The Best Road Trip Activities for Kids: An Age-By-Age Guide
Summertime is here! With it brings hot days, warm nights, and some extra time to spend with your family. Summertime also usually means family road trips and adventures are on the horizon! The excitement that comes with visiting new or familiar places, creating family memories, and experiencing summer in all of its glory is a staple for many families this time of year. But road trips can also be challenging for many parents. How do you keep your kids busy for a few hours (or more) cramped in a car? Will you all survive the trip without wanting to turn around and go back home? Whether you’re gearing up to visit family or to explore the great outdoors, I’ve compiled my BEST road trip activities to help YOU and your kiddos stay sane and engaged while on the road!
Best Road Trip Activities for All Ages
As an occupational therapist and mama, I’m always looking for activities to keep my kiddos entertained AND on track developmentally. Why should education stop in the summer (or while driving down a long highway for that matter!)? I’ve put together this list of some of the best road trip activities that will keep your kiddos happily engaged and learning while you travel.
- Favorite blanket or stuffed animal
- Infant safety mirror
- Teethers and/or keyring toys
- Soft books and hardback books
- Sticker books
- Snacks! Consider a “less mess” approach with pouches or puffs for littles under one! For your toddler, make-ahead snack packs with healthy foods like cut-up fruit and veggies, crackers, fruit snacks, or pouches.
- A toddler approved playlist (sorry mama, baby shark is coming your way!)
- Mini water board or water book to doodle on
- Window stickies
- Sensory bottle
- Cause + effect toys
- Musical playlist
- Simple stories on a CD or downloaded to a phone
- Toddler-friendly workbooks + coloring books (don’t forget the crayons!)
- Magnet board (Safety tip! Make sure the magnets are large to prevent choking)
- I spy! Get those little eyes out the window and play a road trip version of I SPY!! Look for fun landmarks, cars, or the same colored objects! Or have them play a book version of the game.
- Have a sing-a-long!
- Favorite books
- Mom approved toddler apps on a tablet or phone
- Snacks, snacks, and more snacks! Have a variety of fruits and vegetables, crackers, fruit leathers, and a spill-proof water bottle!
- Workbooks and coloring books (don’t forget colored pencils or markers!)
- Cards (object identification, numbers, shapes, colors, matching)
- Books on a CD or downloaded to a phone
- Magnetic puzzles and games
- Sensory fidget toys
- A personal notebook to be used as a journal for documenting the trip!
- Mom approved apps or a movie downloaded on to a tablet or phone
- Handheld game console
- Snacks . . . ALL. THE. SNACKS.
- Kid-friendly map or atlas
- A kids’ travel journal or notebook to document the trip
- A waterproof, action proof kids’ camera
- A new book (or two or three!)
- Plushie travel pillow (maybe a blanket too)
- Audiobook downloaded to a phone or tablet
- Mom approved apps or downloaded movie to a phone or tablet
- Travel bingo games
- And of course . . . SNACKS!
But, wait. What about mom and dad? We parents can use all the help we can get making road trips as easy and stress-free as possible. Here are a few suggestions for must-have items for your next road trip:
- Backseat organizers (with a space for touch screen tablets!)
- Kids travel trays
- Portable emergency urinal or potty seat (for the potty trainers!)
- Kids headphones
- Bento boxes (for ALL THE SNACKS!)
Okay, Momma! You’re well on your way. And don’t forget to take breaks as needed, dress comfortably, and give yourself all the extra grace!
Have a great summertime road trip!
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