Inside you’ll find ways to actually enjoy a screen-free road trip with kids.
My brother made a valiant effort to sweet talk the herd of cows into looking up, as our family car flew by their field at 65 miles an hour.
We were on yet another road trip, and to pass the time, we were screaming at cattle; attempting to earn points in a ridiculous game.
I’ve always loved road trips with my family. For days beforehand, we’d pack and plan; not just for the destination, but for the journey itself.
The boredom and the new scenery set the stage for some of my most memorable laughs with family and friends.
But now that I’m a mother of little ones, road trips don’t seem quite so happy and carefree. I want my boys to collect similar memories and bonding time, so when we hit the road, I don’t want to plug in some device and have everyone retreat to their own little world.
If you’re wanting a similar experience for your family as you travel, try these activities.
Thank you to Curious Columbus Kids for sponsoring this fun and helpful travel post!
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Books on Tape (CD)
Maybe it’s the uber practical multi-tasker in me, but I ADORE when my kids listen to books on tape in the car. Instead of wasting time, my boys are learning, growing their vocabulary and syntax, and we’re building a culture around great literature. Libraries are a great way to get tons of books on tape for the lovely price of FREE! They fill the time and you’ll be shocked at how your kids love them. Looking for recommendations? Check out Read-Aloud Revival, my favorite podcast.
A lot of silly games seem lame until you’re bored and with the people that mean the most to you. Try playing “I Spy”, 20 Questions, The Alphabet Game, License Plate Game, “I’m Going on a Picnic”, 2 Truths and a Lie and more. You’ll exercise your mind and learn about each other at the same time.
If you haven’t heard of quiet books, they are “books” full of activities that will completely engage your child without causing a ruckus. Curious Colombus Kids makes an absolutely adorable quiet book that all three of my boys have enjoyed. Each page has a new fun game or activity.
These books will work for settings far beyond the car! Think church services, weddings, read aloud times. Any time you’re trying to keep your kids occupied WITHOUT mind-numbing electronics, this will do the trick!
The book is HAND MADE and of such high quality! Honestly, I’d like to steal it away from my kids so I can play with it for a while!
This quiet book is easy to take along where ever you go as it zips up and contains all the little parts without worry of them falling out.
This takes a little bit of planning, but create a scavenger hunt by making a list of common things you’d see on the road like railroad tracks, school buses, tractor, horses, windmills, bicyclists, skyscrapers, etc. Give each person a list and when they spot one of the items, they can check it off. First person with a completed list wins!
When all else fails, stuff their mouths! Be sure to pack some road friendly yummies. Have a good mix of healthy with special treats thrown in. Try and avoid super sticky foods or ones that may melt all over the seats. We like clementines, pretzels, gummy bears and cashews. Don’t forget some water bottles too!
Let Them Be Bored
While it might cause some kick back initially, having nothing to do is actually really, really good for everyone, especially kids. Let them think, let them daydream, let them enjoy the scenery. It will give them time for a recharge and a stretching of their attention span.
What are YOUR favorite ways to keep kids entertained on the open road? Share your wisdom in the comments!