Family Fun: How to Camp With Kids 21042

Ready to share your love of camping with your children or grandchildren?

A little forethought and some planning can go a long way in ensuring a drama-free trip.

As one of the most affordable ways to travel as a family, RVing makes an ideal family vacation. Save money, time, and stress by taking your accommodations with you wherever you may go. RVing and road tripping represents freedom, family time, and real-life learning.

Whether you live in an RV  full time, or use an RV as a convenient family getaway, these tips will help the whole family travel better as a pack.

Ease Into It

Start with short excursions.

You may even want to practice in the driveway and have a little front yard sleepover or a backyard party in your RV. This will let the whole family try out their sleeping arrangements with the option to run inside for another pillow or blanket if needed.

Consider taking your first weekend stay at a local city or county campground. This approach will help you gain familiarity with your RV and to create the essential items packing list while you’re close enough to run home for anything you may have forgotten.Once you’ve mastered your RV and have stocked it with the essentials, you can work your way up to longer trips that are further away.

Take it slow

Start your mornings like you would at home. Maybe that means sipping coffee as the sun rises while the rest of the family stirs out of bed.

At the same time, take advantage of the unique surroundings. It’s not everyday your kids get the opportunity to climb a mountain, swim in the ocean, or see wildlife in their natural habitat. Use these unique moments to educate and create memories. It’s these special experiences your kids will tell their kids as they grow older.

Image: Shutterstock

Location, Location, Location

Selecting the type of adventure that suits your family’s personality best will help make your RV vacation more memorable for everyone.

There are so many different types of campgrounds, from destination resorts to rustic state parks. To choose the one best for your family, think about the type of activities you and your kids enjoy.

Questions to ask When Planning a Family Trip

  • Does your family enjoy lazy days around the swimming pool?
  • Will your kids prefer hiking and biking?
  • Are you nature lovers that love wildlife?
  • Do you want to visit theme parks and museums and roadschool remotely?

Create a list of options and get the kids involved. Allowing them to vote on amenities or activities is a good way to create a sense of excitement for the trip.

Biking with the family. Image by Tyler Cave.
Biking with the Hambricks. Image by Tyler Cave.

Friends Make Camping More Fun

Consider traveling with other families. If you don’t know any others who enjoy RV travel, look for a campground that has scheduled activities for children. This will provide opportunities for your kids to enjoy time with others their own age.

Campgrounds with recreation rooms, crafts, and games can also come in handy in case of bad weather. A little rain won’t ruin the vacation if the kids don’t have to be cooped up inside your RV.

Group of kids walk one after another over big log in the forest during nature orientation summer school trip game (Group of kids walk one after another over big log in the forest during nature orientation summer school trip game

Bring a Little Bit of Home

Some kids, especially younger campers, will feel more comfortable having something that reminds them of home. Let them bring some of their favorite toys so the campsite doesn’t feel entirely foreign to them.

Don’t forget how times have changed. While most parents dream of simpler days sitting around the glow of a campfire, not the glow of the iPhone screen, your teens may disagree. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You may allow them to bring a cell phone or tablet for a little screen time after the marshmallow roast.

Balance is key. Everything in moderation. Emphasize focused time with family, while also allowing time for personal space and relaxation, be that playing video games or watching a favorite show.

Pack outdoor games in your RV storage compartments to kids and family have options for games to play. Or, string up a projector a

A van in the √Öland archipelago, Finland. Vanlife.

Plan for Kid-Friendly Food

Campfire or outdoor cooking is such a traditional part of the camping experience. Reduce the chance of forgetting the s’mores ingredients with a little meal planning. This is another great opportunity to let the whole family get involved by letting your children pick out some special snacks. Older kids may even want to plan the meals for a day.

Either way, be sure to include things your family will enjoy eating but aren’t too difficult to prepare in your RV kitchen. In fact, a little prep time at home will make the whole trip smoother. Make batches of your own custom trail mix, and stock up the pantry with simple one-pot meals and easy breakfasts like oatmeal or eggs.

hot dogs and chicken on a grill
Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Don’t Forget the Drive

You know the saying, getting there is half the fun. This wasn’t always the case with our three sons sitting in close proximity in the back seat of our truck for hours on end. After a few trips, we quickly learned a few activities that made the ride a little more enjoyable.

  • Audiobooks – Depending on the ages of your children, audiobooks can be a fun way to get the whole family involved. We listened to all the Harry Potter books with our boys. They enjoyed them so much, that we graduated to Lord of the Rings when they were older. Find a series your crew can enjoy and the hours will pass much more quickly.
  • iPad/Tablets – Most children have tablets or iPads these days. They can be a good alternative for shorter periods of time to watch movies or play video games during the drive.
  • Play “No Tech” Games – Try some games from your youth like I Spy or the license plate game. One of our family favorites when our boys were a little older was a game we called, “Would you rather?” You simply take turns asking questions like: Would you rather never eat your favorite five foods again or ONLY eat your favorite five foods for the rest of your life? You can buy a pack of cards with questions, or just let your family’s imagination drive the game where you take turns making up the questions.

Man driving on a road in the Camper Van RV. Caravan car Vacation. Family vacation travel, holiday trip in motorhome

Hopefully, this helps make taking kids on your next camping adventure a blast!


Have any tips or suggestions? Leave a comment below. 

How to camp with kids

Julie and her husband Sean started traveling in their RV full-time 4 years ago after they each served 20 years in the US Air Force. Having lived in more than 10 states and 4 countries, the Chickerys decided it was time to enjoy the rest of the United States. They manage Chickery’s Travels, an educational and inspirational blog and YouTube channel aimed at helping people realize their full-time travel dreams.

3 Comments

  1. Very good & brief article for 1 st. Time rv. Clients all beginners should read as I will show it to our daughter & son in law for a new start of being with our 2 grandsons

  2. excellent advice. I wish that my dealer with my first rv had given me that advice. I have been traveling for a number of years now, and learned the things to carry with me. Your advice should be heeded.

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