When we upgraded from the pop-up to the travel trailer, one of the elements we were most enthused about was the extra cupboard space that would enable us to leave the camper packed and ready to go with the items we typically used on a camping trip. With the pop-up, we really only had room to store essentials like cooking gear, dishware, a few linens, first aid kit, etc., so every camping trip meant we had to round up and pack into the van all the other stuff.
In addition to cupboards for cookware, dishes, linens, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc., in the camper we now have a cupboard devoted just to kid-related “inside entertainment” items, as well as a storage bin of outside toys that keeps everything organized in one of the underneath compartments. Since space is always at a premium and keeping things “light” in the camper is always a priority, over the past few years we’ve added and subtracted items as we learned what things are the most practical to bring.
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Inside the kiddo cubbie we have:
- Coloring books, activity books, paint-with-water pads: The dollar store has a great selection.
- Crayons, colored pencils, Pip-squeaks markers, paint brushes
- Puzzles: The dollar store ones are nice and compact.
- Play-Doh: It’s not pictured because I need to replace our old, dried out packages. In addition to the traditional cups of Play-Doh, some stores also sell it in resealable foil packs that are nice for storage in the camper.
- Memory game: We took it out of the box to save space and slid the card tray into a zippered plastic bag.
- Card games: In addition to a regular card deck for impromptu Euchre games, we also have Go Fish, Old Maid, and Pass the Pigs–a super-compact, favorite game of Jarrett’s and mine that college friends introduced us to years ago.
- Busy books: We have a couple different versions including Thomas the Tank Engine, Cars, Planes, Strawberry Shortcake, and My Little Pony. Our kiddos play with these every trip, and they fit perfectly in the cupboard–score!
We have extra space in the kiddo cupboard that we use to put kid-friendly movies and story books, which the kids pick out before each camping trip. For some fun camping-related kid books, check out The Camping Kid’s Reading List.
Outside in the kid storage bin we have:
- Bubbles: We like the no spill bubble buckets because they are a lot less mess–and we don’t have bubble bottles getting dumped on accident. As long as you get the lid screwed on tight, we’ve found them to be spill-proof–really!
- Chalk: This is one of those things that doesn’t get used on every trip, since not all campgrounds have paved areas, but it’s always handy to have a bag of it in the bin.
- Pitch and catch ball sets: We have two sets of these because then all the kids can get in on the game. They are lightweight and stack together so they don’t take up too much room. Some dollar or discount stores will stock these during spring and summer months.
- Scoop and Toss set: Another lightweight, outside toy that kids can play even in a cramped campsite.
- Bat and wiffle ball set
- Plastic cars
- Rubber balls: We picked up three of these at the end of the season on clearance. They do take up more room (and don’t fit in the bin), but we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of them.
- Kites: We usually pick up some of those cheap, plastic ones when they go on clearance at the end of the season. They are lightweight and flat–they even have mini versions–so they are easy to store in the camper.
Generally we also bring the kids’ bikes and helmets, but for Christmas last year they each received a Razor scooter. These are much lighter and fold to a nice compact size, so on long-mileage trips we leave the bikes at home in favor of the scooters–and, of course, helmets too.
So that’s what we have in our camper kiddo cubbie. What do you keep in your camper cupboards?