Tips & Tricks For Keeping Kids Occupied On Road Trips

If the thought of hearing, “Mooooom, I’m booooored! Are we there yet?” for 10 hours straight sends shivers down your spine, arm yourself with these awesome road trip activities.

boy asleep in back of car

Road trip! Remember when those words signaled the start of an exhilarating adventure? Now that you have kids, they probably bring on feelings of apprehension mixed with a touch of anxiety. Fear not, valiant parents! Your next road trip will be smooth and enjoyable thanks to these fun travel activities for kids. 

 

What To Pack For A Family Roadtrip

 

  1. Family travel games

Screen, schmeen! Who says the only way to survive road trips is to glue iPads to your children’s foreheads? When I was a kid, we played family travel games to pass the time. Print out Travel Bingo cards (there are plenty of free templates online) or get your little ones to draw their own before you leave.

You can also play games that don’t require any materials, such as 20 Questions, I Spy and the License Plate Game (the player who has spotted license plates from the greatest number of states by the end of the road trip wins).

  1. Coloring books

 Kid Made Modern Washable Double-Pointed 30-Count Markers

 

Kid Made Modern Washable Double-Pointed 30-Count Markers

$19.99

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Crayon Rocks Just Rocks in a Box – 16 Colors

 

Crayon Rocks 32 Crayons Just Rocks in a Box – 16 Colors

$30

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Mindful & Co Kids Coloring Pack

Mindful & Co Kids Coloring Pack – Rose

$56

EXCLUSIVE

Available in more colors

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Jaq Jaq Bird Color It Book – Constellations

$27

Available in more colors

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Who doesn’t love coloring in the car? Aside from Mom, who worries about marker stains and mess, that is. You can finally put your fears to rest thanks to Kid Made Modern’s Washable Double-Pointed 30-Count Markers. They wash right off with a little soap and water! Another great option is Crayon Rocks Just Rocks in a Box Crayons, which are made from natural soy wax with non-toxic powdered pigments. Pair them with Mindful & Co Kids’s beautifully creative Coloring Pack and you’re all set!

For something a little different, Jaq Jaq Bird’s Color It Books are another great road trip option. It includes eight reusable coloring in pages, four mess-free dustless Butterstix® chalks and is very travel-friendly.

  1. Travel tray 

While this isn’t an activity per se, purchasing a travel tray that clips onto your child’s car seat or booster seat will make every other activity on this list easier and more effective. There are plenty of different models to choose from online. Some even come with side walls to prevent objects from rolling off, mesh pockets to hold toys and crayons, and cup holders. Genius!

  1. Travel toys

 Petit Collage Superheroes Magnetic Dress Up Play Set

Petit Collage Magnetic Dress Up – Superheroes

 

$24

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Petit Collage Best Friends Magnetic Dress Up Play Set

Petit Collage Magnetic Dress Up – Best Friends

 

$24

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 Maileg Baby Room with Micro Bunny

Maileg Baby Room with Micro Bunny

 

$60

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My kids went nuts for good old Etch-A-Sketches on our last road trip! Magnetic play sets are also awesome because all the little parts stick to the magnetic travel case rather than ending up on the floor of the car. I absolutely love their Magnetic Super Hero Dress Up Set. Last but certainly not least, Maileg’s Baby Room with Micro Bunny features a crib, bedding, onesie, and little accessories – too cute for words! 

  1. Audiobooks

 Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller

Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller

 

$79.90

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Children of all ages are mesmerized by a well-read audiobook. You can download Canadian children’s author Robert Munsch’s hilarious audiobooks for free on his website. Arnold Lobel’s audiobooks, including his renowned Frog and Toad series, are also winners. The Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller truly is fabulous. Featuring 48 stories in eight different languages, children can choose different elements to make up their own stories and listen to them straight away. The magical listening experience keeps kids entertained in a smart, screen-free way, making it the perfect travel companion for long journeys.

  1. Singalong playlist

Before you go, create a playlist that’s chock-full of children’s hit such as Frozen’s “Let it Go” and that annoyingly catchy “Baby Shark” song, as well as some family favorites that could include anything from The Beatles to Taylor Swift. When everyone’s getting antsy, loudly declare, “Singalong time!” and force everyone to join in – even Dad! 

  1. Books

Books are the best! Tiny tots will delight in discovering what animal is on each accordion-style, soft cloth page in Wee Gallery’s Friendly Faces on the Farm. Keep older children’s brains busy with I See Me!’s My Very Own Name Personalized Storybook. It’s an adorable, personalized book that’s all about them!

Wee Gallery Friendly Faces on The Farm

Wee Gallery Friendly Faces on the Farm

 

$16.95

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I See Me! My Very Own Name Personalized Storybook

I See Me! My Very Own Name Personalized Storybook

 

$39.99

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  1. Apps

Can you believe we made it to number 8 before mentioning the almighty tablet? We all know that a ton of screen time isn’t the best for developing brains, but road trips can be considered extenuating circumstances! Try DisneyNOW, PBS KIDS, and educational apps such as Monster Math and YouTube Kids.

  1. Backpack

 STATE Bags The Mini Kane Backpack - Indigo Patchwork

STATE Bags Mini Kane Backpack – Indigo Patchwork

 

$75

Available in more colors

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 Jem and Bea Kids Eco Backpack

Jem & Bea Kids Eco Backpack – Orange

 

$60

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Let each of your kids pack their own backpack to bring in the car. They can fill it with their favorite toys, games and other special belongings. When they’re bored, suggest they pull something out of their bag to entertain themselves. 

  1. Movies

Load those tablets up with your kids’ favorite movies or bring along DVDs for the in-car player. But see how I saved this activity until number 10 on the list? Take a page out of my book and save it for when the kids have pushed you to the brink of insanity. If you use it too soon, they’ll declare that they’re bored of EVERRRRYYTHIINGGG before you even make it to your first pit stop.

  1. Snacks

 Marcus & Marcus Snack Bowl

Marcus & Marcus Snack Bowl

 

$12.99

Available in more colors

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 PlanetBox Capsule Water Bottle

PlanetBox Capsule Water Bottle

 

$22.95

Available in more colors

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If anyone tries to tell me that eating isn’t an “activity,” I’ll assume they’ve never been on a road trip with kids. Snacking is the main and constant activity when families are locked in a car together for hours. Pack the amount of food you think you’ll need, and then pack twice as much again – that might get you to lunchtime. Keep things fun and exciting by bringing snacks they don’t normally eat, such as a healthy trail mix with M&Ms tossed in for a treat, cheese sticks, fun crackers you don’t normally buy, and fruit and vegetables cut into fun shapes. Keep your young children’s mess in check by placing their snacks in Marcus & Marcus’ Snack Bowl, which features a lid with a hole that’s perfect for tiny fingers! Bring plenty of water and preferably in bottles that don’t leak, like the PlanetBox Capsule Water Bottle

  1. Bag of tricks

Mom always needs a bag of tricks to save the situation when needed. Buy a few new toys or stickers and wrap them up with shiny paper. When the kids start climbing the windows, hand them each a little package and enjoy a few small moments of peace. And while I don’t advocate stuffing them with junk food, it doesn’t hurt to hide a few chocolates and lollipops in your bag of tricks to get you to the finish line!