Keeping kids entertained on a family road trip doesn’t have to be a headache; it’s actually one of the most valuable opportunities for you and your children to bond. It’s easy to stick a phone in front of your kids, and let’s be honest – that’s probably what they’d want too. But why not see this as a chance to some spend quality time together? With these road-tested strategies up your sleeve, you can turn what would be a boring drive into wonderful memories, making the journey just as fun as the destination.
We think you’ll like: On the road again: Classic American road trip movies to inspire your next adventure
Play Conversation Games
There are so many games you can play together when you get creative. From old favorites like ‘I Spy’, to other fun games like ‘Would you Rather’ or the Alphabet Game. There are quite a few good options on this list. Conversation games are irresistible to kids (who, frankly, usually like to lead the conversation themselves), can lead to serious laughs. Encourage everyone in the family to participate, and you could turn a silent drive (with the kids glued to screens) into a journey filled with laughter and fun.
Pack a Travel Activity Bag
Prepare a special bag filled with age-appropriate activities: coloring books, crayons, puzzles, lego, sticker books, small toys, etcetera. Encourage your kids to choose their favorite items, allowing them to take ownership of their entertainment. This helps them build their own interests and follow their natural curiosity. Like some other options on this list, this is somewhat dependant on your kids’ ages. But if done right, these road trip activities are great at keeping your kids entertained while opening up their creative, curious minds.
Audiobooks and Podcasts
More modern family road trip ideas for keeping kids entertained include utilizing audiobooks and podcasts. Whether it’s a thrilling adventure or a fascinating educational topic, audio entertainment can captivate your kids’ imagination and make the hours fly by. Try find something you can listen to all together by playing it through the car stereo or sharing headphones if you’re on a coach. Listening to a great story together can be just as riveting as watching a show – and you’ll all become immersed in the narrative together. Try to encourage discussions and ask questions to keep your kids engaged.
We think you’ll like: 8 of the best podcasts to listen to on your road trip
Snack Time Fun
There are even ways of keeping kids entertained through food. And let’s be honest, the best family road trips always include good snacks. Try introduce fun and interactive snacks like homemade trail mix or build-your-own sandwiches. You could involve your kids in the process and get them to help make the trail mix beforehand, or get them to make a sandwich for someone else in the family. It creates a nice atmosphere when everyone in the family lovingly makes something for someone else.
Road Trip Playlist
Create a roadtrip playlist filled with family favorites and let the music set the tone for a fun journey. Prepare big sing alongs and songs that get your kids dancing in their seats. You could get your kids to create their own playlists or take turns being the DJ, letting them take ownership of the family roadtrip fun.
We think you’ll like: Our Ultimate American Road Trip Playlist
Tell some stories together
Storytelling is one of our top road trip tips for families. It makes the hours fly by, encourages your kids’ creativity, and can create some serious laughs. You can spin your own tales, but its even more fun to try and make up stories together. You could start it off, but then let your kids’ take turns in adding to the story. Let their imaginations to run wild and encourage them to make the stories as interesting as possible. This interactive activity will spark their curiosity and can keep them engaged throughout the whole trip. Create new characters together, think of new places, worlds, time periods, and storylines. Try to work as a team to make the story exciting, and encourage everyone in the family to join in.
Breaks for outdoor exploration
Plan regular breaks at scenic spots or parks along the way. Let your children stretch their legs, run around, and burn off some energy. It also gives you a chance to to take a break from driving. Seeing new sights and landscapes together is a great way of keeping kids entertained. You could take a picnic in a forest, stop by some mountains, or even explore a little village or two.
Travel Games and Activity Books
Keeping kids entertained on a family roadtrip may require you to switch things up regularly. After the conversation games, podcasts and storytelling, your kids may just want something physical to focus on. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring some travel-sized board games, magnetic puzzles, or activity books. These are normally so compact and portable that they don’t take up much space, and can be a good thing to have up your sleeve if your kids start getting bored.
Surprise Goodie Bags
Prepare surprise goodie bags and hand them out strategically throughout the trip. You could do it at exciting times, like when crossing borders or reaching interesting landmarks. Fill them up with your kids’ favorite things, like small toys, snacks, or other treats. Little surprises like these help promote a feeling of excitement and anticipation throughout the trip, staving away any dreaded roadtrip boredom.
Keeping kids entertained on a family roadtrip doesn’t have to be a chore; it’s actually a great opportunity to bond. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can turn your long drive into a family adventure. By doing so, you’ll create lasting memories and a fun, exciting atmosphere that’ll set the perfect tone for the rest of your trip.