Parents, before you pack up your motorhome, or you pick up your rented weekend rig, don’t forget to spend some time choosing some age-friendly activities to help entertain your kids while driving or hanging out inside of the RV. Family RV vacations are exciting, simply because it’s cool to travel in a house on wheels, but like every activity, there comes a time when the fun wears off, and kids want something else to do other than count license plates or play I, Spy. Parents, it’s possible to travel with kids in your RV without going crazy; all it takes is a little work on the front end of your trip. Before you know it, everyone, kids included, will have something fun to look forward to during moments of downtime during your RV trip.
How Do You Travel With Kids in an RV?
Traveling with kids in an RV isn’t much different than traveling with kids on an airplane, train, or car. Each method of travel requires kids to sit for an extended period without getting up and walking around. You’ll want to establish some rules for sitting and moving before pulling out of your driveway. Treat a driveable RV like a car, and require your kiddos to sit where they are safest using seat belts or car seats. By setting the ground rules before leaving on your journey, you eliminate the desire for kids to want to stand in front of an open refrigerator or dangle from a bunk bed while the motorhome is moving.
RVing With Kids: Establish a Plan
Like adults, kids want to know where they are going and how long it will take to get there. Unlike adults, kids don’t always have a concept of time, so what might seem like an hour to a kid may only be minutes in reality. Each day, before driving or heading outside for activities, share your itinerary with the family. Discuss everything from snack time to bathroom breaks, and tell everyone how long you think you’ll be driving. You can even post your itinerary with times and images, so everyone has something to look at to determine the passing of time.
Give your kids a bag or basket filled with activities and treats made especially for them, and allow each kiddo to contribute. By giving your kids choices before you start your drive, you’re allowing them to pick from items they’re vested in, and you eliminate an endless stream of rejection from the kids in the backseat. Kids need structure, and although you might be on vacation, a little structure goes a long way.
Activities for Family RV Vacations
To RV with kids, it’s essential to over plan rather than under plan and always stay one step ahead of your kids’ needs. If your family is like most families, you’d rather spend your days outside exploring and your nights socializing next to a campfire. RVing is all about quality time spent out in the fresh air, unplugged from day-to-day life, after all. But, as most RVers will tell you, there are times where being outside isn’t possible. For those times, we’ve come up with some conventional and not-so-conventional games and activities that will keep your family RV vacations running smoothly, even when you must stay indoors.
Loading up the RV with particular games or activities that you’ve set aside just for your family RV vacations is the key to keeping restless kids engaged. Deeming certain games as RV-only games can be the excitement equivalent of campfire s’ mores. Since RVs are generally small, and space is limited, choose compact travel versions of your favorite games, like Yahtzee National Parks, the Oregon Trail Card Game or small box card sets like UNO or Skip-Bo.
For games that require family interaction, print a list of characters from your kids’ favorite TV shows, movies, or books before leaving home, and then reference that list when assigning roles to play a human version of Guess Who? If your family gets tired of guessing characters, mix it up, and play charades with the titles of the TV shows, movies, and books you used to generate your character list.
Don’t forget to bring family favorites like Rummikub, Mexican Train Dominoes, or another game for national park lovers, America’s National Parks Memory. If you still want some ideas on how to have fun while you travel with kids in an RV, check out this article on the 50 Best Board Games of All Time to help you and the kids find a game that everyone will love.
Break out the Bu-Jo and the gel pens! Bullet journaling is a popular activity for older kids (and even adults) because it allows creative people the space to track everything from mood and physical activity to trip planning or bucket lists. Since bullet journals start with a blank dotted or lined notebook, each page’s design comes from the mind or heart of the person creating it. If you don’t know where to start, search through the thousands of resources on Pinterest or Youtube to gather ideas or a system for bullet journaling. If your family likes national parks, one cool way to display your national park stickers, stamps, and artifacts is by using a bullet journal. Create pages dedicated to each trip and construct a place where your kids can keep their travel memories.
Before heading out for your next RV trip, give your kids a chance to shop online or spend a little bit of time at a local bookstore to search for kid-friendly and age-appropriate activity books. Timeless activities like Mad Libs, crossword puzzles, word searches, mind games, sudoku, coloring, matching, and problem solving provide entertainment for kids of all ages. Allowing your kids to choose the activity book that suits their interests helps to ensure each child has something interesting to try along the journey.
Who says road trip activities have to lack educational value? Road trips are the best time to introduce kids to stories of adventure, tall tales, history, sports, fantasy, cultural topics, and much more because it’s easier to find time to sit and listen while riding in a car or RV. Whether you want to download a book for the whole family to listen to together or choose a different book for each child, applications like Audible make it simple to search for kid-friendly or family-friendly audiobooks. Audible isn’t the only audiobook application. For free audiobook downloads, check out the easy-to-use app, Libby, which connects you to your public library. Libby allows people to download available copies from home, so you don’t even have to go to the library. If you prefer short stories or stories to help soothe anxiety, introduce mindfulness, or help kiddos sleep, the Calm app has many options for downloading soothing sounds and narratives that relax the mind. If you are looking for kid-friendly Podcasts, check out Kids Listen, a resource designed to help families choose age-appropriate Podcasts that generate discussions, curate questioning, and build knowledge.
Newsela isn’t just a resource for teachers; parents who have reading-aged children can sign up for a parent account to help facilitate a safer and more structured way to present current events to children. Newsela is different from most news websites or applications because it’s designed to present topics relating to history, science, civics, current events, art, culture, sports, and much more to kids, appropriately. Many of the stories on the Newsela platform come from mainstream news organizations, but the staff at Newsela pull apart the content and publish the material according to reading level or age. The best part? The accompanying images and comprehension and extension questions help build grade-level reading skills and help generate discussions. A fun way to use Newsela is to either read the articles aloud to kids, or load the same article on everyone’s device, but scale the reading level for each reader. The whole family can read the same article and then use the questions to generate conversation or extend the topic further.
Ready for Some Family Fun?
The fun isn’t just in the destination but in the journey. Find the fun on the way with these kid-friendly activities that are sure to keep everyone smiling from the road to the RV park.