Bring On The Adventure

Later this month we, these five kids + me + Aaron, are heading out on an adventure in a RV for Spring Break. 

The photo you see above was our first all-together adventure over two years ago - everyone is quite a bit taller and smarter and sillier and better acquainted. 

We decided, this being our first RV outing, to not go too far. We'll be keeping it within Oregon and hitting up two different state parks on the coast. We've got our spots reserved and have started thinking about meals and snacks and activities. 

Having new experiences is one of my love languages and this has been one we've been talking about for awhile. 

So in the spirit of planning and thinking ahead and organizing and wanting to have some good ideas in place before we head out, I'd love to hear any ideas or tips you might have for traveling with kids in a RV. 

Menu ideas? Craft ideas? Games? Scheduling the day?

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81 thoughts

  1. melissachlon says…
    03/10/2015

    I have a 5 year old and a one year old...a few suggestions:
    -food... aluminum foil food packets to let them make their own pouch. Let them help you prep food before you go. We like to make muffins the night before we leave. I would also cut veggie up and put in a plastic bag. ((Don't forget to double bag items that will going in the cooler)).
    -Activities... crazy as it sounds my daughter was content with a bucket and a flashlight. She loved to explore and find 'treasures'. I think she would love her own camera. Night time is the hardest part. She gets bored but normally goes to bed early since she is so tired from the day. On occasion I have created an 'adventure bag' with books, coloring books and other cheap stuff from the dollar store.
    -Scheduling... start early. Everyone will be up early with 7 people in the camper :) Early to rise early to bed.
    -Sleeping...everyone bring your favorite pillow and blanket.

    Wow that is one big jumble of a comment, sorry :)

    My biggest suggestions.... go with the flow! ENJOY!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. melissachlon says…
      03/10/2015

      OH and don't forget a strand or two of lights for under the canopy. Great to play cards under... Who doesn't like twinkle lights right?

  2. Hoguec says…
    03/10/2015

    -self serve snacks like portions already in zip baggies or purchased that way.
    -books or a movie no one has read or seen. Or a new board game.
    -alone or quiet zone/time
    -I'm all about minimal cleanup when camping. Love foil pouch meals. Or Dutch oven meals. And meals with no cooking like sandwiches are just fine.

    Sounds like fun. Safe travels. Looking forward to the recap.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. KellyMinMN says…
    03/10/2015

    Mexican Train Dominoes and Yahtzee are favorite games with my kids. Bring handy wipes for non-sink hand cleaning, a small broom and dustpan because dirt will come inside (we use a shoe bin at the door so we aren't tripping over them), an electric skillet for pancakes, etc. so your stove isn't too crowded when cooking for an army. Pre-wash your fruit, get some little pie pans for building your own personal pizzas/grilled cheese/ham sandwiches or for fruit pies if you can, s'mores are a must! I made myself a camping checklist if you're interested, I could email it. I also give my kids each a list of what to pack so we don't forget much. HAVE FUN!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. hhaight says…
    03/10/2015

    My family and I just moved to Oregon from Colorado......I would love to hear about exiting places to take the kids. We have been exploring when ever possible. Thanks! :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. cam629 says…
      03/10/2015

      My family just moved from Oregon to Colorado! :)

  5. Jenwright says…
    03/10/2015

    Oh this sounds like so much fun!!! I have some pins you might check-out that we use during the summer whether we are at home, camping in backyard or away from home. I can't wait to see what you all do!
    https://www.pinterest.com/JenWrightDesign/camping/

    One of our favorite traditions (and we only do this on vacation to keep it special) is Taco Bags. Doritos and dump in taco fixings (meat mixtures, cheese, sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa). It is great on the beach!! We make a cooler bag with zippies of each ingredient and everyone grabs a doritos individual bag and fork.

    The Cinnamon rolls in the orange shells are so delicious (in my pinterest camping board), its a must-try plus taking sugar cones and making smores in them. They worked so great!! You can do butterscotch, peanut butter or chocolate chips!

    ENJOY!! Hugs!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. dontcallmebecky says…
    03/10/2015

    A fun meal/dessert for camping is using these sandwich makers (http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=campfire+sandwich+maker&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=43647089369&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=14341533643098610909&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_5cvcoxfosw_b).

    Stuff it with buttered bread and then fill the bread with your favorite things: cheese or pie filling or s'more ingredients, etc.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. kristapowell says…
    03/10/2015

    the kids always seem to keep busy during the day - I agree simple accessories like buckets, shovels, will keep them happy. Glow sticks & flashlights keep them busy at night (flashlight tag). We usually go to bed early too. First aid kit. Extra dry socks. Sunscreen. Hot chocolate mix with marshmallows. Have the kids leave their shoes outside the RV. There are lots of outdoor scavenger hunts you can create. Breakfast burritos (you can pre make) are always a hit. Depending upon what you like to eat, lunch meat, taco bar, hamburgers & hot dogs are always fun with the kids. We pre-made pulled pork on our last camping trip- it was easy to just reheat.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. meldarcy says…
    03/10/2015

    What about a scavenger hunt? Work in teams, mix the teams up so that everyone works with someone they don't necessarily gravitate towards and have a list of items to find and collect in a bucket or bag (photos may be used in the case of items unable to be collected). First team to complete their list wins!! One benefit is that you then have a real tactile item that can go in your album as a reminder of the trip :) We also love making up our own 'trail mix' using cereal, lollies, popcorn etc, all the crazy stuff. I take lots of different items and let the kids serve out their own (within reason) with their own mix of favorites.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. AudreyV says…
    03/10/2015

    the only camping desert needed is so'mores, everynight! So much fun to eat and a good reason to have a campfire! I like easy meals for camping with minimal fuss and clean up, hamburgers or hot dogs on the grill, grilled chicken that you marinate in a Ziploc bag before you go, a bag of salad, chips and salsa. We love board games for rainy days in the camper.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. lizness says…
    03/10/2015

    First of all, have an AMAZING time!

    Now for the tips (we go on a lot of cross country camping trips and have some ideas that may make it fun):

    If your RV has a microwave, take a few dinners that you've prepared in advance (and that are favorites). We like a veggie chili, chicken pot pie, salmon + quinoa salad, etc. that we make at home. Also, tri-tip (from Costco, but not Costco brand) on the barbeque is GREAT! This way, if you're tired, dinner is easy. Eggs, toast (take a toaster), and bacon are awesome in the morning! Oh yeah, take some Jiffy Pop--it's a hoot!

    We're sort of go with the flow people, so we just supply the kids with crayons, scissors, tape, pencils, erasers, and lots of paper. They'll come up with their own stuff to craft. For the adults (especially, ones that like photography) take photos--it's awesome to give yourself a break from "making." But, if you find that your hands need something, do something different--like needlepoint. It's fun to sit at the fire (even during the day), chat, and stitch a few rows (or read a book).

    Take some favorite board games, but don't worry if you don't play. Life is different when you're camping. You may find that you've become a zombie and the kids need chasing, for example. Also, we've found that the kids enjoy life if they have some comforts from home (like iPads, a small Lego bin, stuffed animals). One thing about kids and iPads, they get sort of social with them in the evening. We hover around the fire chatting, they hover around each others' iPads chatting. It's okay to plug in if it brings comfort--there is no "right way" to camp, ya' know? (Go Minecraft!)

    Most of all, I'd recommend having fun. Know your options (e.g., we could go on hike A, see site B, or do activity C), but don't hang on too tightly to a schedule. Camping (especially, for long stretches) is much easier and more fun if everyone "goes with the flow." Let go of schedules, too. I mean, send the kids to bed when you think they need to, but don't hold yourself to a rigid schedule. Go to bed when tired, sleep in (camping is a great excuse and opportunity to catch up on rest), and eat when you get hungry.

    Oh, and don't forget the S'mores! =)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. lizness says…
      03/10/2015

      PS: Both Duncan and I have a checklist. It's super helpful to plan before hand and then pack it, shop, and leave for an adventure. I'd be happy to send you a copy of each if it'd be helpful. Take care and have fun, girlfriend!

  11. swimfin says…
    03/10/2015

    Agree on the foil pocket meals, we have marinated chicken for when we arrived at the first campsite on almost every trip. We use a plastic bin for shoes under the front door of the camper (out of rain, but not tracking all that dirt in), we purchased a real cheap small rug for the base of the steps for the camper door to catch dirt also. Always purchased new audio story tapes and a new board/card game. Packing - one bag/person. Also, check with the library to see if they have books on kid friendly hikes/activities in the specific parks you are going to visit. We have had hit/miss of this, depends on the state (Alaska had great info. Texas/OK, not so much, lol). Geocaching might be fun... but a scavenger hunt is great too.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. ciahansen says…
    03/10/2015

    Check out the Junior Ranger program:
    http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=thingstodo.dsp_juniorRanger
    It says it's for ages 6-12, but I think there's flexibility with this. For example, my 3 year old did the Junior Ranger Program in Wisconsin and Yellowstone and *loved* it both times. I can see it being something that each age would get something different out of (including moms and dads!)
    Plus, it has the added bonus of creating great memorabilia and photo opps for the scrapbook!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Lwills54 says…
    03/10/2015

    Spent six weeks on a RV adventure with 2 kids and a dog, my best advice would be to keep it simple..whatever you prepare be prepared to change. Let go of perfection and go with the flow. Ask the kids what they want, thats always good. Time around the firepit seemed to be everyones fav, with stories,smores and laughs. Have fun!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. susanwestberg says…
    03/10/2015

    I have this cookbook and it ROCKS! There is a whole meal plan for each day PLUS the grocery list so it's super easy to get everything you need for the day's meals. It's on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-RV-Cookbook-G-Publishing/dp/1563831953/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426023581&sr=8-1&keywords=rv+cookbook

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Cutestains says…
    03/10/2015

    We like to pre-cook & freeze a roast or taco meat. It makes food prep super simple, and in our family, everyone likes tacos!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. klweber2002 says…
    03/10/2015

    When we go camping we make omelets in a ziplock baggie, everyone puts in what they want, ham, cheese, green peppers, mushrooms, sausage, eggs, and then all the bags are boiled in water. No waiting for omelets to be done and everyone can eat at the same time and clean up is a snap, just toss the bag.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. ashleymoseley says…
    03/10/2015

    I am pregnant with my first child, so the thought of camping is still far away, but I absolutely love this thread and I am going to pin it just so I can come back in a few years when we're planning our own camping/RV trip! Hope you all have a lovely time!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. p7eggyc says…
    03/10/2015

    Have a great time Ali! I think this sounds like a grand adventure. One thing my mom always did for their RV travels was precook bacon so it was just a matter of warming in the nuke (could probably do it in foil over a fire though). Too stinky and messy to cook in an RV and they didn't really cook outside except their little portable grill they carried.

    We also loved train dominoes in the RV and I think if you have a big domino set you can have 7 people play.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. AndiWalsh says…
    03/10/2015

    I traveled solo a lot with my two, who are now teens. We drove from Eastern Oregon to CA just about every spring break. 12-14 hour trip. No RV'n (yet) but tons of miles. And, we have camped with a group, us tent, others RV's.
    Headlamps for everyone - keep hands free. Especially for camping/RV/reading/cooking/cleaning.
    Inside shoes (flip flops or slippers vs outside - anything that can be pulled on)
    Yes, have them pre-pack, but be cautious. My trick was to hit the road at the crack of dawn in our jammies, and have a special snack in the car for them after they woke up. HOWEVER, one year my son forgot his shoes.. yep Because they got in the car in their pj's. So, we had to stop for shoes in Winnemucca, NV. We will never forget that one!
    New stuff: When stopping for gas, etc. Kids get to pick out a new thing to entertain themselves. This worked at gift shops at parks, etc. I picked out postcards.
    Food: Good luck with that one! Stick to the basics. Cereal, milk, bread, lunch meat, etc. This is the FEED ME NOW supply, like those snickers commercials. And, everything else is your menu planning that takes prep, help, etc.
    If you have a camping BBQ take it and use it as the main cooking source. RV's are small. Do as much as you can outside.
    Restroom: Be prepared for use outside as well. One itty bitty restroom does not go far with the crowd you have. And when more than one kid has to go 'now'. Maybe make the RV bathroom the nighttime bathroom.
    Folding chairs. Table cloth for picnic tables (it will be dirty); tie downs for wind.
    Outdoor mat at base of door to wipe off feet, take shoes off, etc.
    Water! A friend of mine accidentally drained their water tank this last weekend. Have backup!
    Lots of zip lock baggies for saving treasures, wet clothes, food, etc.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. scrapfin1 says…
    03/10/2015

    Cant wait to hear about it....watch Modern Family episode in RV? :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Erin_K says…
    03/10/2015

    We have been camping with our kids in our rv since about 2005. Like the others have said, we take easy meals that have been mostly prepared ahead of time as well as hot dogs that the kids love to cook over the fire. S'mores is also a camping tradition. We also keep a bin right inside the front door for dirty shoes to help keep the dirt contained. Over the years, we have found that hanging a camp shower, soap, and a hand towel outside the rv allows for quick and easy hand washing and helps keep the mess inside down. We also always make sure to take some paracord, or anything similar, that can be strung between trees to act as a clothesline for any towels or clothes that may get soaked (especially useful when we are camping by a lake or at the beach). We do always plan an hourish of quiet time after lunch. Some read, others work on crosswords or word searches, and many times several end up taking a nap. When our kids were younger, we would use ribbons to set the boundaries they must stay in. We also have each kid wear a whistle whenever they are not inside the trailer. We tell them if they ever accidentally get separated from us to stay right where they are, blow their whistle, and we will find them. Not long after we started camping regularly we witnessed this happen to a family and saw how it had helped them find they lost 6 year and ever since we had our kids wear a whistle. As far as games, we take some family favorites like dominos, cards, scribblish, twister, clue, but we also occasionally bring along a new one. We also bring a few movie options for in the evening to help everyone wind down and get ready for bed. We love to go hiking or do scavengar hunts. It is just so peaceful and relaxing. I hope you all have a great time.

    Also on the practical side, if you run into any issues with your rv, feel free to ask around the campground. When we were starting out sometimes an issue would arise and we found fellow rv-ers to be extremely helpful and now that we have been doing it as long as we have, we too have been able to help several others.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. terihartman says…
    03/10/2015

    This may sound weird, but even if you don't have babies, bring BABY WIPES. They are SOOO handy. I always have a pack in the vehicle and in the trailer. Quick easy clean up, especially if there is no soap available. Other than that, I bet searching "camping" on Pinterest will give you a ton of ideas. Have a blast! Can't wait to read about it! (Hubby and I are thinking about taking an Oregon coast camping trip next summer.)

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  23. KarineC says…
    03/10/2015

    I don't even like to camp and you guys make it sound great!!!

    Have fun, Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Jaevans says…
    03/10/2015

    Scavenger hunts! Geocaching!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. peggy1958sue says…
    03/10/2015

    I didn't read ALL the comments so these may be double or triple ideas/thoughts. My parents had us camping and doing MAJOR road trips since I can remember. We always had car bingo I think it's called in the car. Might want to have bags for each individual child for the road...their favorite things to do or eat. Pudgy pie makers are an awesome meal for the kids as a make your own meal. You need a fire to make them, but that's ok because then dessert can be Smores. Don't for get the smore stuff! PAPER TOWELS!!! LOTS OF THEM! Your scavenger hunt can be a list of things that you make before you leave home and think of things that you can find in the wilderness. Like a black stone, a pine cone, a stick, different kinds of leaves, etc. We always made these things with Pillsbury biscuts! You find a "green" stick and take off the bark off of the top part and then have the kids roll the biscut into a log. Then you take the rolled out biscut and wind it around the stick. Brown it over the fire and then when it is all browned you slide it off and dunk it in melted BUTTER, the roll it in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. YUM!!! So GOOD!!! Hope it all goes well for each and everyone of you!!!

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