22 Activities For Kids On Road Trips
Anyone who’s ever traveled with kids on a long trip knows their boredom can quickly make a long trip feel like an endless excursion. Save yourself a headache from getting asked 4 million times… “Are we there yet?” and possibly even your sanity by reading our list of 22 Activities For Kids On Road Trips. With just a little bit of planning, they can really make the trek fly by!
1. Magnetic/White Board Table
First things first, you’ll need a simple multipurpose table that even the most unsavvy DIY’er can manage from an old baking sheet. Find a metal baking sheet that’s past its prime (in your kitchen or thrift shop), cover the bottom with clear packing tape which is white board friendly and voila! With its magnetic and easily wipeable surface, you’ve just created the perfect platform for travel.
2. Tic Tac Toe*
Forget buying a book with Tic Tac Toe or even printing off sheets to use. With your newly created ‘White Board’, kids can draw their own templates. When you’re done, grab a baby wipe to clean it and it’s good as new.
3. Word Search*
You can buy a big book of Word Searches relatively cheap at a store or for added fun, create your own ‘themed’ searches that have to do with your trip here for free. Themes can include activities you plan on doing on the trip or facts about the states you’ll be traveling through. Even animal or color themes are fun!
There’s all kinds of variations to the traditional Bingo! From License Plate Boards to Customized Boards, if you’re game to play it, you can find it. Use magnets you have around the house as markers or make your own by cutting pieces of magnetic tape and coloring the tape side.
5. Sticker/Activity Book*
Kids love stickers so why not let them decorate the other side of their multi-purpose table with them? Activity books are always a big hit as well and can be tailored for age. Find them at your store’s dollar section or your neighborhood dollar store to save money.
6. Coloring Book*
Coloring books are a long standing favorite for a reason… you don’t outgrow them. Pack crayons, markers or colored pencils in a 3 ring pencil pouch and store in your binder. BONUS: The sides on the baking sheet will keep the crayons & markers from rolling away!
7. Alphabet Game
A fun and completely FREE game! The Alphabet game not only entertains but helps reinforce the alphabet’s order to younger kids. There’s different variations on how to play and depending on your scenery, one might make more sense than the other. Not sure how to play? Click here and here for alternating ways.
8. Scavenger Hunt*
Another FREEBIE! Create a list ahead of time or while you’re on the road. Make the lists as easy and difficult as possible.
9. Dots and Boxes Game*
You can print them off ahead of time here or simply make your own on the white board you created from the baking sheet!
10. Mad Lib*
Mad Libs are fun and easy to play with the whole family. Buy Mad Lib books ahead of time or print FREE ones off here.
11. 20 Questions
Another oldie but goodies, 20 Questions lasts as long as you can come up with a subject and with the ability to make the item you’re thinking about both age appropriate and kid friendly, it’s clear why it’s a family favorite.
12. Let Them Navigate
We know, it sounds insane but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re in a neck of the woods that you’re relatively familiar with or already know how to navigate, let your kids ‘tell’ you step by step instructions to guide the vehicle either off your phone’s gps or pre-printed directions. The kids will love being in charge and you’ll be helping them learn better how to follow step by step instructions!
13. Take Pictures
This might be another one that seems far fetched but if you trust your kids with your phone (or even better have an older phone that can take pictures) they love playing photographer. Want some added fun? Let them text it to a grandparent or whoever you’re on your way to visit! If they really love taking photos, you might consider investing in a kid’s camera that can handle getting dropped or if they’re ready for it, buy a real camera to use.
Any parent knows that Play-doh can entertain kids for hours so the real question becomes… how can you transport Play-doh without getting it everywhere in your vehicle? Back to the kitchen for a muffin tin! They’re great for holding different play-doh colors, their containers and whatever accessories you want to add in (scissors, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, golf tees, etc).
15. I Spy Jar
Take a clean, empty jar or bottle, add any assortment of items to it (button, toy car, letters, crayon, beads, etc) and then fill with rice, grain or sand. Feeling a little more creative? Try adding food coloring to your rice, grain or sand!
Journals are a fantastic way for kids to collect memories along your journey! Older kids can write about fun stops or sights they encountered, what they loved most about each leg of the trip or even what they missed while they were gone. If your children are younger, they can still take part in a diary. Instead of a lined journal, get them one with blank pages and they can draw their memories out instead of writing.
17. Books on Tape
Adults love them, so why not kids? Apps such as Audible allow you to download books to play on your phone, tablet or computer. Or visit your local library to check some out for FREE! You might be surprised to find they even have ones online that you can download as well.
Portable DVD players or vehicles with their own DVD players are incredibly convenient and let’s be honest, they get the job done. For parents who don’t mind some screen time, movies make the trip go A LOT faster for your youngsters. Family favorites plus a brand new movie make it even better. Some car rental companies, like Broadmoor Motors, have DVD players available for rent as well.
19. Create a Story Together*
The whole family can participate in this one, including the driver! All you need is a little imagination to create a story that everyone helps shape. Go around the vehicle, with each person adding 2 sentences. You can limit the times it goes around the car or just see where it ends naturally. Want everyone to create their own but want to get them started in the same direction? Try these easy story starters.
20. White Board Markers
You already have the whiteboard you created from your packing tape covered baking sheet and the white board markers so why not let them draw freestyle for a while. Remember those baby wipes make clean up a snap.
21. Count the Times
Another one to tailor for your scenery and age of children, Count the Times you see a certain object or word. For example, if you’re driving along country roads you might say cow or chicken. If you’re driving through a city, perhaps the name of the city on signs or names of businesses.
22. Your Favorite Board Games
Bring your favorite board games along but without all the clutter by printing off your boards and utilizing your magnetic table to play! Monopoly, Sorry, Chutes & Ladders or Yahtzee are great examples we found on this thrifty blog, plus great tips on how to store it all.
*Activities can be kept in your 3 Ring Binder for convenient easy storage
- Metal Baking Sheet
- Packing Tape
- Magnets or Magnetic Tape
- White Board Markers
- Baby Wipes
- 3 Ring Binder
- 3 Ring Pencil Holder
- Plastic Sheet Protectors
- Crayons/Colored Pencils/Markers
- Muffin Tin
- DVD Player & Movies
- Books on Tape
- Printed Board Games & Pieces