5 Ways To Keep Kids Occupied On Road Trips

“Are we there yet?”

“Are we there yet?”

“Are we there yet?”

Sound familiar? It’s the inevitable question parents have to eventually answer during the family road trip. Usually, the answer is “No.”

Keeping kids entertained on road trips may seem impossible, but there are a handful of ways to keep them actively engaged on a car ride, that don’t involve an iPad. They might even want to stay in the car after you’ve arrived to your destination.

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Stop to Play

Little ones have lots of energy. If you notice that your kiddo is getting restless in his car seat, plan to make a stop at a rest stop or park so that he can expel his energy through play. Bring along a soccer ball or some toys and spend 15 to 30 minutes running around and playing. After playtime, he should be feeling more at-ease and he might even take a nap.

Bring Snacks, Lots of Snacks

Not having snacks on hand can lead to hunger-induced tantrums and grumpy fits. Make sure that your little one is fueled and happy by bringing plenty of snacks on your road trip. Bring along a portable cooler to keep carrots, celery, apple and orange slices fresh.

You can even turn snack time into craft time by bringing along pipe cleaners or string and box Fruit Loops cereal. Your kiddo can enjoy a snack and make something beautiful by stringing the cereal onto the pipe cleaner.

Listen to a Story

Older kids who are fans of “Harry Potter” may want to bring a copy of their favorite book along for the car ride, however, they might not actually read the story. Scientists and doctors agree that reading inside of a moving vehicle can cause motion sickness, with unpleasant symptoms including nausea and eye-strain. This could make reading hard for your kiddo. However, you can still experience Harry’s story; by listening to it. Digital downloads or CDs of your children’s favorite stories can keep them entertained throughout the entire journey. For example, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is told in 8 hours and 17 minutes.

Draw on the Windows

How often to your children get to write on the walls at home or draw on the windows? The answer is probably, never, of course — unless it’s an accident (or you have a chalkboard wall). On your next road trip, encourage your kiddos to draw on the car windows. They’ll have fun creating colorful scribbles on the glass. Just make sure to leave the permanent markers at home. Crayola offers a set of washable window markers that won’t leave a mess behind.

Take Turns Behind The Wheel

When boredom strikes, young kids aren’t the only ones who will be getting restless in the car. After hours of driving, your teen will be getting antsy, too. Prior to your road trip, encourage your teen to study for their driver’s exam. Online resources like Top Tests, for example, offer mock theory tests that quiz your child on similar questions they may see on their exam. Teens can apply for a provisional driving license at age 15 and U.K. teens can start driving when they are 17 years old. If your teen is driving age, you can take turns driving and showing her the rules of the road. Road trips are a prime time to practice.

What traveling with kids tips would you add? 



Parenting, Travel

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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

18 comments on “5 Ways To Keep Kids Occupied On Road Trips”

  1. I use to also bring coloring/activity books and when we finally got a tablet, we brought that along too.

    • Those are great things to bring along. Tablets are a wonderful thing!

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  2. Great ideas!! We learned that when we’re going on a trip, bring the DVD player, movies and a headset! No “are we there yet”, no “I’m bored” and we don’t have to listen to “their” music!! PERFECT!!!

    • Those are important items to take on a trip. They definitely keep kids quietly entertained on trips. Thanks for sharing your tips with us.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

    • Books are a wonderful thing! Games are always a wonderful thing.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

    • I’m glad you found some suggestions that may help you out. Your right road trips with a toddler are always interesting. (Of course, on my last road trip it was my boys that were driving me insane. My three-year-old was good as gold.)

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  3. I have not heard of the window markers before! What a great idea! I will need to get those next time. my boys would love it! Great post with practical ideas!
    Visiting today from the Living Proverbs 31 Link-Up!

    • I hope it works for you when you go on your next trip. It can’t hurt to try it.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

  4. oooo drawing on the windows! I never thought about that! We have them for the house, but I hadn’t thought about taking them in the car. Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂 Linking up with you from The Life of Faith link party.

    -Heather @ Milkmomology

    • I’m glad that I gave you another idea to consider.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  5. Some great ideas here. We took our kids (4, 2 and 8 months) on their first long car journey last month to Wales – 4 hours in the car. We were woefully unprepared, and was pulling our hair out by the end of it! Love the idea of the pens, although my 4 year old has to sit in the middle so wouldn’t be able to do that. Thanks for linking up to #SuperparentSaturday x

    • I’m glad you found some ideas that may help you out some at least. My child who sits in the middle, give him a play steering wheel and he literally becomes a back seat driver. (He has an all important job of driving and telling us what direction we are supposed to go. He’s 8 and now has great navigational skills and takes his job really seriously.)

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  6. Great tips here! My daughter behaves better when we have snacks in the car and songs to sing to and my son enjoys playing on his tablet. It has taken us years to get it right (plus, they’ve grown a bit in that time ;-))


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