Patience on road trips or while running errands can run thin on the part of parents and passenger kids. One way to curb fuss is by keeping those in the backseat entertained for as long as possible. Here are some ideas for road trip activities that span beyond the tablet and smartphone.
Boogie Board Jot LCD Writing Tablet
The cool thing about LCD writing tablets is that they totally erase with the touch of a button. We’ve always been fans of the Boogie Board but its newest version finally has what was lacking in previously… a built-in stylus holder. Kids can draw, make lists, use the tablet as a homework helper and play games like hangman or tic-tac-toe as road trip activities. It’s light enough to slide into a purse or backpack. I’d recommend that you also buy its sleeve for safekeeping.
Skip Hop Style Driven Activity Tray
Activity trays are must-haves as kids get older and are into coloring, drawing and playing in the car. This one by Skip Hop has a pocket on the side for crayons and rounded edges for safety. The whole thing can be wiped down.
License Plate Game
Kids can play the license plate game even when driving around town. Melissa & Doug’s version can be kept in the car perhaps for kids to complete throughout the normal course of driving or for a road trip activity.
Wikki Stix Lil’ Traveler Playset
A pack of Wikki Stix alone can be good for hours of fun but this kit comes with sheets for tic-tac-toe, road trip bingo and more. These bendable sticks are super fun for kids and also don’t leave a residue.
This little set of cards (5×6″) can make downtown fun for the whole family. It’s full of word games, trivia, memory exercises and more. You could even attach it to a backpack or some activity trays.
Kids’ Audio Books
Children’s audiobooks are a fantastic road trip activity. Kids’ Bible stories, nursery rhymes, and even Harry Potter books are all available in audiobook form. You can even try them out first to see how the kids like them with a free Audible trial.
When lyrics on the radio aren’t yet suitable for kids, but they’re desperate to hear the latest Bruno Mars song, this is where Kidz Bop comes in. These are CDs that transform the lyrics of current songs into ones that are G-rated and also sung by kids. Truthfully, these CDs are more enjoyable for adults than you might think.
Maybe you’re not in the mood to hear Kidz Bop or an audiobook. This is where keeping kid-safe headphones in the car will help. Good headphones also prevent kids from becoming frustrated by your music interfering with whatever they’d like to listen to. Many, many professional quality review sites like Wirecutter recommend Puro headphones as the best on the market for protecting young ears.
No matter the age, a hungry kid can wreck a series of errands or a road trip. Pack a stash of snacks and water that can sustain them when things take a bit longer than usual, or in case of emergency.
A car lap desk can actually be something as simple as a sheet pan, if you think the kids can hold onto it. Most of them are magnetic so why not stick some alphabet letters or other favorite magnets on it or let the kids have at it with dustless washable chalk (if you think they can keep the chalk on the pan, that is).