What do Calla and I do all day? How do we keep busy? How can we manage to keep a busy toddler occupied in a space that is about as large as a walk in closet? We are still finding our groove with toddler life on the road – it’s something that I’m sure will change with every new stage she hits, and we will have to adjust accordingly. So far, though? We’ve been managing well – better than I thought. Here’s how we stay sane.
The Best Solution
The best scenario is when our campground or a state park nearby has built in entertainment, whether it be natural attraction or a man-made amenity, or a combination of both. Examples:
- Picnic Area
- Lots of Places to Walk
- Recreation Room (she can’t play the games, but likes to look at the lights and press buttons)
A wonderful source of toddler entertainment on the road is this tricycle. If you know a one year old baby, PLEASE buy this for his/her first birthday! As Tim mentioned in a previous post, I got the first one at a garage sale, and we accidentally crushed it in the slide. We drove for 2 hours (1 hour each way) to Wal-Mart to buy one for full price because we couldn’t survive any longer without the tricycle.
The trick to the tricycle is that she thinks she is powering it and steering. She’s at the stage where she wants to be an active participant in what is going on, so she doesn’t like being strapped into the stroller. The tricycle gives her a sense of independence and control. We also tested this tricycle in a campground that has gravel roads + gravel sites. The ride isn’t exactly smooth, but it’s safe – and Calla doesn’t seem to mind.
Oh, and we’ve also had fun outside with a simple rubber ball. A little smaller than soccer ball. Something you can get anywhere for a few dollars, and never really loses it’s “fun” value.
Inside the Motorhome
We can’t spend all of our time outside. So far, we’ve had a lot of rainy days. This means we spend more time in the motorhome during the day than we’d prefer. Inside the motorhome, Calla has 2 medium size baskets of toys: one in the living room, and one in the bedroom. She’s really taken a liking to this egg toy my mom got her for Easter. She also plays with dolls, her shape sorter, and she loves puzzles.
In typical toddler fashion, she also loves climbing on the couch, surfing the cabinets, and touching the oven knobs. Also, we are only human, and we do let Calla watch videos. She is a huge fan of Little Baby Bum and we use our Chromecast to cast them to the TV. We try to keep a few episodes at a time downloaded in case we don’t have a strong data connection.
The Difficult Days
This happens when it’s very rainy for 2 or more days in a row. I use google maps to try to find something, anything, nearby – library, indoor pool, indoor playspace. Anything to get out of the house! I found a really cute playspace in Virginia Beach called The Green Bean. It has every high end toy imaginable and is totally childproofed. If only Calla understood the concept of “sharing” the whole experience would have been stress free! Might have to wait a couple years for that.
A last ditch effort is to go shopping, but Calla hates shopping, so it’s not enjoyable for her, but when I let her walk around the store and look at things, it does become an outlet for her energy.
I’ve also struggled with spending lots of time outside when the bugs are really bad. Calla has gotten welts all over her from bug bites, and I hesitate to spend time outside (especially in the evenings) knowing that they are feasting on her. We have some natural bug spray that seems to be helping with this, because I’m not willing to put DEET on her just yet. I hear there are far fewer bugs out West. More reason to go?
All in all, I think we do a good job of keeping ourselves entertained during the day. With less to do around the house, we have more time to explore the outdoors. I’m hoping that we can continue to follow the warmer weather so we can spend more time outside. I also heavily consider things like playgrounds, trails, beach, pool, etc when we choose a campground. It’s no fun to be in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do! Actually, that sounds great to me – just not with a toddler!