Are you preparing to hit the road with your family this holiday season? Me too! Traveling by car with the kiddos isn’t my all-time favorite activity but over the years I have found a few tricks that make it more pleasant for everyone. That said, I give you 10 of my tried and true favorite printable kid-friendly road trip activities!
Mum in the Madhouse offers easy to print templates for Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, and other travel games HERE.
Mother’s Home offers several printable game templates HERE. Our favorite is Battleship!
Lalymom offers a wonderful Road Trip Pictionary Game HERE.
PickleBums offers adorable open-ended drawing prompts for on the road HERE.
The Idealist Mom offers a CUTE Road Trip Experiment Idea and Printable HERE. (Be sure to scroll down for the printable, it is beautifully written!)
All For the Boys offers a 12-page set of activities to get your kids thinking, playing and creating HERE.
In the Playroom designed several adorable and unique activities for in the car HERE. We especially love the traffic jam game and consequences!
We rarely get the opportunity to travel very far away from home but if we head out of state I enjoy the State Fun Fact Pages that Education.com offers HERE. Who says you can’t sneak in a little learning fun along the way?
Salt and Pepper Moms offers a cute road trip fun page and a journal page that encourages the kids to write about our travels HERE. I like to save these journal pages every now and then for their childhood folders!
B. Nute Productions offers another cute journal page that I love HERE.
I love printables but I prefer not to use up tons of paper so my favorite hack ever is to use a cheapo roll of contact paper to “laminate” my pages for repeated dry erase use. Laminating with Contact Paper is magic, I tell you! I use it on EVERYTHING-chore charts, busy bags, games, school activities for the dude-everything! How can you do this? First, cut your contact paper just a bit bigger than the sheet you plan to cover(you’ll need 2 pieces of contact paper to cover one sheet front and back). Then, peel the protective paper off and press it sticky side down on your sheet, repeat on the back side of your sheet. Finally, trim around the edges with scissors. Viola! If you struggle the first couple of times stick with it, it’s one of those things that you just have to teach yourself to do. Once you get the hang of it you’re ready to roll.
The girls look forward to that binder stuffed full of goodies for the car on a long trip but I love having a few no-prep tricks up my sleeve for meltdown moments. These games are great for those times when you are about to lose your sanity in the car!
Joint Story-Telling– I like to keep a pack of story cubes in my purse at all times. It saves my life while waiting with the kids. This is basically the same concept tweeked for the car. I’ll start a story and then trade off with another person in the car…they add a bit and I cut them off when I see fit so it can be someone else’s turn…so on and so forth. You can also do the same thing with every person only adding one word to the story at a time as you go around- Ex- Uncle…Alex…died. At…the…funeral…we…heard…about…treasure…hidden…in…the…scary…old…shed…on and on it goes.
ABC Sign Game– This is David’s favorite. Honestly I’m not a huge fan, probably because we play it so often that he knows all of the good spots for hard letters between here and Kansas City(our most frequent road trip) already. It’s a useless endeavor to try to beat that man on a known road. Anyway, play is simple- each player has to find all the letters in the alphabet, in order, on signs and such along the road. We call out the letter and word we found it in as we go along. The first person to complete the alphabet wins.
Some day I am going to make a series of these signs and strategically place them along our route to visit friends and family in KC so I can have a shot at winning again!
Name That Tune– This is a simple favorite. Someone hums. Everyone else guesses. It’s more difficult than you might think, especially if you are trying to guess a 3 year old’s song. For our next road trip I’m going to compile a playlist of random songs and we can try playing the game by guessing the song within the first 10 seconds or so of music playing instead. It’ll be a new twist!
Name 3– this is basically a modified version of 5 Second Rule. Abby was too young to play the actual game but wanted in on the playtime once so we tweeked it, stretching out the timeframe to fit her needs and giving her easier questions- 3 colors you are not wearing, 3 favorite foods, 3 things you drink, 3 pets…over the years it’s grown a little more complicated as the kids have grown and I just use the timer on my phone at somewhere between 5-30 seconds depending on who is playing.
Disney 20 Questions-This is their current favorite for any trips between Marshfield and Springfield. We have the Disney version of Headbanz at home and the kids made up their own version for the car. How we play- someone thinks of a Disney character(ANY character) and the rest of us guess until someone gets it. Personally we don’t keep track of how many questions have been asked and we give hints if it’s taking awhile. The girls could do this all day! Andrew is just starting to understand how to play and likes to chime in with weird questions that throw us all off and make us laugh…”Are you a bus?” is his current favorite thing to ask. That guy makes me smile!
When all else fails I turn on our Wicked Soundtrack. I know that sounds weird but I swear by it. It gets played so often that my one year old son can sing along to most of the songs. Somehow, magically, it grabs our kids attention and soothes the wild beasts within. It never takes more than 3 songs for everyone in the van to bust out their best Broadway skills! It’s loud but it’s happy noise.
What do you do to beat boredom on a family road trip?