We have several road trips planned this summer and I’ve found some tried and true activities for my girls to do in the car to keep them busy for long stints. We use a lot of these activities for long plane rides too. Now, don’t get me wrong, we also charge up the Ipads so they can watch movies (here’s Rotten Tomatoes list of 100 best family movies), but we like to mix it up a bit and I like to have periods of “no screen time” when traveling long distances. Here are a few of our favorite activities:
1. Audio Books/Playaways
My girls love to load up on books for road trips but sometimes they get car sick when reading too long. We have found audio books that work for the whole family – our favorite to date is Kate DiCamillo’s “Because of Winn Dixie,” (and admittedly, I may have started crying while listening in the front seat, ahem) but we’ve also enjoyed “Harriet the Spy” and the “Harry Potter Series,” to name a few.
Also, our local public library has “playaways” that we can checkout which allow the girls to listen to their own audio books without an iphone or mp3 player. You simply provide headphones – and you may need to replace the AAA battery.
2. Car Bingo
Last year Santa brought each girl a Travel Bingo Board from World Market and this has been fun for even the youngest traveler (our 5-year-old) who is still learning to read. They love to play together. You can also can print a free car bingo board here! (Also, keep reading because one of the giveaway options includes a travel bingo too)
3. Mad Libs
Mad libs are a classic that keep my kids busy and even though they can get super goofy – they are educational too. Plus, the parents can participate as well. And yes, this is one of those times were we let them use “poop” in every way possible – a verb, a noun, an adjective?
4. Pipe Cleaners and Bead Bracelets
Sometimes we bring along a Tupperware full of beads and pipe cleaners for my kids to get their craft on while driving long distances. Bonus is that they can share the bracelets as gifts for cousins or friends once we get to our destination.
5. Edible Necklaces
We also occasionally indulge in a box of fruit loops or other “O” shaped cereal – perfect for stringing and then snacking!
6. Book of Jokes or Riddles
Last year for my afternoon of driving 5th & 6th grade carpool, I purchased a book of riddles that the kids adored reading aloud. I would often challenge them to find more riddles before my day to drive the following week. I ended up keeping the book in the car, and my girls would break it out during longer car trips too. Here’s a link to some other fun kid-friendly riddles at kidspot.
7. Make a Trip Notebook
For bigger trips, I give each child a new notebook and let them draw pictures, put in stickers, take notes, tape in tickets or other discoveries from our trip. Later, we sometimes add pictures from the trip for a fun keepsake.
8. New Activity Books
Before big trips, we often head to our local Parent Teacher store or craft store to get some new activity books. Recently, we got a new Extreme dot-to-dot, a paint by sticker book and a Highlights Hidden Picture Book that the girls love using in the car. (Secret tip: I only let the girls use these in the car which makes them extra special on road trips)
9. Dry Erase Markers & Boards
Let the kids create their own travel Pictionary or simply doodle. They can also write on the car windows with dry erase markers – toss an old glove in the bag that they can wear and use as an eraser!
10. Tava Adventures Travel Kit
Tava Adventures creates adorable travel guides and kits for kids who love to adventure. The cards are beautiful, colorful, educational and fun. The travel guides focus on specific cities (London, Paris, New York) or more general travel themes like the road trip games and an airplane kit. These are fun way to keep kids curious and engaged.
Giveaway: (This giveaway is closed) In honor of week 3 of The Wandering Rumpus Summer Launch Party, Tava Adventures has generously offered one travel kit to a Wandering Rumpus reader. To enter, simply visit the Tava Adventures shop page and tell me which kit you would love to win in the comments of this blog post. Then, head over to Instagram for another entry! Entries will be accepted until midnight Thursday. You must comment on THIS post to receive an entry! Good luck and happy summer adventures!