How to Keep Kids Happy (and Busy) on a Family Road Trip

Road trips always seem like a good idea before you get in the car. You picture your family singing along to the radio, chatting and playing games. But in reality, family road trips often end in sibling fights, tears and boredom. Come into your family road trip prepared with plenty of activities to keep your kids happy (and busy) the entire time so you don’t ever have to hear “Are we there yet?”

For Young Kids

  • New toys –Your toddler has a pretty short attention span, so you need to be prepared to keep them busy for hours. Head to the Pound Shop or other discount store to buy a bag full of new toys. Give your child something new to play with at the beginning of the trip, and every time they seem restless, pull something new out of your bag of goodies. They’ll be thrilled with how many new toys they’re getting and stay occupied for longer periods of time.
  • Window markers –Another interesting treat for your kids is being able to draw on the windows. Make this a special road trip activity by buying window markers that can be wiped away easily at the end of the trip. Come prepared with suggestions for what to draw and even join in on the fun.
  • Coloring book –If your kids prefer coloring over drawing, get them a coloring book with their favorite cartoon characters and a pack of washable markers or crayons.
  • Road trip bingo –Make a bingo sheet filled with items you’re going to see on your trip, such as road signs, landmarks and certain states license plates. As you’re driving, mark off what you see with stickers on your bingo card. Be sure to have a small prize for the winner.

For Older Kids

  • Books –Buy your older kids some new books to enjoy on your road trip (just make sure they don’t get car sick first). Try out a new series or get a bunch of different genres. You also may want to download some audio books on Audible and give them a pair of headphones to listen while you drive.
  • Video games –If you go on road trips a lot, invest in some portable gaming equipment. For example, Nintendo Switch lets your kids play a variety of video games and even play together on separate controllers. This will cut down on fighting and having to monitor who’s turn it is. You also can download games onto your smartphone to keep them busy for awhile.
  • Picture scavenger hunt –Create a scavenger hunt list before heading out on your trip. Include items you’re likely to see as well as some more difficult ones. Let your kids use the powerful camera on your iPhone 6s Plus to take pictures of the items as you pass by. The first person to find everything on the list should be rewarded with a prize for the car or for when you reach your destination.

Don’t let your upcoming road trip be a source of anxiety. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, schedule lots of bathroom and play breaks and come prepared with activities galore. Your kids will look back on these times with fond memories, and you’ll be glad that you got through the journey in one piece.


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