14 Road Trip Activities for Kids

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Going on a road trip allows you and the family to see different sights from a unique viewpoint. All that time on the road also gives you an excellent opportunity to bond with your family. 

However, let’s face it. Road trips are often more fun for adults than they are for kids. Countless hours of sitting in the backseat of a car can be very boring for a kid; heck, it can even be boring for adults. After all, the point of a road trip is to check out various destinations along the way. The actual driving component may or may not be enjoyable, depending on who you are. 

But, if you’re on a road trip and have kids in the backseat of the car, you need ways to keep them busy; otherwise, they’ll get bored and grumpy, and then you’ll get cranky. Even just a few hours in the car with my kids makes me want to pull my hair out at times.

Riding with grumpy kids in the backseat for hours isn’t fun. Therefore, to help keep your kids busy, I want to talk about some fun road trip activities for kids. 

These activities will help keep your kids busy and help preserve your own sanity as you’re driving. These are all things I’ve tried at some point with my children, and they all worked pretty well.

The Best Road Trip Activities for Kids

Let’s look at my favorite road trip activities that have kept my kids busy. I’ve included a wide variety of activities for your kids to do in the back of the car.

1. I Spy

One of the best activities for kids on a long road trip is the classic I Spy game. This is a straightforward game, and you don’t need any equipment. One person sees something along the way and says, “I spy.” They then provide clues or hints. 

The other people in the vehicle then have to guess what that person is looking at. It’s a very simple game, and it can last forever. There are always new things you see when driving, so the options here are virtually endless. 

It’s also a good game because kids can play by themselves, or you can play along too. This is one of my favorites because I can chime in whenever.

2. Word Games

There are many word games you can play while riding with the kids. Another of my favorites is a word association game. 

Simply put, one person says one word, and then the other people say the first word that comes to mind. But, of course, there are many word games, so I recommend doing some research. 

If you don’t want to participate, there are nonverbal word games too. For example, get your kids a crossword or a word search book. 

That is something that should keep them busy for a good few hours in the back of the car. Word games are entertaining and time-consuming, but they can also help educate your child.

3. License Plate Game

Another family favorite is the license plate game. Road trips are the best place to see license plates because you’re always on the road. 

Take all of the letters on a license plate and create a phrase or saying according to the letters’ order. For example, XAR-365 could produce “X-rays are rad 365” days a year.

It’s a fun game because it allows for great creativity. This is something that I sometimes do on my drive to and from work. It’s a fun game, and it’s always a challenge to see what I can come up with.

This can help your kids with their literacy, at least a little bit. In addition, it will encourage them to think of different words to match the license plate letters.

4. Singing Songs

I’m not going to go too deep into this one here, but you and the family can sing songs while driving. But, of course, the old “bottles of beer (or milk!) on the wall” song is a popular one. 

However, I find it can get annoying, so you might want to suggest a backup tune if it gets too much. If you are a musically inclined family, this is a good option.

5. Describing Areas and Landmarks 

You can have your kids research the various things they see or road signs with directions to a famous landmark along the way. 

This is a good activity for kids if you drive past monuments and impressive sights. Get your child to take out their tablet or cellphone, and then do some research. 

For example, if you drive past the Grand Canyon, have your child research it and then give a report. This will keep your child busy, and it’s educational. But, who knows, your child might just tell you something you didn’t know.

6. Sketching and Coloring 

Coloring and sketching are always options if you want to keep your kids busy in the car and you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet. 

You can get sketchbooks or simple coloring books, and some pencils, pens, and colored pencils. Kids love to draw and sketch, and it’s something that can keep them busy for hours.  You can even ask your child to draw various things they see along the way. 

It’s a great way to keep your kids occupied while also giving you some quiet time while you drive. You might just discover that you have an artist sitting in the backseat. of

7. Sticker Books

If you don’t mind finding the occasional sticker in the rear of your car, a sticker book is another idea. However, sticker books won’t last forever, but they can keep your kids entertained for a while.

Road Trip Activities for Kids

8. Making a Travel Journal 

One thing I always have my kids do when we go on any kind of road trip is to make a travel journal. I will ask my child to write at least one page in their journal daily based on their daily experiences. 

It’s an excellent activity to do in the car because your child can write about the previous day while you drive. Moreover, this can also be educational because your child is practicing their literacy skills as they write in the journal.

I remember road trips many years ago, and my mother had me write one of these travel journals. I still have this travel journal, and it makes for some really nice memories.

9. Travel Lego

I also recommend checking out travel Lego. Travel Lego comes in a travel kit to keep all those pieces together. Some kits have special grids on the surface your child can use to build on. I remember my brother loved Legos as a kid, and my kids still love them today. 

Kids can use their imaginations to build anything they want out of Legos. So when we plan trips with the kids, we’ll pack the travel Lego, and on the way, I’ll tell them to try to build the various things that we see.

10. Travel Board Games 

I’m not going to get into specific examples, but there are many travel board games such as travel checkers, travel chess, and everything in between. Generally speaking, these are miniature versions of the original board games combined with magnetic pieces. 

Magnetic pieces will keep everything together and reduce lost pieces. You have no idea how many travel board games I have thrown away because they didn’t have magnetic pieces, and many components were lost.

11. Video Games 

As a parent, I always try to limit the amount of time my kids spend playing video games. However, sometimes I do appreciate those video games. 

Specifically, I appreciate the silence that those video games create. But, let’s face it, video games are some of the best things for keeping kids busy. 

I could drive across the country, and as long as my child has their Nintendo Switch, I probably wouldn’t even realize that they’re sitting in the car. I recommend Nintendo, as they have plenty of child-friendly games that aren’t violent, as far as video game systems are concerned.

12. Listening to Music

You can always just give your child an MP3 player or similar if you want to keep your kids busy and you want some peace and quiet,

I could listen to music for hours and be perfectly content, and my kids are the same way. I may not always like the music they listen to, but it doesn’t really matter as long as they’re quiet and occupied. Then, of course, there are podcasts that your kids might like − educational podcasts, comedy podcasts, and more. 

As long as your child finds something that they enjoy, you won’t hear a word out from them for the duration of the road trip.

In addition, check to see if your public library has an audiobook section where you can download audiobooks. This is another way to keep your kids occupied as you’re driving.

13. Reading Books

I mentioned audiobooks, and while our world has become more technologically advanced, reading still hasn’t died out. So as long as there are books around, I will encourage my children to read.

However, from my experience, I find that once kids get into a book, they won’t be able to put it down. So, therefore, find a good book that your kids will like, put it in front of them, and you won’t hear a peep for the rest of the road trip.

14. Card Games

Card games are another activity for road trips. I recommended stocking up on some good card games such as Go Fish, Uno, and maybe a deck of playing cards for some crazy eights. 

Two or more kids can easily play card games as long as there is a small flat space in the back of your car. Card games are also good to bring along because they can be played in the hotel or anywhere.

Final Thoughts

There are many great road trip activities for kids − some are just for kids, and others you can also engage in. I like the activities that I can also engage in because, let’s face it, driving can be pretty dull, and I also get to create more fun memories with the kids.

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