School is out and summer vacation is officially in season! It’s the time of year children wait for all school year and yet it doesn’t take long until you a hear a chorus of “I’m bored” coming from their mouths. This isn’t just limited to days at home. Even your family vacations can be subject to the “I’m bored” comments between scheduled activities. Whether you’re already planning your first trip of the summer or counting down to a trip in the weeks or months ahead, take some time to gather or stock up on some fun outdoor games the whole family can enjoy. These tried and true outdoor games will help ward off the “I’m bored” syndrome and result in memories that can last a lifetime.

1. Foam Ball/Football
Keep it simple with a fun game of catch. Traditional baseballs or (ironically) softballs are too hard and therefore unsafe for use with small children. They can also result in injury or property damage if a wild throw is made. Avoid this by using a foam football or round ball. These are easy for little fingers to grip their hands around. Typically brightly colored, these balls are easy to track down if they roll in to the bushes, etc. but they’re also low in cost so if they do become lost or get left behind at a rest stop or campground they can easily be replaced.

Foam Football

2. Trac Ball
Growing up Trac Ball was something I always remember bringing along on our family vacations. We could whip out a set of those and get great distance even at a young age. Each player holds a net-like racket that can fit a hollow, plastic ball. As you whip the racket forward it sends the ball sailing into the air for your partner to catch in their own racket. I love that the ball is so light weight that there is no concern for injury or destruction if your kids get a little wild.

Trac Ball & Similar Games

3. Velcro Catch
Another fun spin on an ordinary game of catch is the Velcro catch and toss set. For children still lacking the coordination to catch a ball or do this safely, this is a great option. Each set comes with Velcro mitts that you strap to your hand and a tennis style ball. To use, simply reach your hand toward the ball and once contact is made the ball sticks to the Velcro mitt.

4. Bocce Ball
Bocce ball is easy for all ages to play simply by tossing or rolling a ball to the target (a smaller ball). The first time I was introduced to this game was by my grandparents who were in their late 70’s at the time. My grandma could not lift anything heavy or run quickly so this game was easy for her to enjoy with even her teenage grandchildren. The simplicity of this game also is great if you have small children wanting to play with the big kids. With a little supervision they can simply roll the ball (whether they get close to the target or not) and still be a part of things. I love that this game is low energy and simple entertainment. Our set came in a small compact bag which makes it so easy to fit in one of our RVs storage compartments without taking up much space at all. While the balls in this game do have a little weight to them, there is not much risk for destruction since these are designed to be rolled or gently tossed toward the ground.

5. Croquet
While this old classic may seem to bulky to bring, you can find sets that are more suited to traveling. Purchase a set that comes with its own carrying bag or stand. Our set came with a compact stand that all the pieces fit in to and it even has wheels so it’s easy to roll from your campsite to a nearby grassy area. While children of all ages can participate, this will be much more suited to older children who know how to keep their mallet swing under control and therefore keep the ball from sailing in a dangerous direction.


6. Frisbee
For older children you can’t go wrong with a simple frisbee. There are tons of games you can play and there’s no limit to how many can join in on the fun. While you can pick these up without much cost at all, I advise avoiding the cheapest ones out there. Instead purchase one that has some weight to it. This will stand up much better to occasional wind bursts you may encounter and is a bit easier to throw flat for those new to throwing frisbees. You may also consider purchasing an LED lighted frisbee. These add hours of entertainment into the night without losing sight of the frisbee. I love that these are sold in a variety or colors so you can let your child pick out their favorite. Purple please!

7. Jump Rope
A jump rope is about as compact as they come and so versatile for your family. Bring one along for individual use or turn the rope and let your child show off their tricks. This is also great fun for when your children make those “instant best friends” at the campground. Once again there’s no limit to how many can participate. The more the merrier!

8. Squirt Guns
On a hot summer day, a great way to cool down and have some fun is to bust out the squirt guns. Join in on the fun as your kids run off some energy. Squirt guns come in all shapes and sizes. Remember to keep the squirt guns on the smaller size and play with these at a safe distance from others to be courteous of fellow campers.

9. Sand Toys
From toddlers to grade schoolers the hours can fly by digging in the dirt, building sand castles, or taking turns burying one another (safely) in the sand. Grab a shovel yourself and get down in the sand or lounge nearby relaxing with a safe eye on your joy filled children.

10. Bubbles
I have yet to meet a small child who does not love bubbles. They seem to have such a magical and tantalizing quality that is too hard to resist. Any kind of bubble container will bring on the fun, but don’t forget the variety of options available to make it extra special. Pick up a large tube of bubbles with a twist on cap to keep your hands clean and offer a variety of bubble sizes. Anyone else get lightheaded quickly when blowing bubbles. Toddlers can be merciless as they say “again, again” as the minutes tick by. Give your little ones a turn blowing bubbles on their own by picking up a no spill container such as this one by Fubbles. Or make it really easy on yourself and get a battery operated bubble gun. Kids from young to old can take turns making bubbles without chancing spilling an entire bottle. Want to get the older kids involved? Take it up a notch and make giant bubbles! Get a large container of bubbles and pour them in a shallow dish. Then use a large wand to create huge bubbles that will amaze your children.

Giant Bubbles

Floating Bubbles

I hope these ideas will help draw your family closer together as you enjoy some great outdoor activities on your next trip with your RV. Bring along some of your favorites from this list and the next time your crew chants “I’m bored” you’ll be prepared. Hours of fun and moments to be remembered are just at your fingertips. Here’s to a summer of family, fun and games. Let’s make some memories!

NOTE  - *In putting together this list I’ve found it best to stick with items that are inexpensive, compact, and non-destructive. By keeping the cost low there is no need to fret if items get lost or forgotten as your pack up your things. Keep these items within your budget so they can be easily replaced if needed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, RVs have incredible storage options. In my childhood days road tripping in our family car, the tent, sleeping bags, camp chairs, cooler and suitcases didn’t leave much room in the trunk for many extras. Take advantage of your extra space to stock your trailer with tons of fun activities, but keep in mind that the more compact the easier it may be to access each item, and of course the more variety you can bring! In terms of keeping things non-destructive remember to choose items that keep your neighboring campers in mind. Throwing or hitting hard and heavy objects may cause fellow campers to fear damage to their vehicles or even personal injury. Make sure to encourage your children to play at a safe distance away from other RVs and campers. On the same note remind your family to be courteous to all keeping noise levels under control. Remember we’ve all gone camping to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet along with our adventures.


Emily Helgeson
Author: Emily HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and two children in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family.


0 #1 ruth grabski-bugh 2018-07-28 19:30
new game to us.....corn toss, Slanted board with hole and bean bags. All ages.

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