30+ Travel Games and Activities for Kids
Written by Noreen Greimann
Traveling with young children..in a car for 6 hours, on a plane across the Atlantic for 9+ hours. OH MY!!!
Don’t get me wrong. The idea of vacationing with my family brings me utter joy BUT the actual traveling part…well, that’s a different story.
I used to dread the long overnight flights to Europe with two small children and then hopping into a car for another 6 hours.
But EVERYTHING changed on our most recent trip. (Yes, for the better.)
Let me start at the beginning.
The Search for the Ultimate Minimalist Travel Activities
In the springtime, I began to think about our upcoming vacation. How could we make sitting for hours on end enjoyable? One of our main goals was also to travel with only the bare necessities and that included entertainment for our children.
With those two key points in mind, I read through articles filled with travel activities for children. I asked moms everywhere for their best tips and tricks.
My list of ideas grew longer and longer. There was hope. A sense that it would be possible to enjoy every part of our vacation wholeheartedly.
As I neatly organized and categorized all the ideas in a spreadsheet, I imagined my two tired children towards the end of our journey. Would the ideas work in that situation?
When you see an idea on Pinterest or anywhere else online, it’s often all rainbows, unicorns and jellybeans. But as we know all too well…it doesn’t always work like that.
In the end, only the games and activities that passed all the requirements and tests made it into my Travel Games & Activities Bundle, which I’m so excited to share with you.
When we road-tested the bundle on our trip to Germany, we used many of the games and activities successfully and still have many new ideas for future trips.
And the best part is that the packs fit snugly into my purse at a size of only 4 x 5 inches.
Want a peak inside? Read on…
Our Favorite Travel Activities and Games
Coming up with riddles kept the whole family entertained for over an hour on a 5-hour car ride. I was surprised by the clever riddles my children came up with once they got the hang of the game. My husband, who was driving, found that coming up with riddles kept him more alert, which may not be the case for everyone but it certainly worked out for us.
2) Water World and Busy Bugs by SmartGames
These travel games (many more options are available on Amazon) are the only items I purchased for traveling. I didn’t present them to my children until we absolutely needed them. The time came when we were stuck in a stand-still traffic jam that we knew was going to last quite a while. The kids LOVED them. We used them quite a bit for the remainder of our vacation and they were especially handy at restaurants. They fit easily into my purse along with the Travel Bundle packs. And even my husband and I found ourselves enjoying these games.
3) Dots & Boxes
This simple pen and paper game only requires a small piece of paper and a pencil. My husband and our daughter challenged each other over and over again. It requires some focus and strategy to play it well. But since you can start with a small 4×4 grid, even children as young as 4 can quickly master Dots & Boxes.
4) Travel Friends
Before we left, our children chose a special friend to bring along…a stuffed elephant and ladybug for my son and a pink bear for my daughter. They had their special pockets in the children’s backpacks along with small blankets. Elephant, ladybug and pink bear listened to our children tell them about the journey. They were tucked in for naps and fed when they were hungry. Having their special friends along gave them the comfort that was sometimes needed when far away from home.
Okay, this is not exactly an activity but then again…it keeps them busy. On one of our first vacations with two children, I remember packing a variety of snacks. I thought I was set…until I gave them a bag of trail mix to SHARE. What was I thinking??? Sharing doesn’t come easy when kids are cranky and tired. I learned my lesson and now I always pack snack in either individual bags or have bags or small containers on hand to divide any food.
Lessons Learned On The Road
I can pack even less. Can you believe that??!?
Despite my best intentions to travel light, we still carried things that we didn’t need, including items that I thought would be super helpful to keep our children entertained.
I can honestly say that the next time we hit the road, we will only be taking the Travel Games & Activity Bundle, a simple art kit, one or two games, two chapter books and travel friends.
Ready to make your next road trip a breeze?