How To Keep 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 and games…
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 mama! Your next road trip will be smooth and enjoyable thanks to these fun travel activities for kids.
What To Pack For A Family Roadtrip
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 (in the Stone Age), 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).
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 Omy’s Ultra Washable Felt Pens – they wash right off with a little soap and water! Another great option is Playon Crayons which are made from natural wax and won’t stain textiles. Pair them with Petit Collage’s travel-size World Travel Coloring Book and you’re all set!
For something a little different, Petit Collage Monsters On-The-Go Drawing Kit is another great road trip option. It lets kids mix and match 24 cards to create their favorite combinations and then use the drawing pad to bring their new monster friends to life! Packaged in an easy to store keepsake tin, the notepad, pencil box and frame all attach magnetically to their case to avoid losing pieces while on-the-go.
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!
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 love Petit Collage’s Funny Faces and their Magnetic Super Hero Dress Up Set. Last but certainly not least, Moulin Roty’s My Little Armoire features a tiny suitcase that opens to reveal a wardrobe containing two stuffed animals and a selection of little outfits to dress them in – too cute for words!
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 stories, 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.
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!
Books are the best! Tiny tots will delight in discovering what’s hiding under the flaps in the three beautiful board books included in Tiny Bee Gift Co’s Baby’s Box of Fun. Keep older children’s brains busy with Tiny Bee Gift Co’s My First Book of Why. It answers burning questions such as “Why do eyeglasses work?” and “Why do planes fly?”
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.
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.
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 ERRRYYTHIINGGG before you even make it to your first pit stop.
If anyone tries to tell me that eating isn’t an “activity”, I’ll conclude that 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 funny 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 Thinkbaby Thinkster of Steel.
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 in shiny wrapping 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!