campervan travels

How do you keep kids entertained in a campervan?

Disclosure: This post about how to keep kids entertained in a campervan contains affiliate links. If you click on them I receive a small commission. This helps me to continue running this blog and providing information I hope you find helpful. All of the products below I have used personally with my family.

A question I’m frequently asked is: “How do you keep kids entertained in a campervan?” With a very active two-year-old and five-year-old this is something I’ve had lots of practice in since we bought a campervan. If you’re thinking about hiring a campervan in 2023 or maybe even buying a campervan yourself, it’s something you’ll need to consider if you have children. The main thing to remember is that kids actually need very little to entertain themselves. Once you’ve done a few trips, you will find that they will quickly get into a routine with their favourite games to play. But it’s always good to be prepared, with a few toys and games, especially if you need to keep kids entertained in a campervan in the rain.

How do you keep kids entertained in a campervan

The main time you’ll probably need to help to keep kids entertained in a campervan is when you’re on the road. Long roadtrips can get boring for little ones, so make sure you have a selection of toys and games which can easily be played with while they’re strapped into car seats. Once you’re parked up, get the kids playing outside as soon as possible. It’s the best way for them to burn off energy after the drive. Plus, spending time outdoors is no doubt one of the main reasons you got a campervan in the first place! You only really need to worry about keeping kids entertained inside a campervan if it’s raining. Then think about lots of cosy, family games you can play and use it as a time to bond.

VW campervan

How to keep kids entertained on a long roadtrip 

Keeping kids entertained on a long roadtrip can sometimes be tricky, especially when they’re small. We often do quite long journeys with our little adventurers and some trips have been better than others! Some families opt to use screens to keep their kids entertained and a movie is certainly a good way to kill a few hours. But if you want some tips for screen-free journeys, then there are plenty of ways to keep your kids entertained.

My number one tip though is to do nothing to start off with. The novelty of being in a campervan often means that excitement levels are high when you start off on a roadtrip. We don’t provide any toys or games to our little adventures when we begin our journey. Instead we spend the first part of our trip chatting and spotting things outside. You may only get five minutes or so to start off with before they start looking for entertainment, but it will gradually build up over time. Our little adventurers can easily now spend up to an hour looking out of the windows before asking for something to play with.

Once your little one is looking for entertainment, our best buy by far to keep kids entertained on a long roadtrip is the Yoto Mini. This handheld audio player allows children to use cards to listen to audiobooks and music. There is a huge selection of titles to choose and it’s simple for little ones aged 3+ to operate themselves. You can also buy a protective cover just in case there is the odd drop along the way. Our Yoto Mini absolutely saved us on a roadtrip around Ireland last year. So I highly recommend it to anyone trying to do screen-free journeys with toddlers.

We also travel with fuss-free activities like Galt Water Magic Books and Wipe clean travel activities. My daughter has a Petit Collage Magnetic Set, which she absolutely loves and plays with for hours. We also really enjoy the Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides. Anyone else remember these from when they were a kid? i-Spy on a roadtrip book is our current favourite.

Easy books to use for screen-free journeys with toddlers

My final tip to keep kids entertained on a long roadtrip is to have a few novelty toys, which live in the van. This means that excitement levels will be high when they’re brought out. These could be small little figures of your child’s favourite characters (Busy Books are brilliant for this). Or, alternatively, something as simple as Hot Wheels cars. We keep them in a small cloth bag that they can dig into whenever they feel like it. 

Entertaining kids on a campsite

Keeping kids entertained on a campsite is pretty easy, especially if the weather is good. All you need is a few outdoor games and you can’t go wrong with the classics. Be sure to pack a football, frisbee and bats and balls. If you have little nature lovers, scavenger hunts are a great way to keep them entertained too. This is particularly helpful when you’re trying to set up camp and they’re super excited.

Subscription boxes like Mud & Bloom also have great activities for outdoor crafts. The bonus is that they come with all of the materials your little ones needs to make the various crafts. They simply need to find a few extras from nature like sticks, stones or pine cones. 

If you’re taking a baby in a campervan, make sure you pack a large picnic blanket. You can then lay it outside the van with a few grab toys and books for them to play with.

Our first night in a campervan

How to keep kids entertained in a campervan in the rain

The most difficult time to keep kids entertained in a campervan is in the rain. Space is obviously limited in a van so it can get a bit cramped, particularly if you have kids who love to be outside. In the evenings, it can be fun to put on a family film and snuggle in your sleeping bags for a movie night. But if you want to stay away from screens during the day, games and craft activities are your best bet. 

One of the most important things to remember is that children will pick up on your energy levels. So if you’re feeling disappointed and fed up that your camping trip is a washout, your kids will too. So try to keep energy levels high and present time in the van as another fun adventure, rather than an annoyance. Treats like hot chocolate and popcorn can help to make it feel more special too.

When thinking about the best games to play in a campervan, opt for ones which don’t have too many small pieces. You don’t want counters flying everywhere and there’s nothing worse than losing dice in a small space! We love playing this Hungry Hippos grab & go and Connect 4 grab & go which keep the small pieces contained.

Our five-year-old adventurer is also obsessed with the Thinkfun Rush Hour Junior. This comes in its own little travel bag, which is useful. 

Good family card games include the much loved Uno, of course. We also like Guess in 10” and Dobble (this one is waterproof, so a great one for travelling).

I hope this post has given you some ideas about how to keep kids entertained in a campervan. The most important thing to remember is that campervan travel allows you to spend quality time together as a family. So whether you’re playing a game of frisbee in the sunshine or a round of Dobble in the van while the rain pours down, your kids will be having the best time. 

Pin it for later: