family! We have a subscription to Beachbody on Demand so we can workout wherever and whenever. My daughter loves to workout with us and also turns on this app all on her own. She gets up to do yoga or to jump alongside Autumn Calabrese because she just thinks it’s the greatest thing ever!
I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to try some fun new things with your toddler!
What are your favorite toddler activities when you go camping or stay at an RV campground?
Comment below to add some other ideas!
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