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 5 Fun Activities to Keep Kids Occupied on a Road Trip

5 Fun Activities to Keep Kids Occupied on a Road Trip

Posted by Jenna S. on 4th May 2022

You’re headed off for a vacation and plan on road tripping your way to your destination. It’s going to be a long drive and you’ve got a row of kids in the backseat to keep entertained. We’ve been there and we know how stressful it can be! So, to put your mind at ease, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips to keep your kids interested, quiet, and have them too distracted to ever ask “are we there yet?”

#1 Play Road Trip Games

Car games are a lot of fun and most do not require more than a piece of paper and pencil, or your thinking cap:

  • 20 Questions - A game of creativity and being clever. Take turns thinking of nouns that keeps everyone guessing. Keep score for a little competition or play for fun!
  • What am I counting? - One person picks an object that they see out the window and starts counting out loud every time they see one. Everyone else has to figure out what it could be.
  • Scavenger hunt - Make a list of vehicles, signs, and objects ahead of time that they have to discover during the drive. First to shout it out gets the points and crosses it off their list.
  • License plate game - Keep an eye on license plates and try to find every letter of the alphabet and every number. First one wins!
  • Hangman - All you need is a pen and paper and a little creativity.

#2 Listen to a New Audiobook

Audiobooks are a great way to pass time in the car, and may actually keep your children quiet for an extended period. Many children’s books are also entertaining for adults, so try to choose a book that everyone in the family will enjoy. Free downloadable audiobooks can be found here:

Additionally, paid options can give you broader selections on demand. Check out SCRIBD for endless entertainment and knowledge.

Audiobooks can be streamed from online platforms, but you may be in cell-service deadzones, so be sure to download them directly to your phone. If you do not have access to the internet, check out your local library. Nearly all libraries have CDs and cassette tapes you can check out.

#3 Watch Movies or Play Video Games

Limiting your child’s screen time is a noble ideal, but there's a time and place to make exceptions to this practice. A quiet and fight-free car ride can easily be achieved if you allow for a little extra TV time. Not all cars are equipped with media players, so consider the below methods to get the movie reel running:

  • Portable DVD or Blu-Ray player
  • Tablet with downloaded movies from a streaming service such as Netflix
  • Phone with download movies from Netflix
  • Laptop with downloaded movies
  • Stream movies on your portable device with a hot spot

Whether it’s a new, dedicated handheld video game console or some games on your smartphone, these too can help ease the drive and give your kids something fun to keep them busy.

#4 Draw, Sketch, or Color

This activity can keep kids busy and entertained. Although drawing and coloring seems like a no-brainer, consider how easily kids will get bored with just a coloring book and crayons in their lap. Give them ideas of what to create using the vacation destinations you will visit on your trip (draw a theme park, the Grand Canyon, the best beach day, etc.). Here is a list of essential art products to bring on the road:

  • Case for housing all their art supplies. Backpacks are a great choice for holding all your kid’s supplies. Check out kiddietotes for fun packing options
  • Table that snaps onto car seat: Find it here
  • Washable markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Stickers

Leave the crayons at home as it doesn’t take much for a little sun and a warm car to turn your box of crayons into a beautifully psychedelic brick of wax.

#5 Take breaks often

Even if no one claims they need to use the bathroom, try to stop every two hours to get out,stretch your legs, and let the kids get some energy out for a few minutes. Here are a few places to easily take a break from being on the road:

  • Stop at a shop for an ice cream cone, a drink, or a little snack. If you really need to tire them out, many fast-food restaurants have kid playlands where they can burn off some steam.
  • Utilize rest stops for their open spaces to walk around. If you are traveling with a dog, this is the best place to let your furry friend do their business (remember to bring poop bags). A luggage scooter is great for taking out of the car and exploring the rest stop
  • Find a local neighborhood park. There likely is a nice community park within just a few miles from where you are that have playgrounds. If you have a luggage scooter, this is a great place to scoot around. Use this site to find a nearby park wherever you are.
  • Gas stations are a must stop when on a road trip. Take the time when filling up to get everyone out of the car to walk around, use the bathroom, and possibly get a snack.

Keeping kids occupied while on a road trip will keep them distracted and direct their pent up energy. Taking the time to plan ahead before you leave for your trip will help ensure everyone has a good time and your vacation starts on the right foot.

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