BY Nick Bulanda
Published May 1, 2020
Family road trips are a life experience that should always be cherished. If your kids are lucky enough to have parents that love going on long adventures, whether that’s to an amusement park, a camp site, the beach or somewhere else entirely, they are in for quite a treat. However, children can famously get bored with long car rides, and nobody wants to hear those dreaded words: “Are we there yet?” Thankfully, there are many different ways to keep kids occupied and entertained during road trips. Today, we wanted to help you out with a few ideas that we think you and the kids will love, and if not, at the very least they should get the creativity flowing for you to think up some excellent ideas of your own.
It’s important to consider the age of your children when picking out fun ideas for long road trips with them. It should go without saying that a 12 year old won’t enjoy the same things as a 3 year old, so you’ll want to cater to your age group. Additionally, we’ve tried to include activities over a wide budget spectrum, so hopefully everyone will be able to find something that works for them. Let’s get started!
1. Travel Games
In our opinion, one of the best and most well-known ways to keep kids occupied and stave off boredom during long trips are travel games. This is a broad category that can range from things like 20 Questions and I Spy to Mad Libs and Would You Rather. Talk to your kids beforehand and find out which games they might like to play, and then try to arrange your trip accordingly. If you are driving, see if your partner will spend some time playing one of these games with the kids, and then vice versa when it’s their turn to take the wheel. You would be surprised how much time can be easily passed by with awesome and fun games such as these. There are tons of easy-to-play games like these that can be bought from stores that sell toys, as well as plenty that can simply be learned and passed along. Try one on your next trip and let us know how it goes!
2. Movies and TV Shows
Many modern family vehicles feature a DVD or Blu-Ray monitor equipped for the back seat, and if not, there are many affordable portable DVD and Blu-Ray player options out there. If you know you’re going on a road trip that’s going to take a considerable amount of time, it might not be a bad idea to invest in one of these items. With it, your children will be able to enjoy their favorite movies or shows on the road, and while we know that one of the major reasons families like to go on trips is to get the kids away from screens, we also know how difficult it can be to get them to relax and rest on the car ride. Whether it’s Spongebob, Toy Story, Frozen, or something else completely different, we’re willing to bet your kids will find this as one of their favorite ways to pass the time on these trips.
3. Portable Games
This item is in the same vein as our previous recommendation, as it is another electronic screen that many parents would rather have left at home. However, if you have access to a Nintendo Switch or other portable gaming device, this is one of the situations that they would be most useful in. Portable games are an incredible way to pass the time, whether you have one child or more than one. There are plenty of options out there at different price ranges, so if this sounds like an appealing choice to you, go ahead and take a look at what is available. If you’re willing to part with your phone for a little while, there are even tons of games for kids to play on most mobile devices!
If your kids like music, then you’ve already got one of the best fun ideas for long road trips ready and waiting. Pop in their favorite CD or hook up your phone to the radio and let the kids jam out to their hearts’ desire. If you’re lucky, your kids might even share some of the same music taste as you, but at the worst you might have to put up with some kids movie soundtracks for a few hours. In our opinion, that is preferable to bored children asking if the ride is almost over every 15 minutes.
This is a great option for kids of all ages, and all that will have to change is the specific book that is being read. Whether it’s Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, a classic like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or a fantasy epic like The Lord of the Rings, there are so many different options out there that we are sure there will be something your little one(s) will love. Talk to them ahead of time and find out what books they might be interested in listening to, and then let them enjoy the story on the way to your destination. This may be one of our personal favorite fun ideas for long road trips.
6. Coloring Books
A classic way to pass the time is the coloring book. Pack along some colored pencils and a selection of exciting coloring books and your kids will have something to do to pass the time. This option goes great alongside music or audiobooks, as it doesn’t necessarily take up one’s full attention. Coloring books have become popular even for adults, and that means there is a huge variety of choices available, from Star Wars to Adventure Time and everything in between.
7. Window Markers
Did you know that standard dry-erase markers will work on car windows without damaging them at all? They’re easy to wipe off and are a great way for kids to express themselves while confined to the inside of a vehicle. If your little one is an art lover, they’ll be sure to enjoy the freedom that window markers provide. Just make sure they aren’t sending out messages to other drivers and passengers out on the road, as we all know how mischievous kids can be!
8. Navigation Help
Another great way for your kid or kids to occupy themselves during road trips is by helping with navigation! Get them a map and let them check out the route you’ll be taking from your home to wherever it is that you are headed. While modern GPS devices have taken a lot of the importance away from maps and navigation, it’s still something that is usually fascinating to kids, and we think they’ll love the feeling of being able to contribute during the trip.
9. Camera Fun
Do you have an old digital camera that you no longer use? What about a cheap disposable camera from the corner store? Either of these choices are great for kids, and you can tell them to document their trip as you go. Anyone who has been on a road trip before knows how beautiful the sights can be, and now your child will never have to forget. They say that a picture is worth 1000 words, and there’s no better way to learn that lesson than by photographing your journey. It’s also a great way to get a child started down the road to the visual arts!
Here at Ride Toy Zone, there are few things we know as much about as toys. It’s such a broad category, but there is an almost limitless degree of options out there for toys that are appropriate for long rides. From action figures to dolls to toy vehicles to whatever else you can think of, the only limit is one’s own imagination. Chances are you have at least a few toys lying around the house that would be good to take in the car, so take a look around and see what you can find!
We hope that all these ideas were helpful to you. Road trips are loads of fun, but the ride itself usually isn’t the highlight for kids. That’s why it is important to think up fun ideas for long road trips. If you have any other recommendations you’d like to share, let us know down in the comments below, and enjoy your trip!