7 road trip activities that will keep your kids busy

The trick to a good road trip? Keep the kids busy! Here are some good ways to do that.

7 road trip activities that will keep your kids busy

Photo: iStockphoto

Road trip time!

The open road, the Timmies breaks, the awesome playlists, a new destination—it’s hard to pinpoint it exactly, but there’s something about road trips that makes us feel so nostalgic. But as a parent, you know that this romantic idea is not always the reality. The trick to a good road trip? Keep the kids busy! Here are some good ways to do that.

Two siblings in back of car before the family road tripPhoto: iStockphoto

Make it a game

Pull out all the classic car ride games—there are a ton of games that can easily be played by just observing your surroundings, such as I Spy, Car Bingo, The License Plate Game. Once you tire of these, it’s time to get the party really started with karaoke! If your family isn’t into belting it out, play the game Karaoke Masters: make a playlist of recognizable songs before you depart and have your kids guess what song it is by just listening to the first few seconds of it. Add in songs like “Old McDonald Had a Farm” or “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” for extra silliness. Get more ideas here: 5 car games we love

family in car on a road tripPhoto: iStockphoto


Satisfy their munchies

There’s nothing worse than a hangry kid stuck in a car. And sometimes the root of your kid’s nagging and annoyingness is just the hunger talking, not the boredom. Keep his hands (and mouth) busy with a mess-free, portable snack like trail mix, a homemade smoothie, granola bar, fruit leather or crackers. Get more ideas here: 10 healthy road trip snacks


Two fruit and sunflower seed barsPhoto: Roberto Caruso

Listen to a great story

Downloading movies might be part of your pre-trip planning. This summer, try something different and download some podcasts. They’re basically movies for your ears and there are lots out there that are kid-oriented, yet enjoyable for the whole family. NPR may be known for Planet Money, Tiny Desk Concerts and Code Switch, but their latest (and first) podcast for kids, Wow in the World, is one you and your little ones will really dig. Learn about why shoelaces always come untied, how astronauts poop in space and how saying “thank you” can actually make you a healthier person. For more kid-friendly podcasts to download, click here.


7 road trip activities that will keep your kids busyPhotos clockwise from left to right: Stuff You Missed in History Class, Wow in the World, Brains On!, Story Nory

Try something more playful

Kids and iPads go together like peanut butter and jelly, so when the hours stretch before you, you have to take advantage of this great attraction. There are lots of educational (and fun) games that can keep your kids entertained (even if just for a little while). If your kid loves to colour, download 123 Color: Talking Coloring Book, a mess-free alternative to the classic crayon and paper. The iPad version includes a variety of world maps, too, that can be used as geography lessons while you’re on the road. Older kids will love the Minecraft Pocket Edition or one of these cool STEM apps. Get more ideas here: 10 apps to keep your kids entertained on road trips

Two sisters in back seats of car with headphones on playing with an ipadPhoto: iStockphoto


Play with an actual toy

Sometimes when the car ride gets tough, you just have to kick it old school. Card games, Mad Libs, Etch A Sketch and Bingo are all great options to keep the kids entertained. A lot of board games, like Clue, Trouble and Scrabble all come in travel-size, too, making these classic games easier to take with you. Encourage your toddler to bring along some of her favourite toys—it’ll not only provide entertainment, but comfort as well. Get more idea here: 13 fun road trip toys

7 road trip activities that will keep your kids busyPhotos from left to right: Indigo, Mastermind Toys

Crack open some books

Now here’s an idea that doesn’t require any WiFi: get your kids to read a book (that is, if they aren’t prone to car sickness). Before your trip, get your kids some books about the outdoors or one about your destination. This will not only get them amped for the trip, but it will give them time to practise their reading chops as well. For extra book inspiration, check out our list of the 100 best Canadian kids’ books of all time

7 road trip activities that will keep your kids busyPhoto: iStockphoto

Hire back-seat drivers

Some kids are planners and that’s totally OK. Involve them by showing them the route you’ll be taking and what the scenery will look like. Print them out a map so they can help you navigate or just follow along if they’re younger. Get more ideas here: 15 ways to make road trips less painful


Two siblings in back seats of car on a family road tripPhoto: iStockphoto

This article was originally published on Jun 21, 2021

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