Road Trip Activities for Kids to Stop Boredom and Save Your Sanity
This post was most recently updated on May 12th, 2021
When I was a kid my family moved from Oregon to Texas. It was a LONG, long drive full of fights with my brothers and driving my parents nuts. Still, my mom did a great job planning things for us to do in the car. We had electronics, crafts and games that kept us busy. I wish I had pictures of those embroidery burlap kits she made us that consisted of brightly colored yarn and a big sewing needle. My brother and I took turns playing football on a little handheld device that was really basic but that entertained us for hours.
We may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Besides plenty of snacks so the kids don’t get hungry, you need to plan for fun things to do to break up the drive.
Pin for later:
Road Trip Ideas for Kids
Road Trip Idea #1: Always bring a blanket. Kids get cold and if they’re anything like mine, she sleeps better if she has a blanket and stuffed animal (which can double as a pillow).
Road Trip Idea 2#: Bring a bag of stickers, things to color and small games. Add things like pipe cleaners and Wicki Stix. They are bendy and come in many colors. You can make them into jewelry, stick figures and more. My mom was a 2nd grade teacher and always has these on hand for the grandkids. It uses their imagination and are lightweight and easy to pack – no batteries or charge needed.
Road Trip Idea #3: play car games.
License plate game -You try to find license plates from every state. When you find one, check it off your list. Work as a team in the car, or individually.
Alphabet game – look for the alphabet on freeway signs and the first person to get to Z wins.
Animal game – The animal game goes like this (2 person game). Each person takes a side of the road. When you pass animals, like cows, you count them. But watch out! If you spot a cemetery on your side of the road you have to bury all the animals and start over at 0. The person with the most animals counted wins.
Road Trip Idea #4: bring snacks and a water bottle for each kid. I like to have GoGurts, cucumber slices, apple sauce and string cheese on hand. Bring a compact car cooler to hold all the snacks.
The worst is when you’re nowhere close to a restaurant or gas station and the kids are starving. Or, you find a place to eat but a big tour bus barely beats you to the line at Wendy’s.
We also get something new to play with that don’t require our input or help.
More Activities for Kids While Traveling
Here are a few more ideas for you…perfect not only for road trips, but for long plane rides too.
Sewing Kit for Kids
A quiet activity that will keep the kids occupied and the noise level down. We love these needlepoint kits and craft kits.
Handheld Video Game like Nintendo
Please note, we were given a DS from Nintendo, 2 games, a gift card for another game, plus a fun pizza dinner by the brand.
This week we went to a Nintendo event with bloggers and it was so fun! We got to try out the new Nintendo 2DS XL. My daughter LOVES it and I’m thinking this will be great for some trips we have coming up this summer and for those long plane rides! There’s so much nostalgia with this brand. My son Bjorn had his DS for years but unfortunately just sold off the last of his games, because his old games would fit this new version! I really like the idea of downloading games so we can’t lose them or have to bring them everywhere (but you can’t resell them later).
Just remember you’ll probably want a case, game holder, headphones and car charger. My fingers are too big to easily type on the small keyboard. It does come with one stylus. Headphones are essential and the fact that no one has to share. Perfect for the airplane too.
Here’s a little bit more about the new DS:
Has a larger screen
Plays Netflix, Hulu and YouTube
Has parental controls
Works with any DS game, even older ones
Some games are only available through their eshop
Physical games are easier if you have more than one person using the DS because you can share them but downloadables mean you don’t have to carry them with you (and can’t lose them).
Spot It! On the Road Game
Water Wow Books
These activity books are the best! You just need to refill it with water to “draw” on the pages. You just fill the “pens” with water and draw. It reveals patterns that go away when the water dries. No mess! We take these to church. We love Water Wow and other Melissa & Doug products. They’re so well done and we’ve never gone wrong with this brand.
Another thing that sets this apart from coloring books is that they’re reusable.
- Melissa & Doug, 100% happiness guarantee: We design every toy to the highest quality standards, and to nurture minds and hearts; if your child is not inspired, give us a call and we’ll make it right; our phone number is on every product.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle that Fits in the Cup Holder
We can’t live without these stainless steel water bottles in the summer. Fill it with ice and water – it stays cold for hours and conveniently fits in the cup holder so it won’t spill. I buy a 64 ounce or gallon jug so I can easily refill the smaller ones that fit into the cup holder. We like these Smart Flask Stainless Steel Water Bottle.
Back of the Seat Car iPad Holder or Video Player
These iPad holders or video players are lifesavers for car rides! Just be sure you have headphones. Just make sure you have everything charged up, downloaded and ready to go before you leave the house. Saves your kids neck and your sanity.
That’s it. What do you do on road trips? Please share your tips in the comments.
And before we go, here’s a laugh from The Holderness Family. Their video is about traveling pre-kids and traveling with kids. Remind yourself, this is not a vacation, it’s a trip. Have fun!
Shipping is free with Amazon Prime or with a qualifying $25+ purchase. My link gives you 30 days free. Plus, if you’re staying at a hotel and there’s Prime Food service, it’s a lifesaver!! They’ll deliver even refrigerated foods and it’ll cost a lot less than the restaurant plus be available for more hours of the day.