Keep Calm & Carry On


Not long ago this was a time of year that life left me bereft of anything remotely related to calm! It was time to pack for our cross-country camping trip.


Typically (after roughly the 25th trip to the RV to pack yet another “essential” item) I would find myself stressin’. Kiddos would help as much as they could but truthfully, I needed them occupied so I could focus.


In an effort to “keep calm and carry on” I began to round up activities to keep the kids busy prior to the trip. A DoAhead Destination tip in the form of  the “camping box” was birthed.


The camping box simply consisted of a small Rubbermaid tote with a snap lid. The box would contain fun items that were unique to each child. The “prizes” would keep them occupied in the final tense hours of trying to load and go. The contents were also designed to keep the peeps busy during the many hours of travel that lay ahead. (Click here for a link to check out a sample box.)


Below is a list of just a few items our camping boxes have contained:



Rubber Neckers, Would you Rather?, Chess, Checkers, Cards, Pick up Sticks, Yarn for string games (You can find mini versions of Chess and Checkers that are magnetic. Slick!)


Years ago it was hard copy…now we download them.


Miss Tay is enjoying her book!


Goggles, Snorkeling Gear, Water Guns (never too old for these!), Flip-Flops


We make every effort to watch these as a  family…often a classic television series makes it way in the RV. Andy Griffith and Gilligan’s Island were hits when they were small, last year it was Seinfeld.


This is another terrific family activity during travel. (Even the driver gets to participate in these!) When the kids were little it was the Odyssey Series by Focus on the Family, as they got older it was classic books like Chronicles of Narnia.


No iPods in “the old days.” James’ audio books were on tape!



Each camping box had treats like crackers, fruit leather and gum (and yes…chocolate.)


What camping trip would be complete without smores?

Seventeen years later our camping boxes have  morphed into a full fledged tradition. We no longer need them to help with distraction as we pack (thank heaven…they can help now!) But the boxes still come in handy for keeping us all occupied during the long hours of travel.


Do you have any DoAhead Destination tips for kids when you travel…please share!

Your DoAhead Friend,


  1. When my children were small and we took long trips, I sometimes gave them each a
    9 x 13 metal cake pan with a snap on lid to use in the car. The lid provided a flat surface in their lap for coloring or playing with the items in their pan. The pan held things such as crayons, a notebook, small toys, and games. I sometimes took along “snack/surprise” bags to be handed out at certain times along the way. The children were told the designated time the contents of a particular bag would be revealed and handed out so it created a certain amount of anticipation.

    • Loooove it! The smaller flat surface of the cake pan is perfect to write on…and the anticipation of the surprises is half of the fun (for everyone)! Thanks for sharing Lauren!

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