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A long journey with a child in a car can be a challenge if you don’t think in advance about how to have fun with them. In a car or on an airplane, the little fidget is limited in movement, but they will definitely want to “act.”

Adults have to be especially inventive in keeping a child’s mind occupied. But there are plenty of options apart from playing in I-spy!

Best Ways To Entertain Kids While Traveling

Pre-Trip Entertainment

Kids reading map RF

Keeping children busy on the road means they won’t distract the driver with all the “why” and “how” questions, though it can also create an atmosphere of fun right from the beginning of the trip.

And in that sense, start the fun before you even leave for your trip. As you pack your things at home, tell your child about the exciting journey ahead.

You can show them a map of the roads, tell something interesting about places you’re going to visit, read travel guides together, or plan movie nights with movies set in your destination (for instance, age appropriate movies for Hawaii could be Disney’s Moana). 

If you are flying by plane, let them be involved in the process of online checkin, print out their boarding passes even though you can now use your phone for e-checkin, and tell them about what people can and cannot do onboard.

These type of ‘pre-trip’ experiences are just as much about family bonding as they are about keeping your kids entertained. 

Come Up with Rhymes

Kids roadtrip car tablet devices RF

Getting bored? Try verbal travel games like rhyming. Just ask not too complicated options.

Something like “car – star,” “cat – hat,” “road – explode,” and so on. And having collected a few rhymes, you can compose a small poem. 

Find the Extra

It is not difficult for an adult to come up with a series of four words, in which one will be superfluous. For example, “house-palace-ball-hut”.

A superfluous word, of course, “ball,” because you can’t live in it. Your child can pick out the word which doesn’t fit, and explain why. 

Other examples: dog-sparrow-cat-hamster. “Umbrella-shoe-shoe-boot” and so on.

Guess My Song

Singing family in a car RF

Sing the first line of a song that your kids probably know. If they recognize it, let them sing the next one. If they don’t recognize, continue with your vocals until children remember.

Children will support you as soon as they understand which song you have chosen. Then it’s their turn to test your ear for music.

Grandma’s Chest

This fun game strengthens your memory and helps you focus. Someone begins to chant: “I went to the attic and found …” – and names any object.

It may be a real thing, or it may be a fictional one. For example: “I went to the attic and found a purple dog with a yellow stripe.”

The kid repeats: “I went to the attic and found …” At the same time, they must name the object that the first participant of the game chose and add their own, continuing the story.

And then, each next player repeats everything that was said by the previous one and adds one more. Count how many items you can memorize in sequence by the time the game ends.

Guess What

Think of an object and ask the child to guess what it is. Offer him one clue.

If he doesn’t guess, tell me again. Continue helping him until he names the thing correctly.


Kids car trip RF

Think of something that you will surely meet on the road. For example, a green house, a road sign, or a big roadside attraction. Whoever sees the chosen thing first wins. 

Watch a Pre-Recorded Video Podcast

Take your tablet with you to your car or plane and play your own video podcast. 

This can be something like a fairy tale with a child’s favorite toys, or interesting science experiments. Or you can create an exciting slideshow yourself where you will show the country where you are going, its people, culture, and food.

Let Them Listen to an Audiobook

Kids car roadtrip headphones

Audiobooks for kids will help keep kids busy for a few hours. Fairy tales, funny stories, legends, and myths – all this will take young listeners to the world of incredible adventures and fantasies, often making them forget about everything that is happening around them.

There are a lot of options for how to travel with kids and keep them engaged; even more than we have listed of course! The main thing is to make sure that your child is not bored and in no way distracts you from the road if you are driving.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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