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10 Greatest Ways To Entertain Kids On Road Trips 

Guys. We LOVE road trips. Our family calls them ‘adventures’. It’s one of our favorite past times. Sometimes when the weekend rolls around, we pack everyone up to get pretzels an hour away. Literally- we drive to a Quick Trip (gas station), get a pretzel, and then drive home. We just love the time together! It’s a time that our family gets to talk, listen to music, or just be quiet for a while. It’s our favorite! So here are our favorite ways to entertain kids on road trips! Hot tip: These activities translate well to plane trips too!

21 hours in the car!

To begin with, the past few months have been crazy for us. We traveled throughout the summer and then we were gone all of September. On our last trip, we were only home two days when we packed everyone up and went on a 21-hour drive! To be honest, I expected some fussing. I mean, they are 2,4, and 6 years old. However, I truly didn’t hear a single peep. Ultimately, we stopped 3 times for gas, potty breaks, and then for food. They were troopers the entire time. So, what’s the secret? Read on for some of my favorite tricks! 

How we stay organized:

  • I keep all of our travel activities in two Sterilite boxes stored at the foot of our 2-year-olds car seat. This is what I use from Walmart: Storage Boxes
  • I also try not to stress by running to different stores. Amazon is so easy to order and have everything delivered. It makes trip prepping life easy! 
  • I divvy up activities. (Example: I separate glowsticks into different groups. A set for the way there, a set for the way home, a set for dinner at a restaurant, etc.) 
  • Lastly, I keep a bag stored in the pouch of the drivers seat with car necessities. I also have a complete first aid kit in a different location.

(This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links with no additional cost to you! As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This income helps this stay-at-home mama provide for her family!)

#1: Party Favors!

A year or so ago I was wandering up and down Walmart isles and stopped in the party section. I had this great idea! Why not store these little toys in the car and pull them out when they get antsy? So I did! We store them in a bag in our car and when we are on trips longer than an hour we pull them out! The best part is most of them come in at least packs of 4 and when they have been overused you can easily toss them. There are so many of them to try!

A list of our favorites:

  • Party blowers 
    Make sure to get ones without sound! I’ve made that mistake and accidentally got some with squawkers in them.  
  • Billy Bob teeth 
    Remember those? My kids have a blast talking to each other with billy Bob teeth in. 

  • Sticky toys
    You can often find sticky hands or different shapes that the kids can slap at the window. It provides tons of fun! 
  • Grab and go fun-sized coloring books
    They come in party packs and are perfect to keep on hand.
  • Sunglasses 
    The kids have fun looking at each other and things with silly glasses on.

Here are amazon links to examples of things I have bought; I did not buy my party favors from Amazon though, I bought them from Walmart.

#2: Magnetic puzzles

Puzzles are huge in our house! So why not take them on the road? Amazon has some great magnetic puzzles that are super versatile and can provide hours of entertainment! My older girls especially love this one; be sure to grab it while it’s on sale!  

#3: Paint-by-sticker

Did you know this was such a thing?! I saw it for the first time when prepping for our long road trip this September. Evidently, they have tons of fun books that are a blast! My 6-year-old daughters spent hours working on them; I was super impressed with how well they turned out! In addition, for my little boys, I got an animal book full of faces for them to work on. It is a little less advanced so it is perfect for them to learn how to use stickers. These were a few of our favorites on the trip and the best part? Some of them are on sale! Snag them while you can!

#4: Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix are these little wax-covered sticks that are full of flexibility and stick together! So, I printed out a bunch of different connect-the-dots from their website. The great thing is I laminated all of the sheets so that they would be reusable and they could be used with a wipe-off marker too! It was perfect! Amazon has the travel kit listed below, but I chose to buy a pack of multi colors because I had a bag, I was splitting it between several kids, and I wanted to print out papers. Here is the Wikki Stix website for free printables:

#5: Crayola mess-free coloring

Crayola has these awesome mess-free coloring pages! Y’all, I don’t know exactly how they work. However, I know the markers hold this wonderful clear liquid ink stuff that only shows up with color on special paper! Do you know what this means? For one thing, it means no marker or crayon marks all over the car! Crayola has a bunch of great options including beloved animated characters as well as plain paper for their creations. It’s great! My kid’s favorites are Frozen and Paw Patrol, so that’s what I got from Amazon:

#6: Riddles

Critical thinking is super important in our family. Not only that, but we are all a little competitive. Riddles are great because it gets us all thinking, talking, and promotes a little bit of healthy competition to see who can get it first! Critical Thinking Co. is full of high-quality critical thinking material and has a great riddle book that I bring on road trips to read aloud. Besides, I’m always impressed by the ones my kids get right! 

#7: Tic-tac-toe 

My kids LOVE tic-tac-toe. We had two options on our last road trip, I printed out a bunch of tic-tac-toe papers AND we had a magnetic dinosaur option. This was wonderful for my 2-year-old because he can have a hard time writing O’s and X’s sometimes. Being able to pick up a magnetic dinosaur and place it was tons of fun for him. I can’t seem to find what we have but Go Play has a highly-rated version that has tons of great reviews.

#8: Maze Book 

A few birthdays ago one of my kids got this great cardboard maze book from a dear friend. Because it’s cardboard you can use a wipe-off marker. Side note: my 2-year-old took a sharpie to it and a magic eraser took it right off! Since this road trip was 21 hours, I knew on the road trip I wasn’t going to have the time or energy for the constant battle of dropping the marker. So I revised it. To begin with, I punched a hole through the back page with a hole punch. I tied a thick piece of cord tightly to the marker and then placed a piece of

#9: Glow sticks

Okay. This hack is the greatest! I have a few kids that will fuss if they wake up in the night strapped to their car seats. So, my solution? Glow sticks! When it got dark or if my kids woke up in the night, I handed them a few glow sticks and told them to play quietly. They had a blast! They made halos, bracelets, glasses, and of course, had sword fights. It was so much fun! At one point we blasted the music and had a glow stick dance party! There are tons of options for glowsticks, for example, balls, glasses, and bugs! On this trip, I chose to stick with regular sticks, but I wouldn’t hesitate to try this party pack next time! Here is the link to both:

#10: Book on tape

Finally, a favorite in our household: audio dramas! Particularly the odyssey series. They teach great values and lessons throughout their stories. My husband and I both grew up listening to them, and now our kids do as well! It still entertains us, adults. We have the whole platinum collection, DVD’s and tons of others, but I will link a few of our favorite individuals as well. 

I hope you found this list useful! Drop your ideas below if you’ve heard of any other great tricks. I’d love to add to my list of things to do on the road!  

If you have adoption in your family be sure to visit our post on grace-filled solutions to walk through adoption trauma on road trips! These ideas have brought a lot of peace to our family when we are on the road! Unique Adoption Tips For Traveling

For more ideas on creating a grace-filled environment, check out our website!

32 thoughts on “10 Greatest Ways To Entertain Kids On Road Trips ”

  1. 21 hours is a long time to spend in the car for anyone! Great tips on keeping kids entertained on a road trip. Love the glow sticks idea!

    1. I was so surprised we never had a single fussy moment and that everyone when to the bathroom the 3 times we stopped for gas. I was super proud of them!

  2. I love car rides with the kids too and do a lot of the same things! I have two kids so I used to put a clear plastic bin filled with books and toys in between both of their car seats. It worked out perfectly!

    When my kids were younger, they also loved the Melissa and Doug sticker books. They have decorate a scenery, make a face, add toppings to pizza or cupcakes, and dress up dolls – all using stickers! It was a great activity. Highlights books are awesome too!

    I love your ideas about using party favors and how you use glow sticks. Great tips!

    1. We love pretty much ANYTHING Melissa and Doug! Some of our favorites are the water reveal pads and magnetic dolls! I wish I had more space between seats. Since they sit 3 across we store clipboards in the seat pouches for them to reach whenever they want. Thank you for sharing!

  3. We all loved Adventures in Odyssey audio recordings when my boys were younger. Fond memories! You are super organized. Thanks for sharing all of these fun road trip ideas!

  4. These are such great tips! As someone who gets motion sickness really easily, books on tape were essential for road trips when I was a kid.

    1. I have one, in particular, that does as well. We keep peppermint essential oil, lifesavers, and puke bags on hand. Book on tape definitely helps!

  5. I really loved this. We’re planning to take a road trip in December to my husbands family and these ideas will definitely come in handy,
    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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