If you're thinking of going on a good old-fashioned road trip this summer with the kids, you may be wondering how to keep them occupied for hours on end in the car. Between constant bathroom stops, carsickness, and a chorus of "Are we there yet?" a road trip with kids might not even seem worth it!
But don't despair. Your kids can learn to love the open road and the journey can be just as fun as the destination. When you road trip with kids, you don't have to worry about airport germs, flights getting cancelled or being quarantined in another country, but you can still have the exploration and thrills of a lifetime when you travel.
Like apple pie and the Statue of Liberty, few things are quite freeing and “American” as a good road trip. Check out some of our favorite road trip routes and use our suggestions to make sure your car is well-stocked with snacks and things to keep your kids (and you!) occupied and making fun memories in the car.
Buy an activity kit or make one yourself
This Unbored Road Trip activity kit by Mindware is stuffed with fun things to keep kids occupied in the car. Car bingo, drawing games, memory challenges, containers to collect souvenirs, a book light, stickers, crayons and more are included in this kit. If you prefer to make one yourself, stock up on small craft supplies and games to surprise your kids and keep them busy.
Pull out some Mad Libs— or download the app
You may remember playing Mad Libs during your childhood— the word game where one player prompts the others for a list of words to fill in the blanks to create a story. The game teaches kids about parts of speech, gets everyone involved, and creates a funny story in the end. If you don't have physical Mad Libs books, download the app before your trip for hours of fun.
Get some free printable travel games
Before you hit the road, print some of these free travel games to whip out when your kids are getting restless. There's a license plate game, road sign scavenger hunt, hang man, tic tac toe, crosswords, and more. Armed with these activity sheets and some crayons, the backseat will be quiet for miles!
Don't forget the healthy, kid-friendly road trip snacks
Instead of loading your kids up on sugar in the car, plan ahead and bring healthy, fun road trip snacks for them to enjoy every few hours. You can make trail mix, bring yogurt and berries, hummus, cheese sticks, almonds, granola bars and more. Click here for great ideas of road trip snacks your kids will love, and that will save you another trip through the McDonald's drive thru.
Listen to audio books with Audible
The whole family can be entertained by listening to an audio book along the open road. Audible is allowing kids to stream a collection of stories (across eight different languages) for free on desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. You can even search audio books by age group to ensure your little ones will be engaged with the story.
Keep everything organized with a travel tray
A child travel tray like this one by Lusso Gear makes sure everything stays organized and in one place. The tray includes a dry erase board, tablet stand, zipper pockets, and a cupholder. There's less chance of spills or toys lost in the cracks of the car with this portable travel tray.
Help them learn with a kids' road atlas
Rand McNally's kids' road atlas is a fun, educational way to introduce your children to the road and the places you drive through on your trip. The atlas includes simplified road maps of all 50 states, travel games, state-by-state puzzles, and information about each state. Your kids will learn about every state you pass through, and you'll probably learn some interesting information along the way too!
Get creative with road trip games
If you have a few awake, willing passengers, that can be all you need to play road trip games. This list provides tons of ideas for games that will make you laugh and even help you get to know your passengers better.