When we were preparing to take our boys on our first long RV trip, I found myself stressed out about their toys. Previously, we’d only gone camping for the weekend and the boys played mostly outside, with sticks and rocks, or with a few small things inside while we made breakfast. But on a 5 week trip, I knew we’d have days of bad weather or days when we were doing a quick overnight stop and wouldn’t have any outdoor space to play. And I knew they’d miss their toys being gone from home for that long.
But asking your kids to pack a bag of their favorite toys is asking for trouble when you have limited space to store it all. They’d want to bring everything! So I figured out my storage options first, and then asked them to fill the bins. We ended up bringing 3 plastic shoe boxes of toys, a small box of craft supplies, a magazine holder full of our thinnest books, and a beach tote bag full of outdoor toys. It was very pared down compared to what they have to play with at home, but our camper is very small and it worked out just fine.
Whether you’re a full time RV family or traveling part time with your kids in a camper, here is a list of great toys that are worth the space they’ll take up in your rig.
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Best Toys for RV Life
Matchbox Cars – Leave the playsets and ramps at home and just bring a bin of vehicles. A small tractor set or construction vehicle set would also be fun.
Dolls – Small dolls like Polly Pockets or a box of Barbie dolls would maximize space, but a larger doll like American Girl could also work with a single bin for clothes and accessories and a doll that lives in your child’s bed.
Picture Books – We love books, so it’s hard to leave most of our collection behind when we’re traveling. To maximize our book space (and weight!), we mostly bring thin paperback picture books. Golden Books and easy readers are great for this. One or two thicker books, like a short story collection or search & find book, could also be worth the space in the RV. We also try to bring educational books about nature, animals, national parks, or other locations we’ll be visiting.
Craft Supplies – Scissors, glue, washi tape, construction paper, stickers, playdough. You could let this category get elaborate and messy or keep it simple and streamlined.
Puzzles and Card Games – Unless your kids have a single favorite board game that they can play over and over, I’d recommend sticking to card games. See our storage tips below for how to maximize space with puzzles.
Tablet – For watching movies, reading ebooks, and listening to audiobooks or children’s podcasts.
Outdoor Toys for RV Life
Large Truck Toys – Dump trucks and bulldozers are favorites to play with at the campsite.
Beach Toys – But if your kids are like mine, you’ll need to keep these tucked away or they’ll start digging up every campsite you pull into.
Explorer Kit – This could be as simple as a pair of binoculars and a magnifying glass or a full kit with a utility vest and bug catching kit.
Bikes or Scooters – If you have school aged kids, these will probably get a lot of use.
Tips for RV Toy Storage
Now that you know what you want to bring, here are some RV toy storage ideas.
Stacking Shoe Boxes – These containers are a good size but still small enough that they don’t take up the entire cabinet, and having a lid on the toys is helpful.
Drawstring Play Mat – What a perfect way to store Legos! We don’t have this yet, but I have it in mind for a Christmas gift. I especially love the ones that come with a play mat design on them.
Metal Magazine Holders – Fill with coloring books, sticker sheets, and thin picture books.
Cargo Net – String a net up in the corner of your kid’s bunkbed to hold special lovies, dolls, or other large lightweight toys.
Zip Bags – Use zipping pencil cases or even just some ziploc bags to store puzzles and card games.
Cube Storage Bins – If you have room to store them, cube storage bins can hold just about any type of item and would transfer well from house to RV.
Whether you’re looking for gift ideas of toys for a full time RV family or you need part time RV life toys, I hope these suggestions were helpful to you!