20 Road Trip Ideas for Kids

In a few months I’m taking my nieces on a little driving adventure from New Jersey to South Carolina. That’s an eleven hour trip for us! They are 8 and 12 so I wasn’t looking for flash cards or sing-a-longs but there definitely needs to be some sort of entertainment during the trip to keep us sane. I searched all over and found a ton of really great ideas, but to keep this post short and sweet, I selected the best 20 ideas I found which should be plenty for our trip. These ideas are for kids of all ages- some are obviously geared towards younger or older kids, so choose what works best for you and your traveling companions. Also, if you have any road trip tips, I would love to hear them! Feel free to share them in the comments below or on our Facebook Page!

1. Here is a fun site with tons of printable Mad Libs for Kids. Sometimes we do these as a family and kids love to choose the craziest words they can think of.
2. Print off this cute state license plate check list and see who can cross them all off the fastest!

3. Give your kids glow sticks, glow necklaces, or glow bracelets when traveling at night (You can find lots at the dollar store). They will love how they glow and it is like a personal night light.
4. Pack some little snack bags with Froot Loops cereal and let the kids string it on the pipe cleaner (it’s much easier than yarn). Doubles as a great snack!
5. Make a trip notebook. Give each child a new notebook and let them draw pictures, put in stickers, take notes, tape in tickets or other paraphernalia from your trip. Add pictures you took from your camera at the end of your trip for a fun keepsake.
6. Play Hot Seat. Each person takes a turn in the “hot seat” being interviewed by the other passengers. The other passengers can ask any five questions they want of the person in the hot seat, who must answer. The person in the hot seat can refuse to answer one question by using a veto. Once all the questions have been asked, the hot seat transfers to a new passenger.

7. Give each child an inexpensive disposable camera (or maybe a kid-safe or old digital camera, if you have one) and let them document the vacation and road trip themselves.
8. Check out these Travel Tickets and Reward Tickets! Give each child enough tickets in a small baggie (one ticket for every half hour of driving). Collect a travel ticket every 30 minutes and when the tickets are all gone, you have arrived! You could even use the Reward Tickets for trading them in for books, playtime on the iPad, a new toy, a snack, etc
9. Speak in Song. Carry on a conversation using only the titles or lyrics from songs. No singing allowed.
10. Would You Rather? Take turns offering various options to other passengers, either wonderful, horrible, painful, embarrassing, or otherwise. Find out who would rather jump in a flaming volcano or sit in a cage of snakes.

11. Using a tackle box, raid the kitchen and assemble a snack kit before your next road trip.  It will turn a simple snack into entertaining fun!
12. Give your child a new pack of markers and let them get creative while coloring this Intricate Coloring Page. Every age likes to color, myself included!
13.  Print off this Travel Scavenger Hunt- here is one for preschoolers and one for older kids.
14. At the beginning of the trip, each passenger chooses an odd or rare-colored car (yellow, purple, orange, pink, etc.). During the drive, passengers get a point for spotting cars of their chosen color. Alternate idea: passengers can steal points from each other if they spot another passenger’s car color first!
15. Buy some of these Window Markers and let the kids go to town on the back windows. You can easily wipe them clean with a baby wipe.
16. Kids love surprises, wrap up a bunch of small toys (check the Dollar Store or the dollar section at Target) and let your kids pick a prize every 100 miles traveled (or 50 miles traveled for shorter trips).
17. Keep cleaning supplies in the car. It is also a good idea to have paper towels, carpet cleaner (spot shot is our favorite), garbage bags or plastic grocery bags and a few hand-towels for spills or for sickness.   You may also want to have one extra pair of clothes, within reach (not packed in a suitcase), for each person in case they make a mess of their first outfit (in case of car sickness).
18. If you need to stop to eat, it is better to stop somewhere where the kids can get out and run around for 15 minutes.  Having a little picnic lunch packed provides you with that extra time, since you don’t have to wait in a drive-though or eat in a restaurant.  Healthier & quicker!  (No need to spread everything out on a picnic blanket- just let them eat their sandwich and spend the rest of the time playing tag or running around to get their energy out!)

19. Road Trip Pillow Cases  are such a great idea!  They have a pocket for coloring books and other toys as well as a handle for easy carrying.  Download the directions to make your own.
20. Using a ziplock bag, package up one outfit for each day, including undies and hair accessory.  When you reach your destination your child can easily choose what they want to wear for that day.
Well, here’s hoping that your road trip is a complete success! Let me know if any of these tips worked for you!
Happy Travels!

2 thoughts on “20 Road Trip Ideas for Kids

  1. Pingback: 6 tips for taking a road trip with little kids as a single mom -- and enjoying it - Wealthy Single Mommy

  2. We took our then 3yr old daughter and 1 1/2yr old son on a road trip from Southern California to Rochester, MN and we had so much fun! We did #16 and the kids loved it! I went to the $1 stores and found things on sale/clearance throughout the months leading up to the trip then placed 2-3 items in each paper lunch bag and decorated them with stickers. Things we used included: Anew baby doll outfit for the baby our daughter brought with her, a talking toy phone for my son, coloring pages w/crayons, play jewelry, stickers, a new movie for them to watch on our portable DVD players (many kids movies are only $5 at Target!), new books…I highly recommend doing this for road trips. We would give them to the kids when they started getting antsy :)

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