How to Entertain Kids on Long Car Trips Without Video Games

With the right set of activities and games for kids, you can make the travel with kids much more fun for both parents and children. Whilst gadgets - video games, tablets or smartphones - are great for passing the time, there are lots of other non technology games and activities that are great to entertain kids during long car trips. For a fun car ride with kids, you need to prepare a variety of games.


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    Make it so that they can have travel activities that teach skills like drawing, writing, math, or other sciences.
    • A mini/travel white board and dry-erase felt pens
    • Some empty sheets of paper and printed coloring pages and a holder paper clipboard.
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    Teach them travel activities that help to stimulate creativity.
    • Play "Storytelling" or just involve everybody (except the driver) in telling/inventing the story. Start a story and when it reached a dramatic point, have someone else continue.
    • Play "Scavenger hunt".Have a list of things that need to be find during the trip and have everyone in the car( except the driver) look for them. The nice things is that with a bit of imagination you can adapt this game to your traveling stile and the and of your children.
    • Play "Do as I’m doing": Invite your kids to imitate you by doing funny things with your face, hands and arms. For example, try patting your nose or rubbing your belly three times, then see if she can do the same number of actions. Or create a sequence — nose touch, chin pat, cheek blow — and invite her to follow along. Then copy her as she creates her own (never mind the funny looks from fellow passengers). You can also play the “head shoulders knees and toes” song.
    • Mark the Miles: Before starting out on a long travel with kids you make a kids travel game. Hang little numbered tickets above each child’s car seat, one for every hour of the trip. This way they will be able to understand the concept of time and avoid questions like “Are we there yet?”. They will love to pull down the ticket when you’ll ask ‘Tickets, please!’, and if you want to- every time they hand over the ticket- you can reward their patience with some treats.
    • Give a challenge: Put some treats into paper bags labeled with an activity -like finding a specific landmark or license plate- that kids must do before opening the bag.
    • Make some noise: Why not throwing a party in the car? Play freeze dance by blasting the car stereo for a minute while everyone wriggles and boogies in their seat (except the driver!). When the music stops, freeze in place for a while and then start again. As a bonus the family will burn off some energy :-)
    • Make everything a surprise: Wrap everything in recycled newspapers or magazines, so that every new toy you hand over is a surprise. It does not matter if they played with the toy before, unwrapping something is always exciting for a kid.
    • Ask Who am I?: This is a great travel activity for kids because it requires no gear beyond an active mind. To play a kid-friendly version, think of a simple category, like “fruits”, “animals”, “family”, then pick something you want to be and offer three clues to your identity. For instance, “I’m orange, I’m hard, and rabbits love me. Who am I?” A carrot, of course. You can also pretend to be a member of the family and offer clues like “I’m tall, I’m older than…., and I wear glasses.”
    • Play with Clear Tape: I know this seems silly, but kids love it- I promise. If you’re worried about what they will stick it to, talk to them beforehand if there’s anything you don’t want stuck! The kids can color a little tape with black marker or pen and make a mustache or a beard, adding to their upper lip or chin. Or they can tape long strips across the whole back seat from window to window. They can even tape close some empty plastic container. Just give the kids their own roll of tape to do whatever they want with it.
    • Play with Paper Clips: Another super simple object that kids will love to play during family travel. They can make chains, necklaces, or open them up to make more structures. They can make a paper clips chain from one side of the car to the other, attaching them to the hand rails, and then hanging their toys from it. There are many fun things they’ll be able to do with paper clips.
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    Use technology in a smart way
    • Photography on the Move: If you trust them with it, give your preschooler your phone or (small) camera and let them take pictures of what you are traveling by.
    • Save your songs: Kids love to sing, and if you give them a smart phone or mic, they will love to tape their songs and play them back. Plus you’ll have some great (original) music for your family travel :-)
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    • Let them guide you: Give your preschooler a (spare) GPS or similar device and let her guide you. She will be very happy to play such a vital role in the trip, and she’ll get to practice her orientation skills. Make sure that from time to time you ask her “Are we going on the right way?” or “what do we need to do now?”
    • Tablets and smartphones: You don’t need me to tell you that these are great things to have with you. Make sure you have some movies they like and some fun and education apps, and use them in emergency situations :-)


  • wipes
  • Paper clips
  • Tape
  • zip lock bags

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Categories: Travel Tips