Gift Guide for Children in Small Spaces

Since becoming part of the full-time rving community we have seen many people posting on social media about gifts for small spaces. When you are in a smaller space such as an rv or an apartment, the items in your possession need to be well thought out. Every item needs to serve a specific purpose and meet certain size guidelines or it’s out the door with yesterday’s trash. Preference given to items that are multi-purpose! Items without purpose cause clutter and we all know that clutter leads to one angry Momma turned drill sergeant, yelling at a sweet child and then retreating to her room with a glass of wine. (That’s what I’ve heard anyway).

We’ve always told the grandmas that if their gift is larger than a shoebox, there is a sizeable possibility that said gift will live at grandma’s house. Of course, we make exceptions for super cool Nerf guns and such but this is their warning!

I’ve taken some time to create a gift guide that will be sure to please your curious kiddos and also help keep the clutter at bay. Here are some of my favorite picks this year…


Gifts for Travel:

Get Going, America Write and Wipe Games To Go! Activity Book

Who doesn’t love a good write and wipe? We have a many different types of these activity books in our vehicle to help pass the time during long drives.

Reasons it makes the list:

  • It has educational value.
  • 17 pages of fun for individual or partner use
  • The marker connects to the book so everything is self-contained.
  • It’s great for the vehicle or the living room floor.
  • There are other books of the same style available so you can cater to each child’s interests.
  • Extra bonus – if they get bored doing the activities they can doodle on it.

Fashion Plates Travel Kit

I loved Fashion Plates as a child! Every little girl dreams of being in the fashion industry at some point, right?

Reasons it makes the list:

  • Girls love fashion!
  • They are easy to use.
  • This particular set, the travel set, is the perfect size for in the vehicle.
  • Add your own crayons to increase creativity.
  • Larger sets are available if your child falls in love with these like I did.

Kids Travel Tray with EXCLUSIVE Erasable Surface

While my kids have been promoted past this stage, I just love how functional this tray is. The activity trays that I have used in the past have been more like boxes that they put on their laps but this one lays over their lap and has storage on the sides as well. My mind immediately goes to homeschooling in the car on those crazy appointment days.

Reasons it makes the list:

  • A sheet of plastic on the top allows you to slip activity sheets in for instant dry erase type functionality.
  • It fits over your child’s legs for added comfort instead of just laying on them.
  • Mess storage on the side allows you to see what is in the pockets. Markers and books yes, stinky leftover snacks, no thank you!
  • There is a wipe pocket on the side for easy clean-up.
  • This product is very versatile. Even if your child doesn’t want to write, think of all the cars that could drive around on top or how excited your child would be to build some Legos on the long drive to Grandma’s house.


Gifts for Building:

Children love building, there’s no doubt about that. Using materials to build enhances a child’s gross motor skills, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, creativity, language skills, cognitive ability, and the list goes on. Building is a key component in a child’s development. The icing on the cake? It can occupy a child for hours!

*If you’re an rver and you’re thinking, “no way do I want that many pieces laying around on the floor,” stick with me. The products that I have chosen for this category can be used even if pieces are missing so go ahead and sweep up a few if you’ve had enough. I’ll never tell!

133 Pieces Magnetic Blocks

Magnetic blocks are great fun, if you’ve never tried them I would strongly suggest you do! It can be hard for me to sit and play Barbies for any period of time but give me something to build with and I can sit for hours.

Reasons it makes the list:

  • These blocks are visually appealing and could be used for practicing in colors and shapes.
  • Magnetic blocks are easier to put together then Legos for younger children.
  • They are easy to clean. (Let’s give a silent cheer!)
  • Wheels are included for vehicle making.
  • This kit includes a carrying bag to store your blocks when not in use.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe 10-Piece Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks

When my children were younger we had all sorts of nesting blocks around the house. The smile and laughter of my children knocking over my block creations are permanently engrained in my mind!

Reasons it makes the list:

  • Nesting blocks fit inside each other for easy storage.
  • Younger children will squeal when you build it and let them knock it over.
  • Educational value found in practicing letters and identifying pictures.
  • Great for hand-on coordination.


LEGO Friends Heartlake Puppy Daycare

LEGO City Police Patrol Boat

Legos don’t really need a description do they?

Reasons it makes the list:

  • I haven’t met a child that doesn’t love Legos.
  • Legos provide a creative outlet for building and also a dramatic play aspect.
  • These sets have multiple mini-doll figures so they can play with friends.
  • My daughter says the sets are very detailed and she knows her Legos!
  • There are hundreds of different sets so they are a great go-to gift that can be incorporated into any price range.


Gifts for Dramatic/Outdoor Play:

Binoculars for Kids

This is a must-have for all of the nature enthusiasts out there. We don’t own a pair of these yet, but someone is getting them for Christmas this year! Let’s be honest, we want our kids to see that handsome bald eagle up high in the tree next to our campground, but we don’t want to share our fancy $200 binoculars with them! It has everything to do with the fit and nothing to do with the fact that we can be a little selfish…

Reasons it makes the list:

  • They are shock proof. Read: They will not fall apart when you/your child drops them.
  • Outdoor play is encouraged.
  • They are designed for children, so they provide proper eye safety.
  • Your child can take pride in owning something just like Daddy’s.
  • They have educational value.


Pretend Play Foldable School Tent

I’m going to share one of my little secrets here so please don’t judge. When my children make blanket tents it gives me huge anxiety and I want to scream! I gladly bought my children multiple different play tents to avoid blanket tents at all cost.

Reasons it makes the list:

  • This tent doesn’t leave my clean blankets all over the floor and hanging from every bed or table in the house.
  • The tent is foldable so it is extremely easy to store. (If you are in an rv just slide it behind a bed or couch when not in use).
  • The tent has doors and windows.
  • Children can play inside or use the designs on the outside.
  • This product promotes dramatic play which is extremely important for language development.


Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Suitcase

My youngest son loves magic. He has had many different kits from the small $5 ones you can stick into a stocking to the more elaborate ones that include more than just card tricks. This will keep him entertained, and entertaining, for hours on end!

Reasons it makes the list:

  • It includes an instructional DVD so your child can visualize how the trick is completed instead of just reading about it.
  • The kit contains over 100 different tricks to learn so it will grow with your child as their skill improves.
  • A storage suitcase also acts as a performance table so they can take their show on the road.
  • Magic shows provide dramatic play opportunities.
  • Your child can entertain neighbors, family, and friends. Performing in front of others will increase public speaking skills.


Educational Gifts:

Osmo Genius Kit

I’ve been eyeing this one up for years. As a teacher, I clearly choose this for the educational value! A product that combines math and spelling into a single device is sure to become my best friend.

Reasons it makes the list:

  • Combines hands-on learning with technology. Everyone wins!
  • Works on core subjects of math and spelling.
  • Children work on problem solving and creativity with Tangrams and Masterpiece.
  • This product will entertain a wide age range.
  • Additional kits are available to expand the product. (Think grandparent gift).


Snap Circuits Lights Electronics Discovery Kit

Building a project and having it come to light (see what I did there!) is a very satisfying feeling. Snap circuits are a fantastic STEM resource for children who are interested in engineering or even just interested in how things work.

Reasons it makes the list:

  • The kit provides over 175 projects to work on that grow in difficulty.
  • Children expand their problem solving skills by building different circuits.
  • Hands-on learning for older children.
  • Strengthens their knowledge in real world occupations.


Now that you have the kiddos covered find something for your spouse here

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