7 Fun Road Trip Activity Ideas For Kids

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Here are some fun activities that will make car travel with the kids as pleasant as possible

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Car travel with kids, especially over a long distance, can be a major headache. Boredom seems to set in a lot quicker in a car than anywhere else, and the moaning, crying and unpleasant behavior that typically ensues is frustrating - and dangerous - when you're behind the wheel of a hefty family hauler. While smartphones and tablets have brought inner peace to many a driving parent, some simply don't like the idea of their child being glued to a screen for long periods of time. Fortunately, there is more than one way to make trips fun for kids and a whole lot more pleasant for mom and dad.

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Fun Activities and Games for a Long Car Ride

Here are seven fun and easy road trip activity ideas for kids to keep them entertained along the journey:

  • Smart Devices: The obvious, but oftentimes unfavorable, approach would be to give your child or toddler something with a screen. Such devices are a really effective and easy way to keep your kids entertained, especially if your trip is going to be a long one. There are a near-infinite number of games, quizzes, and educational apps out there that will keep any child busy for hours on end. You can also download a good selection of movies for kids, such as Cars, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc. You could even get some documentaries based around the area you're traveling to, maybe on the history, wildlife, and local activities.
  • Travel Games: Fun travel games are awesome for a long car ride as everyone in the vehicle can enjoy them. They're fun for the whole family, set a wonderful mood, and promote bonding. There are tons to choose from - from classic car games such as Traveler's Alphabet, spot-it BINGO, and 20 questions, to magnetized board games like chess and even educational games like Mad Libs. These can keep your kids busy for hours if they get bored of the electronic games and movies.
  • Books/Audiobooks: Reading is always a great way to pass the time, and the e-readers available today are capable of holding thousands of reading materials, including comics and audiobooks, so you'll never run out of new content. Audiobooks are great for those who quickly get fatigued by reading and for those who get carsick.
  • Travel Toys: Having a selection of toys at hand is another great way to keep the kids entertained. If you've bought new toys for the road trip, you can slowly introduce them to the kids throughout the journey as rewards for good behavior or as surprise milestone markers. This will reinforce good behavior and keep the kids excited; it will also extend the longevity of the fun times in the car. Legos make for some of the best travel toys as they can be packed into a container and stuck onto large Lego boards that will prevent the pieces from getting lost around the car.
  • Karaoke: What do you do when everyone's bored in the car? It may not be one of the best road trip activities for awkward tweens, but karaoke can be a really fun way to get most of the boys and girls in the car involved and using energy. Most modern cars come installed with pretty decent infotainment features and audio systems with smartphone connectivity applications such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so use them to your benefit.
  • Creative Projects: There are many ways to stay creative in the car - travel journals are a cool way for the kids to think about what activities they'll want to do at the destination and what landmarks they may want to visit whilst there. They can also use it to write about their experiences and add mementos, too. Craft projects are another great way to keep busy, you'll just need to pack all the right accessories, whether it be for drawing and/or coloring, or sticker boards and the like. There are handy little craft kits you could buy as well as chalkboard activity trays, and even washable window markers.
  • Story Telling: Communication can sometimes be the best form of entertainment in the car. Telling stories and sharing jokes with the children is a great way to bond and have the time pass quicker.
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Car Entertainment For Toddlers freepik.com
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Car Activities for Toddlers

Things get a little tougher when it comes to car entertainment for toddlers; as we all know, 2-year olds through to 5-year olds are typically full of energy and will want to be talking and moving around a lot, and, with the law requiring these busybodies to be strapped into a car seat, they can easily get cranky. Fortunately, there are many interactive car activities for toddlers, such as I-Spy, One-sentence Add-on Stories, and 'Guess the Animal I'm Thinking Of' games. Here are some other car activities for preschoolers:

  • Nursery Rhymes - use the wrong word in the rhyme and see if your child can identify it.
  • Habitats - name an animal and see if your child knows where it lives.
  • Rhyming - say a word and your child must say a rhyming word.
  • Shapes - name an object and your child must name its shape.

General Tips and Safety Precautions

How to travel with kids isn't just about keeping them entertained - be sure you know all about child car seats and what the legal requirements are in your state as detailed here. And, other than this, there are also a few things you could prepare that will make the journey a much more pleasant experience:

  • Prepare a large container, maybe a stationary suitcase or large Tupperware container to pack the games, activities, and books into for storage during the journey.
  • Remember to install all the games and audiobooks your kids will want to play and read during the journey onto their electronic devices beforehand and ensure that they are fully charged. Don't forget the chargers, either.
  • Preparing food/drink packs is also a good idea - use a large ziplock bag or lunch box to fill up with various snacks and juices. Go with the healthy options, as too much sugar may lead to a very emotional road trip.

There are also quite a few things you'll need to take into account when it comes to the safety of your children during a road trip. For the driver, taking regular pit stops to stretch and rest from driving is an important and necessary part of safe driving. This helps to avoid falling asleep at the wheel or dozing off. It's suggested that drivers take a break every two hours. If possible, driving responsibilities can also be shared by alternating drivers between stops: you'll find a list of suggestions for staying alert here.

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FAQs

How often should I take pit stops on a long road trip?

The highway code recommends that drivers take a break of up to at least 15 minutes after every two hours on the road. This is not just useful for staying alert but will help your kids expend some energy and be ready for the next leg of the journey.

What are the best SUVs for families?

When it comes to the aspects that matter, such as livability, practicality, and safety, the Honda Pilot, Kia Sorento, and the Toyota Rav4 are perhaps the best SUVs for family road trips.

Up until what age can my toddler remain in a car seat?

Most automotive safety agencies recommend that a child be kept in a car seat until about four years of age, after which a booster seat is recommended. Legislation varies depending on which State you are in, though, so be sure to familiarize yourself with what's law in your area.

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