I missed your original post but love the topic of kids and camping. By the way, you have a beautiful camper.
I camp for the kids or that’s how I sell it to the wife, keeps the budget flowing. I try to keep the kids busy by being involved, learning, exploring and very comfortable. In the truck I keep a box of snacks(kids help me pick and pack), water and box of things to do(homework, coloring books, reading books, games, Leapfrog…). When the kids were young we had the “sing along” CDs and DVDs for the long stretches between interesting points. We had tables that that fit on the car seats.
This is tougher than I thought because our kids stuff has evolved so much(10yrs); I’ll do my best.
Keeping the kids comfortable, we get into some crazy(wonderful) places and if we’re prepared “its all good” : water shoes, snow shoes, rain gear, hats, warm bedding, sun block, bug repellent,... I go so far as to keep a box of extra clothing(sweats, shorts, socks, crocks, jackets, blankets…) for everyone, in the truck(Yakama box). I want my kids to have fun, explore, get dirty, get wet, stay longer than planned, experience and go home/camp comfy.
I keep a military duffle bag full of toys: color chalk, frisbee, kites, bubbles, batons, ribbon sticks, swoosh, balls, water guns/balloons, stuff, things…..it has evolved. One rule: if you get it out you can put it away. I do pack extra for sharing with new friends.
Bug nets, cages, magnifying glass and bug books seem to always come out, lizards, salamanders, frogs and yes snakes too. They catch them, then we look them up and discus them.
Cameras(kid friendly) came early, binoculars came soon after, small backpacks to take care of their own stuff.
Glow stick necklaces were popular for a long time and great to share with new friends.
Small chairs that they fit-in(feet on the ground), we went through two sizes and now standard size.
Pop-up sun shade with floor for a little protection, when they were little
Large atlas; my kids have, for long time, worked with me on how to get somewhere. We look for interesting sights along the way, long way, short way, usually not taking the same way there as we do on the way home(for long trips). By keeping my kids involved they knew what to expect and it almost totally cuts down on “how much longer”. We talk a lot about time, every time we stop it means 30min longer and if it’s a point of interest could be 2hrs. Its all good, just might mean longer on the road or less time at the final destination. Lately we have gotten into topographical maps to fine our way to the even more out of the way places(swim behind waterfalls, caves you can swim through, slot canyons, hot srings, lava tubes….) Now that their older I push them to web search where we’re headed.
Every kid needs their own flash light to hunt down those elusive snipes.
We’re a fishing family and fishing poles, vests and hats came very early. Start them off right, find a lake full of blue gill or a stream freshly planted so they are guaranteed to catch. You can explain how its called “fishing” not “catching” later when their older and gain patience.
Bikes have always been with us, first 2 then 3 and now 4 with a carrier for the dog when she’s tired.
Double Kayak that’s super stable easily fit 3 of us plus dog and cooler.Then added a single kayak and now we’re into paddle boards. (Yakama rack and on our bed)
Marshmallow sticks, S’more makings, hot chocolate and now tea
I installed D/C outlets and wall mounted basket in each bunk for all the electronics.
Memory foam added to the stock bed mats
Toe step mounted to wall for top bunk instead of bulky ladder
We have a LARGE cork board in our camper that we put pictures from our trips. Its amazing how often we find ourselves in front of the pictures reminiscing and planning another trip. Our board is so full I’m adding another.
Sashes that over flowed on to vests, we do all the state and national park Jr. Ranger Programs and earn the badges and patches. I sew on all the patches and the kids get a ton of attention when they walk in with 30plus badges and patches, it opens conversations on where they’ve been, what they saw and learned. My kids now think their too big to get the badge but we still stamp the books, watch the movies and learn….. Their vest and sashes still lay under their bunk mattresses.
We decorate for the 4th of July, we’ve done Easter hunts in the dessert, Halloween on the coast, birthdays even a Christmas. Even though we’re away from home and the kids are afraid they’ll miss out, we go prepared and its been great.
Kids learn(forced/tricked) so much from camping: organization, communication, teamwork, patience, independence…..then there is the nature side, biology, physics, geography, history……The best part is we all have fun doing it.
I do wish we had an extra set of bunks, the kids are getting older and are going to want friends to come along. Might have to upgrade…….