Traveling can be stressful with kids. If you choose a car activity or two, it can make it much more bearable and sometimes downright enjoyable. Today I want to share with you a few fun family car activities to do while traveling.
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It’s almost summer!
School will be out soon, and you’ll be planning a summer vacation (or more than one) for the whole family. That can only mean one thing…ROAD TRIP!
If your kids are like mine and millions of other children on this planet, you’d think the only words they have in their vocabulary are:
ARE WE THERE YET? HOW MUCH LONGER?
Gone are the days of anxiously watching for the next trucker to pass so you can pump your arm in the air and they’ll honk their horn at you. No more laying in the back window without a worry of being ejected should there be a car accident. And what exactly are Walkmans anyway?
Yes, you can give your kids a tablet and completely ignore them. I won’t judge! Believe me, there are many times Brent and I do exactly this. What?!? Your kids are perfect and you never want them to just shut up? Oh, it must just be us.
Check out our family’s list of fun activities to do while traveling in the car. ***Bonus***…they’re also educational! =)
Table of Contents
Family Car Activity #1: Jokes & Riddles
Our kids love to be silly, so it only makes sense that they ask us to share jokes and riddles with them. They especially love knock-knock jokes. Here’s one that made us laugh a lot:
Knock-knock. Who’s there? Double. Double who? Double you!
No idea why that one makes us laugh so much. I guess we’re just easily amused.
We also score mega points when the jokes have to do with pets.
What do you get if you cross a sheepdog with a rose? A collie-flower!
Haha! So fun!
Here are a few of the websites we like to browse when trying to find new jokes and riddles:
- Aha! Jokes
- Jokes By Kids (kids can actually submit their own jokes on this website as well)
- Riddles And Answers
*Educational aspects: sparks creativity and critical thinking
Family Car Activity #2: Road Trip Bingo
I’ve noticed that Target Dollar Spot has consistently had Road Trip Bingo boards each spring for the past few years. Our kids LOVE doing this, and it keeps them busy looking at their surroundings. Brent and I don’t have boards, but I think I’ll grab one for each of us during my next grocery shopping trip.
Like with traditional bingo, you mark off squares and yell “BINGO” when you have the required pattern completed. And what kid doesn’t like to yell knowing that they won’t get in trouble for it!?!
To prevent fighting amongst the kids, have the driver decide what constitutes a bingo. Maybe it’s 5 in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Or it could be a square or four corners. Try other things like a “T”, “X”, or “I”. And for longer trips, play “blackout” where the whole board has to be marked off.
Kids tend to get bored after a couple of rounds of bingo, so spice it up with some friendly competition and they’ll play longer. Here are some ideas for prizes:
- Winner gets to choose the next bingo pattern
- 30 minutes of listening to the winner’s favorite music
- Winner’s seat of choice after the next potty/snack break
- The next restaurant is winner’s pick
- Winner picks a movie to watch
- 30 minutes of screen time for the winner
The possibilities are endless!
The Target bingo boards have pictures on them such as yield signs, dump trucks, bicycles, dogs, etc. You can get License Plate Bingo boards on Amazon, and there are many free printables you can find on the internet as well. Just print them out, laminate them, and use dry erase markers to mark the squares. Or create your own!
*Educational aspects: increases attention to detail and helps them learn about road signs/license plates/transportation/etc.
Family Car Activity #3: Lip Sync/Karaoke
Our family loves music and our kids are crazy, so this activity is perfect and super easy to do! It’s as easy as turning on your radio and finding a station you like to listen to. Or maybe you have Pandora or Spotify on your phone, and you can search for kid-friendly stations. Or better yet, create your own playlist and include all the sing-a-long worthy songs your family enjoys.
Maybe you want to be a little different. Try using background music to create your own songs. I know many people use popular nursery rhymes or classical music to create songs for their children to help them learn math or grammar basics and rules. Oooh…or a fan favorite…BROADWAY HITS! Get those young minds appreciating the arts.
Beware! This may cause daddies to unexpectedly break out in song and dance…while driving.
*Educational aspects: music education and appreciation
Family Car Activity #4: Mad Libs
Mad Libs was one of my personal favorite activities to do as a kid. It’s great to see that they are still around today and as humorous as ever.
If you don’t know what Mad Libs are, you are missing out. Stop what you’re doing and go buy one now!
Basically, Mad Libs are tablets of stories with words missing throughout each story. It’s like a fill in the blank worksheet but in story form. Under each blank, there is a part of speech (noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, etc.) listed to tell you what kind of word needs to fill in that blank.
Pick someone to be the interviewER and someone to be the interviewEE. Without reading the story first, the interviewER asks the interviewEE to provide the part of speech for each blank, and the interviewER fills in the blank with that word. Once all the blanks are filled, the interviewER then reads the story out loud and hilarity ensues.
*Educational aspects: increases reading, writing, spelling, and grammar skills
Family Car Activity #5: Watch A Movie
This activity requires you to either have a DVD player in the car or some form of computer technology on which to run movies. Let the kids pick out their favorites, and you’ll have some quiet time for at least a few hours. Great option for those LONG road trips!
There are tons of movies to choose from: comedy, animated, historical, etc. Nine times out of ten my children will pick a Disney movie, but they have also been known to sit and watch Liberty Kids for hours. And I really should download some documentaries, because I’ll catch them randomly watching PBS/National Geographic shows about penguins, sharks, sloths, etc.
*Educational aspects: develop a knowledge of history, science, etc., and helps them learn about plots/storylines
Family Car Activity #6: Listen To Audiobooks
We homeschool, and any chance my kids get to choose an audiobook over actually reading the book, they will take it. I hated having to read much of anything when I was in school, so I can’t blame them for wanting to listen to the audio versions. I’m still amazed at how well they really listen and understand what’s being read to them.
The internet has so many websites you can visit to download or stream audiobooks. Our favorite and the one used in our homeschool curriculum is LibriVox. It’s absolutely free and has almost 12,000 cataloged works read aloud in tons of different languages.
Connect your mobile device to your car’s audio system, and the whole family can enjoy listening to some great literary works.
*Educational aspects: enhances listening abilities and comprehension and develops a love of books
Family Car Activity #7: Travel Workbooks
Travel workbooks are great items to keep in the back pockets of the front seats. They are flat, store easily, and can be grabbed at any time. We also throw a pencil in the pocket for convenience and keep a small pencil sharpener within easy reach.
My brother gave each of my kids The Ultimate Backseat Book for Christmas last year. It actually contains 3 of the Rand McNally backseat books in one, and it’s filled with road maps, popular attractions in the U.S., crossword puzzles, mazes, trivia, and more! The book is very colorful and vibrant and holds their attention for long periods of time.
*Educational aspects: increases knowledge of geography and history, enhances spelling and critical thinking skills
Family Car Activity #8: Usborne Activity Books
We love, love, love Usborne Books! They have super high quality, colorful, and creative books for children and are sold through independent consultants all over the world.
A team of consultants that we are especially fond of are our neighbors in Texas (mother/son) at Wonderful World of Books. Check out their site and look at all of the amazing books Usborne has to offer. I think we have almost all of their activity books because they are perfect for traveling.
*Educational aspects: fosters their love of reading, enhances critical thinking skills, and teaches them to follow directions
Really, there are hundreds of activities that could be added to this list, but these are just a few of our favorites. Start making your list now! It will make your next road trip a bit more bearable.