How to Keep Kids Entertained While Traveling

Nothing is harder than trying to occupy kids while traveling, whether the trip is by land, air or sea.  Here are a few tips for keeping the little ones busy and entertained while traveling.

Be Creative with Travel Games

A little creativity goes a long way in keeping kids busy and happy on those long trips.

  • Travel Bingo: Create your own using poster board, markers and rulers to make a trip appropriate game.  Simply create a do it yourself Bingo board, complete with trip relevant squares. For example, if driving through the mountains,  place pictures or words of related topics, such as stream, mountains and deer. Create a trip specific Bingo cards and make copies for mistakes or extra games.  Younger kids who can’t yet read can also play by the use of pictures instead of words.
  • I Spy: This age old travel game is great for toddlers and younger kids. The only supplies needed are a parent as a guide and imagination.  Simply find an item that every young players can locate, such as a road sign.  If drink a city route, state, ” I spy something red”. This will allow the youngster to find a car, fire station or sign that matches the clue. Remember to explain the rules of the game before playing to avoid confusion.
  • Letter Game: Simply write down every letter of the alphabet on poster paper, big enough even for little ones to see. Simply have them mark off letters as they see them on signs, buildings or even license plates. To make the game more complicated for older children, write down words that they might see along the way and have them play Word Game instead of Letter Game. Ensure that your words are trip appropriate.  Words on a cruise vacation will of course differ greatly than one touring the Rocky Mountains.
  • Free printable road trip games: There are countless sites that can be used to print and create free travel games to keep kids occupied. While most are pre made games, some sites allow the user to add information or alter parts of the games to fit needs. Why not try the simple Road sign Games, which keep kids occupied while teaching them about highway safety. Or try printing  out Road Trip Scrabble – an on the go version of the popular board game.

Technology Activities

  • Audio books: Occupy the kids by letting them listen to audio books. If you are short on cash due to travel expenses, there are sites online that offer free audio books for adults and kids alike. Let the children vote on a title they want to hear and enjoy the silence while they listen to their favorite story.
  • YouTube:  YouTube abounds with free kids audio books  or episodes of the little one’s favorite TV shows. A laptop or tablet might be a better idea so all kids can see it, rather than a cell phone. Designate a viewing spot in the back seat or designate one kid to be the laptop holder so all can see the video.
  • In Car Video System: Whether your car came supplied with an in car video player or you have purchased and mounted one, rely on this handy device to make those long trips that much easier. Kids will argue, so decide beforehand which videos they want to take along for the trip. Have a list of questions handy to ask about their favorite movie to have movie time turn into education time. Kids will be active watchers and listener if they know questions are to follow.

These are just a few ideas that can keep children busy during travel. The sky is the limit with ideas, so be creative and above all else, have fun.

Joellen Turley

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