Kids can be a handful at the best of times, but when you’re traveling with them it becomes even more difficult. Whether it’s a long-distance drive or a short airplane journey, kids will most likely find themselves in a state of boredom, which isn’t good for either parent or child.
However, do not fear, there are many activities that you can do before and during your travels to solve the problem of bored kids. All it takes is a little preparation in finding the right activities to pull out of your sleeve and you’re good to go.
Read on to find out the best boredom-busting activities to make traveling with your kids a breeze.
Easy car games for long road trips
There are a number of easy verbal cars games you can start to play when your kids first start showing signs of boredom. These games are great to play at the beginning of your journey for some light-hearted fun before you might have to get out some other forms of entertainment.
This is a popular game that kids of all ages love and it’s also easily transportable. All you need to do is start with the letter A and then every time your child says an object that starts with this letter, they take a turn.
Another easy car game is I spy where one person tries to describe things they see out of the window or around them without saying the actual name of it. The other players have to guess what the object is, trying not to give away any clues as to what it might be.
20 questions is a good travel game where one person thinks of an object, celebrity, or place, and the other players have 20 questions to try and guess what it is. You can only ask yes or no questions and if you can’t guess after 20 questions, you’ve lost.
You can even adapt this by changing the number of questions you want each player to ask to make it a little more tricky if you’re playing with older kids.
This is a great activity to help your kids relax and also be used as a boredom buster. Start by thinking of an interesting fact about yourself, such as where you got your first pet from or what the best present you have received was.
Next, all players have to take it, in turn, to share their stories with everyone.
Another variation is to make up fictional stories to tell each other for a little fun and creativity.
Paper-based kids activities for traveling
There is a lot you can do with some simple paper and pens, and you can’t underestimate how much you can entertain your kids with these simple things while traveling.
Coloring in books and felt tips
coloring in books with colors are great in any travel situation, whether it’s a car, plane, or boat. Simply break out the crayons, colored pencils, or markers and get your child to color in pictures that they like. This amazing coloring in book set and travel stationery set should do the trick perfectly.
A travel scavenger hunt is the perfect game that the whole family can take part in. To play this game you will need a list of items for your kids to find along your journey. You need a little preparation to have this on hand before you set off, and make sure you include things they will most likely spot out the window while on their journey.
Mazes, puzzles, and problem solvers
Mazes, puzzles, and problem-solvers are great activities to keep your kids busy and entertained, not to mention it helps them improve their motor and thinking, and reasoning skills. Just remember to give them age-appropriate ones that are at their level.
Workbooks/ activity books
There are a number of books you can buy that have a range of activites that kids can do, from dot to dot, spot difference, Jigsaw puzzles, mazes, crosswords, word searches, etc. These are great for keeping your child’s mind active while they travel as well as being inexpensive and easy to transport.
Kids travel journals and journaling
This is a perfect way to help keep your kids from getting bored, whereby they can log their experiences and what they see while traveling in their very own travel journal. You can either buy a travel journal or make your own. This is also a good activity for you and your kids to work together on, and it can help make special travel memories.
Giving children the opportunity to draw while traveling, is the perfect travel activity. It gives children a chance to express themselves, pass the time and also a way of putting to paper the things they may see on their travels. You can always keep your kids entertained of you have a sketch pad and some colors on hand.
There are some travel games that will keep them busy for hours. These can include card and board games that just work when you’re on the move. Whether you’re on the move or stationed in a new place, these travel games will keep you and your kids entertained.
Having a pack of cards on hand wherever you are is always a good idea. You can play a number of games from Snap, Go Fish, and Gin Rummy. What’s great about cards is that they are small, transportable and you can choose from lots of games that are age-appropriate for your children.
Snakes and ladders
This is a fantastic travel game for everyone to join in with. It’s simply an old-school board game where everyone takes turns to roll the dice and move their counter, following the rules of how you move up ladders and gain, or go down snakes and fall behind. It’s super fun and there are great travel sets available.
Nonmessy crafts and activity sets
Crafty activities will keep your kids entertained for hours, but when you’re traveling the usually messy craft just won’t do. Luckily there are a range of activities that don’t cause a mess that your kids will still love on your travels.
Stickers are a great activity to keep your kids of all ages occupied when traveling. In many travel sets, you can find sticker books and stickers with pre-printed backgrounds for them to add the stickers to. These are great as they provide some structure to their sticker play.
You can also buy window stickers, which are perfect when your travel in the car, and add another layer of fun to playing with stickers while traveling.
Magic water drawing books
Your kids will love the Magic Water Coloring Books. These amazing coloring books allow your kids to dive into their imagination and bring their drawings to life with the magic water pens. The color in black outlines like normal, as they color with their water pens, images come alive right before their eyes!
This is the perfect nonmessy decoration that kids can add to enhance any artwork or pictures made on their travels. Washi tape is an adhesive Japanese paper that kids simply add over their drawings and will dry quickly without ruining the surface.
Even though it’s messy, play dough needs to be on this list, it’s just too good at entertaining kids. is a great activity for your children to play with when they’re in the car, train boat, or plane. Just make sure you have plenty of plastic wrap and sandwich bags to store it in, and depending on their age, you may need to keep a close eye to make sure it doesn’t get too messy.
Travel toys for kids
There are a number of amazing toys out there on the market that are perfect for keeping your kids busy while traveling. These range from portable travel toys to activity packs and even fidget spinners. There are lots of options for parents looking for a great toy to keep kids entertained on their travels.
Crayola color wonder- mess free coloring
These Crayola coloring books are great for your kids as there’s no mess involved, which is perfect for traveling. You can also take the pack with you and they’re easily stored in a bag or suitcase. perfect on their own or as part of a busy bag.
My Brick Case
If you buy a My Brick Case for your child, they will never be bored again. This little case is an amazing toy that kids can take everywhere. The idea is very simple; all your child needs to do is take the pieces out and build their own Lego creations which you will see them make in no time at all.
Magnetic toy kits
There are a number of magnetic toy kits you can buy that are perfect for traveling. Because they’re magnets, they won’t easily get spread out and kids just generally love magnets, keeping them busy for ages.
There is nothing better than keeping your child’s minds and imaginations active than by regularly reading books. Doing this while traveling is a great way to keep them entertained in a way that’s healthy for them. You can use physical books, audiobooks, or both combined for a great, wholesome travel activity for your child.
Books for toddlers
Even though your toddler can’t yet read by themselves they can still enjoy reading from tactile picture books.
Great books for toddlers include pop-up books, picture books, and touch and feel books that still tell a story and entertain without words.
Good travel Books/audio book for 4-7
For this age group, it’s great to have the physical books accompanied by the audio books that they can read along with.
Books we recommend for this age group include most of the Julia Donaldson books, the Mr. Men Series (there are over 60 in the series), Dr Seus, and Roald Dahl.
Good travel Books/audiobook for 8-12
For kids aged 8-12 years we recommend books/ audiobooks for traveling by Roald Dahl, any of the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, and Narnia by CS Lewis.
These are all great stories for kids to enjoy with an engaging, fantastical storyline while traveling on their own adventures.
Good travel books/ audiobooks for teenagers
Books we recommend for teenagers while traveling include The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (age dependent), and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.
When traveling with kids, we’re lucky to be in the age of technology. When nothing else works, an iPad, phone, or game can save the day.
iPad/ tablet apps for kids
Wolfram Alpha: gives your child the ability to write out math equations and have them answer it. This might be too difficult for younger kids, but older children will love it as they move into their next stage of education.
Movie apps (such as Netflix and YouTube Kids) allow your child to watch movies during the day, without it needing to be educational. This is great when your child just needs a bit if chill-out time while you’re on your travels.
Letting children listen to music on one of your electronic devices can be a great way to pass the time. Music is great for children’s brains and it can be both fun and/ or relaxing depending on the music they want to listen to.
Audible Audiobooks and pretty similar to the book equivalents we mentioned above, but they’re great for kids who like to keep themselves entertained with stories.
There are lots of different audiobook apps that your child can download to their phone or tablet and take with them when they travel. It’s a great option for road trips when people often feel sick when driving and reading, so they can enjoy listening to a story instead.
geocaching is a fun, engaging way to get your kids outside and explore the world around them, especially if you’re in a new place traveling. It’s basically treasure hunting at its best- you need to search for hidden items in a variety of locations.
Great places to do geocaching include everywhere from parks and museums to zoos and play areas.
Kids can take photos of everything they see on their journey. This keeps them entertained and taking in the world around them. It’s a great activity to do at tourist destinations so they can take photos of all the things they see, as well as out of the window while your drive or are on a train.
Other travel entertainment for kids
Busy bags are packs that contain lots of different activities, many already mentioned in this post. Busy bags can be made up yourself by putting some of the ideas in the post together in a special travel activity bag, or you can buy premade busy bags that take the stress away altogether.
Here are some of the best busy bags on the market
How to make your own busy bag
You can make your own busy bag to take with you on your travels so your child has a range of activities to choose from.
- Choose a sturdy bag that is big enough to fit all your essential children’s toys and entertainment in but small enough that your child can easily transport it. It’s a good idea to have a bag that has a few compartments, so you can separate the different things that will be in your busy bag.
- Choose any type of activities that your child enjoys. Some good ideas include drawing supplies, coloring pencils and, small games like snakes and ladders or cards. Always include a good book that is age appropriate.
- Make sure to add in a variety of different tasks, and games so it doesn’t get boring.
- Always put some healthy snacks in your busy bag. Snaking can be fun and will stop any small hunger pangs your child might feel, especially if you’re traveling a long way. A non-spillable drink is also a good shout.
Tips for keeping your kids entertained when traveling
While it’s great to know the types of activities that help beat boredom while traveling there is also a trick to using them. Here are some of my tips and tricks:
- Don’t crack the technology out straight away – if you do this is all they will want to do, and any other activities will be forgotten about. Instead, use technology as a last resort when your children are tired and frustrated. This is where technology can really be really helpful.
- Choose the right activity depending on your type of travel. e.g. A game with loads of bits might not be great for a road trip, especially if you have a young child that’s strapped into a seat. If they end up dropping it all on the car floor, it may all end in tears. Instead, a toy like this might be better for a plane or train.
- Always try to start off with verbal games you can play with your child. kids will love the fact you are playing with them, and you can leave the self-entertainment games for later when you, as a parent, are feeling a bit tired and fed up.
- If you can, and it’s appropriate, plan your trips and journeys around sleep and nap time. This means your kids can sleep through some of the hardest parts of traveling making it easier on everyone.
Travel activities for kids to beat the boredom
Traveling with children can be a lot of fun, but it’s also important to keep them entertained and busy during the trip. However, if you choose a few from this list above, you will have more than enough things to keep your kids boredom at bay when you’re next traveling as a family.
Do you have any other tips to keep kids entertained on a trip? Feel free to share them in the comments below.