Road Trip Activities for Kids + Tips, Tricks, Snack Ideas, and More!
If you're looking for road trip activities for kids, I hope this post will serve as an amazing resource for you. First, be sure to follow my Road Trip Pinterest Board! When I find new activities, I pin them to this board!
Road Trip Tips
Start your trip in the evening. If you want to start the road trip off on a quiet note, wait until it's almost bed time before you leave. If the kids are really excited, you might want to take off right after dinner. This will give them a little time to enjoy their road trip games before sleeping soundly all night (haha.. if you're lucky).
Change up the seating arrangements. Hopefully you have someone to switch off with as far as driving goes. When one person is driving, the other can rotate seats with the older kids/teens so they get a chance to sit up front. If you're in a mini van, consider letting the kids switch seats at each rest stop.
Pack a camera for each kid. Purchase an inexpensive disposable camera for each kid, and let them use them during stops.
Stop as frequently as you need to. Try not to set a time limit on the road trip. I mean, I know you can't just be gone for weeks at a time (if you can, you're very fortunate!), but don't freak out if you don't get to your first destination in exactly 10 hours as planned. While traveling with kids, it's important to be a little less rigid with your travel times. Cranky kids = cranky momma… so stop when necessary.
Enjoy the trip. Sure, it can be stressful when traveling with kids… but you're creating memories. Make them good ones! I remember when we traveled to Branson (worst. trip. ever.), I about had a heart attack because of EVERYTHING going wrong. But still to this day, when the girls talk about the trip, they talk about visiting the Titanic Museum, and the scenery, and the Hollywood Wax Museum. They never mention that our vehicle broke down in the middle of nowhere, that we felt like we were sent back 50 years when we landed in Branson, and that I had a panic attack almost hourly. They remembered the good stuff… so just try to focus on the positive even if things don't go as planned.
Road Trip Snacks
I love these DIY travel snack bins. Not sure how effective they'd be for longer trips, though. I'd eat it all within the first hour.
Fruit – grapes, apples, oranges, etc
Cinnamon Roasted Nuts
Cheese blocks and crackers
Hummus and carrots, olives, celery, tomatoes, etc
Bread, peanut butter, and jelly for sandwiches
Cereal – Cheerios, Fruit Loops, etc. Try a cereal necklace.
Pretzels, Cheez-Its, chips
Fruit Snacks, Fruit by the Foot, Gushers
Popcorn (only for the older kids/adults)
Noise-Free Road Trip Activities for Kids
Road Trip Activity Book – This is a free printable download, and is awesome!
Moms Mini Van also has many free printables.
Printable Passports – This is cute if you're crossing through several states.
Printable License Plate Game – The girls and I are obsessed with license plates! There are lots of games you can play – write down “special” license plates when you see them, or count how many you can find from each state.
Scratch offs – This DIY scratch off is a great idea if the kids don't know where you're going. Print a page and leave clues under each scratch off portion. This link is an entire Road Trip Fun Folder.
Busy Bags – Mostly for toddlers
Print off some paper dolls – add magnets and they can play with them on the cookie sheets.
I Spy Bottles – Get creative and use alphabet pasta, or even colored rice. Save water or Gatorade bottles instead of buying new ones.
Pipe Cleaners and/or aluminum foil – shape into animals, vehicles, and more!
Window markers – These can keep kids busy for hours, because you can easily wipe the markers off! Use stencils to make it even more fun.
Road Trip Counter – and other printable activities from the Dating Divas
Dollar Store Lap Desk – This is a great way to keep everything in place instead of trying to draw/write without anything hard to stabilize the books.
Cootie Catchers – These annoy the crap out of me, but if you can stand the cootie catcher games… this is a free printable for one. :)
Paper Bag Crafts – You can make paper bag puppets ahead of time, or pack the supplies so the kids can make them.
Coloring Books, Crayons, Colored Pencils – make a DVD coloring case!
Printable Mad Libs – These can keep me busy all day. :)
Felt boards – This link takes you to tons of felt board ideas on Pinterest. Find some that will suit your child's needs/interests.
Mini Doll House – This is a bit ambitious, but I think it'd be fun for the kids.
Magnetic Puzzles – Awesome way to keep puzzles from getting too messy, and flying all over the vehicle.
Magnetic Play – More magnetic ideas!
Electronics for the win!
When all else fails, break out the electronics (don't forget headphones!). Whether it's a portable DVD player, book on CD, Nintendo DS, LeapPad, or an MP3 player… electronics like this can be life savers. Limit screen time to get the most out of the trip!
Our favorite electronics:
Sitting in the car is, for lack of a better word – boring. Extremely boring. When you hit the rest stops, get out and move! Do jumping jacks, squats, or even bring chalk so you can make a hop scotch board! Wearing the kids out at stops will help them rest easy while you're driving. If you have room, pack some volleyballs, soccer balls, etc.