50 Road Trip Activities for Kids

A happy family riding on a convertible car on a road trip.

Traveling long distances in a vehicle with children in tow is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. You need to keep them busy but want them to learn and grow at the same time. Our list of 50 road trip activities for kids is a great way to get ideas for your next trip.

I only have two children and they are grown now but my daughter is a mom of five little ones, from ages newborn to eight, and she travels in her van frequently. Her husband’s job requires him to travel which means she travels, a lot. She is quickly becoming a pro at keeping kids occupied while she drives from state to state, many times alone as her husband has to drive his truck while pulling a trailer.

While my grandchildren do have a DVD player that they can utilize to watch movies on their long trips, my daughter tries to find other activities to do so they do not end up with too much screen time and not enough learning time.

Being organized and prepared is one of the main components of a successful road trip with children. You have to keep them entertained but at the same time, find ways to educate them on the places you stop at to visit or the ones you drive past throughout each trip. There are activities you can plan for your children that will connect them with each other, educate them, and connect them to the world outside the vehicle.

To help you out, we have created a detailed list of 50 road trip activities for kids that you can pull ideas from any time you need them.

1. Road Trip Snacks

A toddler eating a banana inside the car.

We have to start our list off with food, one of the main road trip essentials because if you know anything about young children, they love to eat. There are tons of options, including very healthy, and you can make it fun. In a plastic container with dividers and a lid, you can create options of healthy treats, including nuts, organic gummy bears, veggies, and more, that each child gets to pick from when it is time for a snack.

2. Scavenger Hunt

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Game for Kids, Set of 10, Travel Game, Dry Erase (10 markers included)

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Create printables that you take on your car trip with you that includes things you will see on your drive with photos. Give each of your kids a printed sheet so they can circle or color the items as they see them. Give them a time limit so that you can determine who has the most items circled or colored then give that child some sort of prize.

You can create your own printable for each child, or opt to purchase them from places like Amazon or Etsy. You can also get the ones that are re-usable with a dry erase covering and markers. This is a great road trip scavenger hunt that your kids will love and it will keep them busy, entertained, and observant of the world around them.

3. Workbook Collection

A toddle completing a checklist on a clipboard.

My grandchildren love workbooks, also known as a busy book, that are appropriate for each of their ages. I love them because it gives the kids something to do in the car, or in their case, the van, while their mom drives and they are spending time learning new things. I purchase them for them and create a packet of workbooks for each child with their name on the front.

I also send crayons and colored pencils with them so they have something to write with while they are traveling. The younger kids even enjoy them and will just color or scribble. They are always excited to get new workbooks.

4. Audiobooks

A happy boy wearing headphones listening to audiobooks.

Listening to audiobooks is one of my new favorite hobbies because it allows me to “read” so many more books per year since I can listen to them while driving, cooking dinner, and more. My grandkids also now love to listen to an audio book so picking out some from the local library is a fun activity for them and they can listen to them on a road trip as a family.

You can also choose to subscribe to an audio book service, such as Audible, to select a new book each month. This is a great road trip idea since the person driving can also enjoy a good book.

5. Laptops and “Phones”

A boy playing with his tablet in the car.

Yes, it is okay to break out the electronics when needed. As a writer, my laptop is always with me on long trips so my grandchildren like to imitate that. The best ones for them are educational laptops or phones, such as Leapfrog or V-Tech laptops for kids. Some of them resemble more of a phone than they look like a tablet and the kids love them.

These devices will not only keep your kids busy and quiet for long stretches of time, but they will also be learning as they use them so it is a great idea for longer road trips. If your kids are teens or even pre-teens, they are probably already using their actually phones on long road trips, to begin with since they do not seem to ever leave home without them.

6. Sight Words Container

Words grouped by phonetic sounds.

You can create sight words on pieces of paper before you leave home on your road trip and place them into a plastic container or other types of container. You can then have the kids pull a few out at a time to then create sentences from the words. This will allow older kids to use their knowledge to even make up stories from the sight words while your younger kids learn new words.

7. Melissa and Doug Water Wow Books

Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 3-pk, Colors and Shapes, Fairy Tales, Animals

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These particular books are wonderful for road trips because they provide the opportunity for your kids to paint various pages but not with actual paint, but with a water brush instead. This will foster their imagination and creativity without causing a huge mess of paints for you to try to clean from your vehicle later.

You simply refill their water brushes throughout the trip when you stop for gas, to rest, or to eat. You can purchase them on the Melissa and Doug website or through online sites, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

8. Road Trip Activity Binder

This is a printable roadtrip cutout activity.

I like to create a road trip activity binder for each of my four older grandchildren by printing out several different activity sheets that are created for their age and educational level. I even add printable coloring pages that are geared toward each of their interests, including bearded dragons for Brayden and unicorns for Dariana.

You simply put the pages into a three-ring binder with each child’s name on the front (I like to decorate each binder for each child) and add in a three-ring binder pouch to hold some pencils, crayons, and colored pencils or washable markers. They love it when I do this and bring the binders to them right before they leave for their long road trip.

I normally print out new ones for each of their road trips but some people laminate each page then provide dry erase markers so the kids can re-use them over and over again.

9. Books

A kid reading a book inside the car.

I love to read in the car on long trips when I am not the one driving, of course, so my grandchildren like to do it too. The little ones like to look at their picture books while their older siblings read their favorite chapter books. You can check out books at the library if you will be back in time from your trip to return them or purchase some new books for your kids before you leave on your road trip.

10. Music

children listening to music with their headphones in the car.

Kids love to listen to music so bring along their favorite music CDs or use a playlist on your phone to start a sing-a-long with your kids in the car, even the little one still in a car seat, on the long car ride to your destination.

11. I Spy Seek and Find Books

I Spy Everything Woodland for Kids Ages 2-4: Fun Alphabet & Woodland Forest Animals Search & Find Activity book for Toddlers & Preschoolers (Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Boys & Girls)

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You can purchase I Spy or seek and find type books online or at a department or bookstore or you can opt to pick some up at the library for your road trip. Have the kids look out the window for the items in the books so essentially, it becomes a great road trip game and a spin on the actual game of I Spy.

12. The Quiet Game

A family on a roadtrip playing the quiet game.

My cousin crag used to give me a 50 Cent piece if I could sit and be quiet for certain intervals of time. I only made it once because I like to talk a lot but this is a fun game to play with your children to see if they can make it for the allotted time without making a sound and then they win a prize.

13. Don’t Laugh

Siblings laughing in the car.

The “don’t laugh” car game is a lot of fun for all ages. The person who is it at the time tries to make the rest of the family laugh by whatever means they can but everyone has to try to keep a straight face. The person who can go the longest without laughing wins that round and you can even have prices to award each winner. 

14. Good Thing and a Bad Thing

A family having a discussion in the car.

You can pick a good thing and a bad thing bitter currently in the news and discuss them with the kids or find out how their last week at school went and have them point out which things weren’t so great and which ones were wonderful. 

15. Road Trip Songs

A family of three singing together in the car.

Teach your kids some classic road trip songs and sing them with them, including the Wheels on the Bus and 99 Bottle of Milk on the Wall.

16. Learn a New Language

A smartphone showing the app for learning a new language.

You can use one of many websites, such as Duolingo, to help your kids learn a new language along with you. I am currently learning Greek and teaching my grandchildren some of the words I am learning but they can listen and repeat words on a road trip with their parents too.

17. Guessing Games

Two happy boys playing in the backseat.

Have your kids playing guessing games by describing something or making animal sounds to see if they can guess correctly. This is a great travel game that kids of all ages will enjoy.

18. Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

Letters and numbers in a glowing glitchy  font.

Search for the letters on signs and things of the alphabet in their proper order while you are traveling or use a free printable to check the letters off as the kids find them.

19. Jokes and Joke Books

Kid reading a joke book in his tablet.

Tell jokes with your kids or borrow a joke book from the library to facilitate laughter during a long road trip.

20. Counting Games

A close look at bumper stickers with numbers.

Use the timer on your phone to see how many blue cars your kids can count in a certain time limit or how many cows they can see, or whatever object you come up with. This is a good counting game for young children and older ones too on a family road trip.

21. Flash Cards

Alphabet flash cards with colorful pictures.

Flashcard sets are great and will help your children learn math problem solving, a new language, or even sight words in shapes depending on their age. You can put the cards on big binding rings so that you don’t lose them and they don’t end up all over the car and under the seats but you cannot find them.

22. Cereal Necklace

A boy playing with a cereal necklace.

Have the kids help you create cereal necklaces using round pieces of cereal, such as Cheerios or fruit loops, so that they can wear them in the vehicle. Not only can they play with them after you string them on yarn and let them wear them but they can eat the cereal for a snack when they get hungry.

23. Nap or Quiet Time

A toddler sleeping inside the car.

Make sure your children take along their favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or even a pillow so that when it’s time for the younger children to take their afternoon nap, they can do so while the other kids are relaxing and being quiet also.

24. Letter Tracing Pages

A letter tracing activity page for kids.

Letter tracing is a lot of fun for kids of all ages in you can get free printable worksheets online or purchase a letter tracing book for your kids to take on the trip.

25. Kids apps

Toddler playing with a smartphone in the car.

Use your kids’ tablet or phone to download age-appropriate children’s apps onto it so they have plenty of games and other things to do Without getting into trouble.

26. Colorful Tape

A stack of colorful patterned tapes.

My grandchildren love to play with my washi tape or colored masking tape rolls. Buy some for your kids and let them make pictures on sheets of paper.

27. Window Markers

Chalk Markers by Fantastic CHALKTASTIC Best for Kids Art, Chalkboard Labels, Menu Board Bistro Boards, 8 Glass Window Markers, non-toxic Erasable Liquid Pens Chisel or Fine Tip, Neon Colors plus White

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Purchase some non-toxic markers that are washable so that the kids can draw pictures on the car windows while you’re traveling. Yes you’ll have to wipe it off later but it’s so much fun for them and will keep them busy for a long time.

28. Travel Journal

A close look at a colorful drawing of space in a journal.

I enjoy keeping a travel journal of all the places I visit and so will your kids. Create a travel journal for each child in let them paste photos or write about their trip when you’re traveling from place to place.

29. Podcasts for Kids

Siblings listening to a podcast in the backseat.

There are tons of options when it comes to podcasts that are designed for children and even Disney has gotten in on the action. This is a lot like your kids listening to an audio book or their favorite CD while traveling in the car in the podcast are great because it can help them learn new things.

30. Felt Board

This is a felt board with various cutouts of animals.

Purchase a portable felt board to take in the car with you. Have some cutouts available to your younger children so that they can create their own stories on the felt board. Not only will this foster their creativity but will spark their imagination as well.

31. Cheap Road Trip Toys

A kid playing with a wooden toy car at the passenger seat.

Let your kids pick out some inexpensive toys at a dollar store to take with them on the trip. Pack them away then get them out throughout the duration of your trip so they stay new and fresh to the kids and they will enjoy playing with them.

32. Calculators for the Little Ones

A close look at a boy playing with a calculator.

For my youngest grandchildren, playing with a cheap calculator from a store like the Dollar Tree is super fun for them. They think it is a phone and talk away on it. Not only is it adorable but it will keep them busy while older children read a book or watch a movie that is age-appropriate for them.

33. Taped Toys

This is a wall taped toy with cars and roads.

Use a cookie sheet or a piece of cardboard to tape some of your kids’ toys to it, such as a race track or train track, before you leave so they can play with their cars or trains while traveling in a vehicle. This is great so your kids can bring a favorite toy along and still be able to play with it in the car.

  • 34. Busy Bag

Piklohas Toddler Toys‘ Busy Board Educational Montessori Education Help Kids Play for Toddlers Foldable Sensory Toys Autism Toys Bag Design, Toddler Activity Board - Educational Learning Toys

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You can put smaller toys and learning books into a busy bag for smaller children to take on their road trip while your older child can create their own. You can also purchase busy bags for your child’s age group, complete with a busy board that folds out, from places like Amazon.

35. Foil Ball

This is a ball made of foil.

Make a foil ball by bunching up tin foil to allow the kids to mold it into different shapes.

36. Coloring Book

Kid coloring a page of his coloring book.

I always make sure my grandchildren each have a coloring book to take with them on long road trips and a pack of crayons to go with them.

37. Road Trip Bingo

An illustration of a road sign with Bingo written on it.

When it comes to fun car games, road trip bingo is at the top of the list. You can create your own bingo cards with animals, letters, or numbers or opt to purchase a bingo game you can play on the way to your destination. You can laminate the cards or place them in a plastic bag so kids can you a dry erase marker to mark their possible bingoes.

38. Trivia Questions

The word TRIVIA in colorful block letters.

Before you head out on your family vacation, create some lists or use free printables from the internet, to have plenty of trivia questions on hand. Your kids will be learning while you make a fun game out of it.

39. Board Game

A couple playing a board game.

Bring along a board game on your trip that your kids enjoy playing together.

40. License Plate Game

A close look at a North Carolina License Plate.

You can create your own license plate game or purchase one from places like Amazon or Walmart. Kids love to see who can complete the list before everyone else.

41.  Sticker Books

A kid playing with a sticker book.

From your little kid to your big kid, all children love sticker books. you can opt to get them reusable sticker books so that they are not sticking them all over your vehicle.

42. Movies

A kid watching a movie on his laptop.

Kids love to watch movies on their DVD players in the car on long road trips and a little bit of screen time is not only good for them it’s great for you.

43. Wikki Stix

Sensory Fidget Toy, Arts and Crafts for Kids, Non-Toxic, Waxed Yarn, 6 inch, Reusable Molding and Sculpting Sticks, American Made by Wikki Stix, Assorted Colors, 24 pack

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Wikki Stix are bendable and sticky in your kids will play with these for hours, even your toddler. They will not create a mess and kids can play with them without dropping them.

44. Magnetic Cookie Sheet

Wilton Industries 13.25x9.25 Cookie Pan, Small, Steel

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Pick up a cheap magnetic cookie sheet for each of your children then stock up alphabet magnets or magnets that feature shapes, animals, etc. Your younger children will love these to play with for hours while your older kids can make different words and even make a game of it.

45. Pipe Cleaners

A bunch of colorful neon pipe cleaners.

Put some pipe cleaners through holes that you poked in the top of an old coffee can and your little ones will play for hours sticking the pipe cleaners through the holes or you can even use a cardboard box for the same effect.

46. Magnadoodle with Stamps

SGILE Magnetic Drawing Board Toy for Kids, Large Doodle Board Writing Painting Sketch Pad, Blue

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Kids love a great Magnadoodle in one with stamps is even better. This is a classic oldie but goody toy for long road trips. 

47. Printable Road Trip Games

A printable road trip activity sheet.

There are tons of free printable road trip games throughout the Internet and you can choose the ones that are age-appropriate for your children to take on your trip.

48. Boogie Board

Boogie Board Blackboard Reusable Notebook with Note-Size Writing Tablet with Stylus, Instant Erase + Note-Taking Templates (5.5”x 7.25”)

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A Boogie Board allows kids to write and draw while using a tablet which is wonderful for a road trip. It’s essentially an electronic chalkboard.

49. Maps and Atlases

This is a map of the world with labels.

Kids love maps in to see where they’re at during a trip. You can pick up free maps of the trip you were going on at your local Triple-A office and give each of your kids their own copies so they can keep track of where you are at every step of the way.

50. Catologues and Magazines

A colorful children's magazine.

Kids love to look at toy catalogs and magazines that feature a lot of kid’s toys when they are traveling so they can tell you what they want for their next Christmas or birthday present walk keeping them occupied for a while.

FAQs About Road Trip Activities

Why is traveling good for kids?

And helps them become more adaptable inflexible and they learn so much from visiting new places, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures.

How does traveling change people’s lives?

Traveling helps people, including children, learn and grow into more well-rounded individuals.

Why are road trips great for seeing the country?

Road trips allow you to stop along the way to visit new towns, take tours, and visit places you have never been before. If you fly when you take a trip you get there a lot quicker but you miss out on seeing all the places in between your destinations.

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