This post: ‘travel activities for kids’ will come in handy for parents who are planning a vacation or family trip together with their children.
Family vacations are interesting, fun, and create lasting memories for family members.
However, traveling with kids, especially on a long journey could be tiring. Sometimes, some parents can lose their patience and sanity.
So before you hit the road, here is a collection of advice on how to keep your kids engaged and entertained during long trips. You can employ these tried and true tips and enjoy a wonderful family trip with your kids.
You can use these tips for planes, trains, and car trips. They can also be used to pass time in the waiting room.
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How To Plan Kids Travel Activities And Games
Failure to plan is planning to fail when it comes to family road trips. Hunger and boredom mar the fun of family road trips; so, you have to plan for ways to ward off both of these proactively using healthy snacks, and travel games & activities for kids.
You can travel with a laptop and allow the kids to watch movies but this might still not be enough. They might be bored and grumpy when you arrive.
This is why you have to plan for other activities apart from movies. They will be more engaged doing creative activities inside the car, plane, or train.
There will be fewer crazy stirs and grumpiness when you finally arrive at your destination.
The first step in planning interesting travel activities for kids is to make a list for each child that is going on the trip and write down the activities they love doing.
These games and activities should be appropriate for their age levels.
Then go ahead and make everything on your list available. You can buy some games or make some and put them in reusable grocery bags for each hour of the trip.
You can also put a couple of storage caddies on the floor below the kids so that they can store activities when they are not using them. This will cut down on drive mess disasters that drive most parents crazy.
Put healthy snacks in separate reusable bags and carry paper sandwich bags along where you will dish the snacks out to the children.
When you do all these, you will notice that your family trip will be calm, quiet, and fun. All the kids will be happy.
Healthy Travel Snack Suggestions
Hunger is one of the fastest things that can end a child’s good mood. This is why you need to travel with snacks, especially if you are not a fan of stopping to get food on the road.
It is even healthier and less expensive to make your own snacks.
You can pre-make and pack your food for the whole trip if possible. And you also need pre-made healthy snacks in the car.
Some healthy snacks you can take and carry along are:
- Baked snacks
- Boiled eggs
- Pre-made meatballs and beef jerky
- Homemade energy bars
- Homemade trail mix
- Fruits and veggies like cucumbers
- Cheese cubes
- Celery sticks
- Carrot sticks
- Water bottles for each child, etc.
Interesting Travel Activities For Babies
Thankfully, babies sleep most of the time but when they wake up, they will need some activities too to keep them from crying.
Get your baby some toys and keep them in a car seat back organizer so you or the older kids can hand them to him/her when needed.
1. Wooden animals
Get your baby these eco-friendly wooden animals to play with and teeth on.
2. Wooden teethers
If your baby is teething and would likely disturb on the journey due to this, get him/her these Montessori inspired wooden teethers.
3. Flashcard notebook
This keeps babies entertained for a while, they can even look at the mirror on this and even chew on it more than they will play with it.
Get your baby traveling flash card notebook.
4. Car seat mirror
With this simple mirror, your baby can see you if you are in the front seat. Your baby will have more to look at than just the back of the seat.
They would also smile at themselves in the mirror.
5. Silicone teether
Did your baby just hit the teething stage? Buy this silicone teether, it has enough texture to soothe his/her gums and he/she can hold onto it by themselves.
Interesting Travel Activities For Younger Kids
If you don’t want to get asked more than a million times: “Mom, are we there yet?” Then make use of these tips and save your sanity. Here are some travel games and activities children love.
In this list, you will find interesting games for non-readers.
1. Tape activity set
Do your kids love tape and always try to get into your tapes? Get this tape activity book when going on a long journey with them. They will make arts and shapes with tape and love every second of this craft.
It will take their minds off the journey and keep their hands busy.
2. Scratch-art activity set
This looks simple but it keeps younger kids entertained for hours. Get this simple and small notepad, it comes with a wooden stick which your kids will use to scratch off ink instead of using crayons or markers that can melt.
3. Felt sticker notebook
Little children will love this small notebook with felt stickers.
4. Fashion designer notebook
If your kids love fashion designing, you can get each of them this small notebook that allows little children to design outfits for tiny dolls.
5. Origami kit
Get this fun activity set when embarking on a long trip with your kids. Apart from keeping them entertained and busy, it will also teach them basic origami.
6. Magic ink notebook
Don’t be afraid of it creating a mess, it only shows up on a special paper and not on your car seats. Little children love this and it will keep their hands and minds busy during the trip.
Buy this colorless ink set and the special paper to keep your little ones entertained.
7. Water wow ink
This is a favorite activity for many little children. It makes use of a small pen that you fill with water and give your children. The pen makes the color appear on the pages and the color disappears when the pages get dried.
This keeps them happy and excited for hours. Get your water wow ink here.
8. Scratch-art doodle pad
This is another fun way for kids to draw during travel without ink or staining your car. With this fun scratch art doodle pad, all they have to do is scratch off a top layer of the ink to reveal the glitter and color underneath.
This makes them happy as they get surprised with beautiful colors and glitters.
9. Reusable sticker pads
Little children love and use stickers a lot. Get this reusable sticker pad for each of them. The stickers will only stick on the pages and not on the windows or other parts of the car.
These stickers are also reusable. This means they can use it many times and even when returning from the trip. They can also take turns with it if you got just a set.
Get them this face reusable sticker pad to make it more fun.
10. Colors by numbers
Kids aged 4 to 6 can use this activity but children younger than this can’t handle real markers.
Colors by number pads keep children busy and entertained for hours.
11. Magna doodle
Another fun and a no-mess way to keep kids entertained and busy in the car is to give them a magna doodle to draw.
Interesting Travel Activities For Older Kids
Please note that sometimes older children are more difficult to entertain than younger kids.
This happens because they need more mental stimulation and they have to be more involved in activities that can be tough to facilitate in the car.
However, this list of travel games and activities for kids will be loved by even older children (kids above 6).
1. Legos on lego trays with a mesh bag
If your children love playing with legos, then get some to keep their hands and minds busy in the car. But legos can be messy.
If you don’t want the mess, get these lego trays, children can put them on their laps without losing the pieces. You can get each child a tray and a mesh bag stocked with their favorite legos.
This will keep them building for hours.
Buy big bags and bulk legos and a new set for each older child when going on a long trip.
2. A map of the drive
This is one of the favorite travel activities for older kids. It also teaches them an important life skill – map reading.
Highlight your route and allow them to follow along if you are using “TripTik” books. If you are using Google Maps, print out the map of your drive.
Then give them a notebook and pen to follow along with.
3. An atlas
Older children also love this travel activity for kids. Get them several types of Atlases and learning books that they can read along the way.
Some favorite atlases you can get are The National Geographic Ultimate Kids Roadtrip Atlas and the Rand McNalley Kids Atlas.
The National Geographic US Parks Guide is also good and has a list of places they will love to visit after reading it. Wacky Roadside Attractions is also a good read for older children.
4. R2D2 Bop it
This electronic toy is a huge hit for long trips. It is similar to the regular Bop It game.
You can get this one here, it is small and looks like R2D2 from Star Wars and it doesn’t make noise.
5. Travel Bingo
A must-have when going on long trips with children is Travel Bingo Cards. It will keep them busy for a couple of hours.
Travel bingo cards have common sights that they will see on the trip. The children will mark them off to get “Bingo”.
6. Travel Activity Book
This travel book is filled with activities older kids will love. It has hours and hours of activities. This will keep their minds busy and engaged during the trip.
7. Mystery decoder sets
If your older child loves mysteries, you can get him/her Hardy Boys or this mystery travel pad. And if you have more money, you can get the two to keep them entirely engaged throughout the trip.
8. Would you rather/You gotta be kidding
Give them these two card games to play while on the trip. It will make the whole journey fun and even bring up some hilarious discussions with them. Here are more fun ‘would you rather’ questions.
9. Rory’s story cubes
This is one of the hottest travel games for kids. They are convenient to travel with, easy to learn how to play, and the cubes can fit perfectly into a small pouch and you can tuck this pouch into a handbag or backpack.
When playing, your kids roll the dice and tell a story based on the pictures facing upward on the dice after rolling it. It’s a multiplayer game and kids can even play it on their own too.
One thing we like about this game is that there are no wrong answers. It gets creative juices flowing in kids and every time it is played, different and funny tales are told.
10. Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win License Plate Game
Get the Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win License Plate Game and put them in your car. It comes in handy during long family car trips.
It is made of wood and thereby it feels so solid. Kids can log all of the different state license plates they see along the way.
This board helps children spot each state’s license plate design and it also shows the state capitals across the US. It is an interesting form of edutainment.
We hope you’ve learned a lot on how to keep children’s minds and hands active during family travels. If you have any other suggestions, please let us know in the comment section.
If you travel a lot with your family, then you have to constantly research and refine these travel activities and games for kids because your children’s age, personality, and interests will change over time.
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