Summertime is vacation time for many families. Traveling with kids can be a daunting idea if you don’t know what to do to keep them entertained for long periods of time or in a small space – or both. If you are looking for some ideas besides a DVD player and hand-held video games, I’ve compiled lists of many games and activities suitable for travel.
Here are a list of some books that contain several different types of activities, from mini-mysteries, mazes, and crossword puzzles to coloring pages, connect-the-dot, jokes, and car bingo:
- Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games and Activities
- Best Travel Activity Book Ever
- Are We There Yet?
- The Everything Kids’ Travel Activity Book
Here are some common car games that don’t require anything but players!
- License plate game: See how many states’ license plates from you can find on your trip.
- ABC game, take 1: Starting with the letter “A”, look around and find a letter on a sign, truck, building, or license plate, say the letter (and where you saw it) and then move on to the next letter. The first one to get to the letter “Z” is the winner!
- ABC game, take 2: My family still plays this game in the car! Someone thinks of a topic (like names of cities, countries, types of fruit, animals, movies, TV shows, celebrities, etc). The first person to start has to name something corresponding to the topic starting with ‘A’, the next person gets the next letter of the alphabet, and so on around and around the car. If it’s your turn and you can’t think of anything for your letter, you are out. If you get to ‘Z’ and play is still going, go back to ‘A’ and keep going – but no repeats are allowed. Play continues until there is one person left – the winner! (My sisters and I are huge fans of the TV show Friends and so one time our topic was “anything related to Friends”!)
- I Spy: One person picks an object they can see either in the car or along the road. They give others a clue such as, “I spy with my little eye… something blue.” The person keeps giving more clues until they can guess what it is.
- 20 Questions: One person thinks of something and the other person gets to ask 20 yes/no questions to try to figure it out.
- Fortunately-Unfortunately: Neat game described in full on Momsminivan.com. (Scroll down 2/3 of the page.)
Here are some of your favorite games that come in a travel size:
- I Spy Memory Game
- Connect Four
- Candy Land
- Guess Who?
Here are various card games:
- Scavenger Hunt For Kids – Travel Game
- Rubberneckers: Everyone’s Favorite Travel Game
- Rubberneckers Jr: Fun for Backseat Travelers
- For the Car Brain Quest Card Deck
- Zobmondo!! Would You Rather…?
- Namits Travel Game
- Regular deck of cards
- Card games (such as Uno, Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, Slap Jack)
- Wiz Kidz (from Discovery Toys): I had this game when I was younger. It features two stacks of cards, letter cards and answer cards. You draw one card from each pile and find a corresponding answer. For example, if you draw a “P” and “Something cold” you need to think of something cold that starts with a ‘p’ (maybe popsicle).
Here are many types of books to keep kids entertained:
- Puzzle, Sudoku, or maze books
- New paperback books to read
- Magnet books (like this Tree Fort one or this Fire Station one)
- Hidden picture books
- Picture puzzle book or Picture Puzzles
- Sticker books
- Mad Libs
- Kumon workbooks
- Kids Travel: A Backseat Survival Kit
Here are a few creative activities suitable for travel:
- Pipe cleaners (how to make pipe cleaner creatures)
- Play Doh, silly putty, or Crayola Model Magic (bring cookie cutters for added fun)
- Wikki Stix (similar to pipe cleaners but are made of wax so they stick to surfaces)
- Sticky mosaics
- Peel and stick by number
- Lacing cards (while the wooden ones are sturdier, it might be a good idea to bring the cardboard ones on a trip as they are lighter)
- Origami book and paper
- Rub on transfers (and something to rub them onto)
- Fashion Designer plates
- Twirled Paper
- Make a Cootie catcher
Here is a list of small toys your kids might have that would be easy to bring along:
- Rubik’s Cube
- I spy bags (found on etsy)
- Finger puppets
- Colorforms (I wonder if they stick to airplane or car windows?)
- Magnetic paper dolls
- Magnetic puzzles
Drawing and Coloring
Here are some travel-friendly items for drawing and coloring:
- Crayola Color Wonder markers and paper
- Crayola Color Wonder fingerpaint
- New coloring books
- New crayons
- Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center
- Travel Etch-A-Sketch
- Magna Doodle
- Scratch and Sketch books
Here are a few educational activities:
Don’t forget your child’s personal comforts:
- Favorite stuffed animal or blankie
- Music player (MP3 player or iPOD type device with headphones) Disney Mix Sticks is one brand
Here are a few other things you might want to consider bringing:
- Use pencil bag or box to store crayons and markers to keep them from going everywhere.
- Bring triangular crayons as they can lay flat on a tray and not roll around like regular crayons.
- Give each child their own suitcase (on wheels) that they are responsible for packing and carrying.
- Check their toys and veto anything that may annoy yourself or other passengers.
- Find inexpensive items at the dollor store or Target’s dollar spot (post it notes, calculators, etc. can be great fun).
- Bring out a “new” item every half hour or so to keep things interesting.
Here are some other places for you to find travel tips and information:
- Mom’s Minivan: Neat site filled with printable car games, ideas for toddlers and babies, and articles.
- Family Fun
- Activities for Kids
Wendy – Parenting Tips 365