Keeping the kids entertained in the car is one of the first things that most parents worry about when planning a long family road trip. And I find that there is a big difference between keeping the kids happy on a 2-hour drive (look out the window, sing songs, play the “I Spy” game) and a 12-hour drive when using electronic devices such as iPads and DVD players becomes much more important to the overall level of happiness of the car’s occupants. I think long trips are more successful when the kids have lots of options- including books to read, paper and pens for writing or drawing pictures, a deck of cards, as well as a stack of movies to watch and some cool apps that they can play with together on an iPad.
When kids are younger and traveling on road trips- Mom or Dad have to be much more involved in keeping them entertained- coming up with games, doling out snacks, singing songs, etc. The good news is- the younger your kids are when you start taking road trips, the better car-riders they become! (So it does get easier!) And once you hit the tween years- they are pretty much self-sufficient. I find that my kids enjoy the “time out from life” that a long day in the car gives them, and the chance to spend hours on electronic devices that Mom normally enforces time limits on! So here are some ideas for your next road trip: 10 Great Activities and Car Games for Kids!
Non-Electronic Activities and Car Games for Kids
1. Would You Rather?
There is actually a board game that you can purchase with “Would You Rather?“questions included that all of you can answer and debate as you put the miles behind you. Or you can skip the store-bought game and just make up your own questions, such as “Would you rather eat a banana peel or a apple core?”. If you are looking for a kid-version of the game where you can rely on predetermined questions, Zobmando also created the “You Gotta Be Kidding!” game- perfect for kids ages 7 and up.
2. Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is another great “board game” (except there is no board) that is fun to play on road trips. Players are dealt cards with nouns on them, and have to select one of their cards that they feels best matches up to the judge’s adjective card. There are several different versions of this game- including a Junior edition which is better suited for younger players.
This classic game is perfect for a road trip because all of the little pegs you use to play are firmly stuck onto the board (keep the ones yet to be used in a small baggy). Battleship (obviously) works best for two kids who are seated next to one another!
4. Rainbow Loom
By now I am sure that pretty much every household in America owns a Rainbow Loom! These are actually great activities for a road trip- my kids love to make new bracelets and give them away to other kids that we meet. It helps if you can keep the rubber bands contained in small zip-top snack bags- and of course there will be some to pick up from the floor later- but it is a small price to pay for hours of entertainment!
5. Craft Kits
If your kids are like mine, they likely receive craft kits as birthday presents, and you may not think of them as an activity that kids can do in the car, but as long as the kit doesn’t involve messy supplies such as glitter or glue- a road trip can be a great time to work on crafts! Make sure you pre-read the instuctions before you leave so you can be sure to have on hand any household supplies needed for the craft such as scissors or markers. Use a plastic grocery bag hung over an arm rest or seat back so the kids can discard paper scraps and other trash to help keep the car neat. Craft kits we love for the car include decorating a travel water bottle, bottlecap necklaces and bracelets (with stickers) and friendship bracelets (using embroidery floss).
*please note that all links above are Amazon affiliate links
Apps That The Kids Can Play Together
1. Wheel of Fortune
If kids love the game on TV, they’ll love playing it together in the car! Kids will need to be seated next to one another so they can both see the board- but can play on one shared device. ($2.99 in iTunes)
Just like Wheel of Fortune, this TV show turned app is fun for multiple players seated next to one another, and playing on a shared device. ($1.99 in iTunes)
3. Road Trip Bingo
For younger kids, this is a simple and fun way to encourage them to look out the window too! Two players can play side by side on the same device. ($1.99 in iTunes)
You’ll need a WiFi connection in the car to make this work (we just use my phone’s hot spot), but this game works great because each child can play on his or her own device and join each other in the virtual world. It always cracks me up to hear them collaborate on whatever they are building together and their rush tog et to bed before the sun goes down! ($6.99 in iTunes)
5. Chop Chop Tennis
This is another game where kids can their own devices can play against one another using a WiFi connection. This game of tennis is a lot of fun ! (fee in iTunes)
What are your kids favorite ways to spend the hours in the car on their way to a destination? Please leave a comment and tell us!