How to entertain a toddler when camping (and survive!)

There’s no doubt in my mind that travelling with a toddler requires a fair bit of hard work. They are at the stage where they want to be involved in everything, but have no idea of the consequences of doing so.

Over our 3 month trip up north, we found a few fantastic ways to occupy our 21 month old, and wanted to share them with you, so your future trips might be a bit more relaxing!

If you haven’t already seen it, we wrote a post covering 35 ways to make camping with a toddler easier too.

We also have a post that talks about how travelling can be harder than it looks.

A tub of water and some toys

In warmer weather, the best way to entertain our little boy was to get his cheap bath tub – a $6 plastic tub from Bunnings and fill it with a bit of luke warm water, and a few toys.

When its warm outside, they will play in water for a very, very long time. Whilst you can’t leave them, it makes for easy entertaining while you sit nearby and relax.

Oliver sat in his water tub all the time on our trip up north – it kept him occupied, happy, clean and cool. Find somewhere in the shade, grab a bucket of water and some toys and you are off to a great start.

Oliver in a big bath tub
Oliver in a bath tub, trying to eat his toes. He’d spend hours in it playing with toys

The high chair is not just for feeding

In the past, we’ve only ever used the high chair for feeding. However, once strapped in, its a little refuge for the toddler, and break for mum and dad. If you have anything that they enjoy using, a high chair is a great place for them to use it.

Toys, books, drawings, rocks, what ever it is – if you sit them in their high chair in the shade they will play for quite a decent amount of time. This was very useful for us when setting up, packing away or cooking dinner, as having a little boy running off every 5 minutes isn’t much fun!

High chair when camping
The IKEA high chair is amazing when camping with toddlers

Ride the trike

If you have the space, take a trike with you. Its fun for them to ride over the different terrains that you visit, they weigh next to nothing and are easy to pack in. Fortunately, we have plenty of room in the back of the Isuzu Dmax, so taking it with us was no drama at all.

Collecting rocks, leaves and shells (treasure)

I don’t know what it is about kids and rocks/leaves, but they love them. Oliver had a ball collecting various rocks from around the campsite, and piling them up, or filling his toy dump truck with them. Sure, we probably spent an extra $30 on fuel bringing it all back to Perth, but it was worth it.

Toddlers playing when camping
Toddlers love to play with rocks

Playing with the 4WD and camper trailer

Oliver loves to tinker with things, and is obsessed with anything to do with our camper trailer or 4WD. This is great, as it keeps them nearby and safe. He’ll play with the bull bar, the number plates, lights, water taps (only ones that won’t allow water out!), jockey wheel, camper kitchen, trailer chains and anything else he can have fun with.

As long as he’s not banging rocks on the car panels (which he has done a few times), I’m happy for him to go for his life!


Providing you keep your toddlers safe, they love nothing more than a bit of freedom to explore, touch and move things around. Whether its an old log, or pile of leaves, or a few rocks they’ll have a ball just being allowed to play with them and move them around

What else have we missed? How do you entertain your toddlers at camp?

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