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Engaging Activities to Keep Kids Entertained on Vacation

Engaging Activities to Keep Kids Entertained on Vacation

Are you planning a family vacation and dreading the long car ride or flight? Worry not! In this post, I’ll detail a treasure trove of travel activities for kids that will transform your journey into an adventure. Whether you have younger children or older kiddos, our ideas are designed to keep boredom at bay and make every moment of your trip memorable.

Why Travel Activities for Kids Matter

Travel activities for kids are more than just a way to pass the time. They’re a fantastic opportunity to engage your child’s mind, nurture their creativity, and even develop fine motor skills. From the backseat of a car to the cramped space of a plane seat, these activities can turn a long trip into an exciting part of your vacation.

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An image of kids engaged in different activities outdoors.

A Travel Companion Like No Other

As parents, we know that keeping kids entertained during a long drive, flight, or hotel stay can be challenging. But with the right mix of fun and educational activities, you can ensure that your kids are not only occupied but also enjoying every bit of the journey. Our guide will offer you the best travel activities for kids of all ages, ensuring that your next family vacation is filled with joy and laughter.

Stay Tuned for a World of Fun!

From magnetic travel games that captivate older siblings to simple yet engaging games like the alphabet game for the little ones, we’ve got you covered. We’ll explore a range of activities – some requiring materials like coloring books and reusable sticker books, and others just your imagination. 

So, buckle up and get ready to discover the great travel activities for kids that will make your next trip the best one yet!

Travel Activities for Young Children

Engaging the Little Explorers

Traveling with young children can be a delightful yet daunting task, especially during a long car ride or flight. But fear not, as we’ve compiled some of the best and great travel activities for kids that are both fun and stimulating for their developing minds.

Simple and Interactive Games

License Plate Game

One timeless activity for kids while traveling is the license plate game. It’s a wonderful way to engage your kids about different states histories or facts. Each time someone finds a new state’s license plate, have the adult who’s not driving look up information about that state. 

This game is not only a fun way to pass time on a long trip but also a subtle educational tool for young minds. Kids think they are looking for license plates when in reality you’re just finding a way to get subtle permission to teach them about that state.

Playing the license plate game during a long car ride encourages observation and geographical knowledge, making it an engaging and educational vacation activity for kids.

I Spy

I Spy” is another classic that can be played anywhere, from the car seat to a hotel room. You can start using silly voices when saying, “I spy with my little eye.” In fact, my kids only allow the adults to play if we say, “I spy with my big eye.”

This simple yet engaging game helps young children with color recognition and vocabulary development. Plus, it’s a lot of fun and requires no additional materials – a perfect travel activity for kids!

“I Spy” also encourages kids to be observant of their surroundings, making it an amazing way to explore new environments during long trips or in different locations.

i spy is one of the travel activities for kids

The Alphabet Game

The alphabet game is a fantastic travel activity for little kids. There are two common variations of this game. In one version kids will look for items that begin with the letter. The other option is that they will look for signs that contain the letter.

Either way this game can turn a long drive into an exciting learning journey, enhancing their spelling skills and keeping them happily occupied.

Playing the alphabet game during family road trips is not only a great way to pass time but also a fun method to engage young children in recognizing letters and words, adding an educational twist to your journey.

Creative and Educational Tools

Look for coloring books and activity books that are age appropriate for your kiddo. Bonus points if the book is themed with for the destination you are traveling to. One of the best tips to get a kid excited about a vacation is to engage them in activities about the location along the way.

Coloring Books

Coloring books are a great travel activity for kids, especially for long-haul flights. They not only keep little hands busy but also foster creativity and improve fine motor skills. With a variety of themes available, coloring books can captivate younger children for a long time.

Activity Books

Activity books, filled with puzzles, mazes, and simple tasks, are perfect for keeping young kids engaged. These books are not just a fun way to pass time, they also help in developing problem-solving skills and concentration.

entertaining travel activities for kids

Tips for Parents

Making the Most of Travel Trays

Travel trays are a fantastic addition for travel activities for kids. They provide a flat surface for drawing, coloring, or playing games, making it easier for young children to enjoy their activities even in a cramped car seat or on a plane.

Balancing Screen Time

While it’s tempting to rely on digital devices, balancing screen time with other activities is crucial. Intersperse periods of screen time with hands-on activities like coloring or playing games to keep the journey enjoyable and varied for your little ones.

Travel Activities for Older Kids

Keeping Older Kids Engaged and Happy

When it comes to older kids, travel activities need a bit more sophistication to keep them interested, especially during a long trip. Here, we explore activities that are perfect for older children, ensuring they’re both fun and intellectually stimulating.

Advanced Games and Challenges

Mad Libs

Mad Libs are a fantastic travel activity for kids, particularly for those on a long flight or drive. They not only provide a fun way to play with language but also encourage creativity and laughter. Plus, it’s a great activity for the whole family to enjoy together.

Travel Journaling

Encouraging your kids to keep a travel journal is a great way to document the journey. This activity not only keeps them busy but also helps in developing writing skills and improving mindfulness.

travel journaling

Advanced Alphabet Game

For older kiddos, you can make it more challenging by only counting words that begin with that letter. So Jack in the Box wouldn’t work for the letter K but K-Mart would. This challenging twist on a classic game will take a little bit of extra patience.

Tech-Free Entertainment

Scratch Art and Magnetic Games

Scratch art kits or magnetic travel games are great options for younger children. They allow for creativity and strategy without taking up too much space. These activities are a fantastic alternative to screen time, providing a different kind of entertainment during a plane ride or drive.

Books and Audiobooks

Encouraging older kids to dive into a good book or listen to an audiobook can be a wonderful way to enjoy the journey. This travel activity not only entertains but also improves reading and listening skills, making it perfect for a long trip.

LCD Writing Tablet

When you have a lot of time on your hands one of the best ways to keep kids engaged is to interact with them. In today’s digital age parents aren’t used to doing that as much. Spark your child’s imagination by giving them a letter of the alphabet and asking them to draw items that begin with that letter on an LCD Writing Tablet. Imagination games are a great road trip activity and make the time for both adults and kids go faster.

Encouraging Independence

Choice and Responsibility

Giving older kiddos the responsibility to choose and manage their own travel activities can be empowering. It allows them to feel in control and make decisions about how they want to spend their time, whether it’s a car trip or a long flight.

Role of Older Siblings

Older siblings can play a significant role in travel activities. They can help choose activities for younger siblings, play together, or even lead games. This not only keeps them engaged but also strengthens their bond.

older siblings role

Activities for the Whole Family

Creating Memorable Moments Together

Family vacations are the perfect opportunity to bond, and what better way than through travel activities that involve everyone? From engaging in printable road trip games to exploring travel-themed books together, these activities ensure that everyone, from the little kids to the older siblings, has a part in the fun.

Here, we focus on activities that are not just for kids but for the whole family, turning a long road trip or flight into a shared adventure. By incorporating these travel activities, you not only keep the younger toddlers entertained but also create lasting memories that the whole family will cherish for years to come.

Group Games and Activities

Tic Tac Toe and Classic Card Games

Simple yet engaging, games like Tic Tac Toe and card games are fantastic travel activities for kids and adults alike. They don’t require much space, are easy to set up, and can provide hours of fun for the entire family, making them a great option for family road trips.

Printable Road Trip Games

Printable road trip games can be a lifesaver during a long drive. With options like bingo or scavenger hunts, these games can be tailored for every age group, making them one of the best travel activities for families. They’re a fun way to keep everyone engaged and interacting.

Exploratory and Learning Activities

Travel-Themed Books and Apps

Bringing along travel-themed books or airplane themed apps is not just a fun way to pass time, but also a great learning opportunity for the entire family. These resources can offer insights into the culture, history, and geography of your travel destination, making them perfect for enriching your journey. They can easily turn a long trip into an educational experience, encouraging kids to ask questions and learn more about the world around them. 

Plus, these activities are a fantastic way to spark conversations among family members, share knowledge, and even plan future travels based on what you discover together.

Group Storytelling or Podcast Listening

Engaging in group storytelling or listening to family-friendly podcasts can be a delightful travel activity, especially during a long haul flight or extended car drive. This activity allows family members of all ages to share stories – be they personal, fictional, or from a favorite book. It’s a unique way to bond, igniting the imagination of both young and old. 

Listening to podcasts that cater to the interests of the entire family can also be a great way to learn something new together. Whether it’s a podcast about science, history, or just a fun story, it can provide entertainment and education simultaneously, making it a valuable addition to your travel activities repertoire.

book reading and story telling as travel activities for kids

Planning and Preparation

Involving Kids in the Planning Process

Getting kids involved in planning travel activities can make the experience more meaningful for them. It’s a great way to build excitement and ensure that the activities chosen are appealing to everyone, making your next family vacation even more special.

Preparing for Diverse Interests

Remember to consider the diverse interests and age groups within the family when selecting travel activities. It’s a good idea to have a mix of games, books, and creative activities like fidget toys in different shapes, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Including some of the best travel games and incorporating everyone’s favorite travel activities keeps the entire family happy and engaged.

Practical Considerations for Travel Activities

Making Travel Easier for Everyone

While it’s exciting to plan travel activities for kids, it’s equally important to consider the practical aspects. This section delves into tips and strategies to ensure the implementation of these activities is as smooth and enjoyable as possible for your family.

Discovering the best ways to keep everyone entertained can be much fun, and often, the best part of the trip is seeing your kids having a great time. We’ll share some good ideas that are not only practical but also guarantee a great time for the entire family.

Packing and Organizing Travel Activities

Read More: Best Luggage for Kids That They Can Manage Themselves

Efficient Packing for Travel Fun

When it comes to travel activities for kids, the key is to pack smart. Choose activities that are compact and don’t require many small pieces, which can be easily lost. Items like coloring books, LCD writing tablets, and travel-sized games are perfect for this. Also, consider using a plastic bag or small pouch to keep all activity-related items together.

efficient packing for travel fun

Organizing for Easy Access

Organizing your travel activities in a way that they are easily accessible is crucial, especially for long car rides or flights. Ensure that each activity book, fun game, and other materials have a specific place. This method is the best thing to keep everything orderly and within reach. By doing so, the first person who needs something can easily find it, whether it’s for road trip activities or a quick game to pass the time. This organization not only prevents mess but also makes it easier for kids to find and enjoy their travel activities without any hassle.

Dealing with Challenges

Managing Motion Sickness and Restlessness

Travel activities can also be a great way to manage motion sickness and restlessness, especially in younger toddlers. Choose activities that are less likely to cause motion sickness, like listening to audiobooks or playing simple word games. Also, remember to take regular breaks during long drives for some fresh air and stretching.

Adapting Activities for Different Age Groups

It’s essential to adapt travel activities for kids of different ages. While older siblings might enjoy more complex games or reading, younger children may prefer coloring or simple puzzles. Including a variety of activities can cater to each age group’s needs and keep everyone happy.

Preparing for the Unexpected

Always have a backup plan for your travel activities. This could mean packing a few new toys to surprise your kids, having an extra travel tray for spontaneous coloring sessions, or keeping a special find book for young explorers.

Consider including a spare set of headphones for audiobooks or podcasts, which can encourage good behavior during longer stretches. Additionally, having additional printable games or a compact game board can be a great idea, ensuring you’re well-equipped for any delays or unexpected travel time extensions. These preparations can be a real game-changer, making your journey smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

creative travel activities for kids

Embark on Joyful Journeys with Kids

Wrapping Up the World of Travel Activities for Kids

As we come to the end of our guide on travel activities for kids, it’s clear that with a little creativity and planning, any journey can be transformed into an enjoyable and memorable experience for the whole family. From long car rides to flights, these activities are designed to keep kids of all ages engaged and happy.

Reflecting on the Journey of Fun and Learning

We’ve explored a variety of travel activities for kids, from simple games like the alphabet game for younger children to more complex tasks like travel journaling for older kids. These activities not only serve as entertainment but also as opportunities for learning and development, making every moment of your trip valuable.

A Heartfelt Note to Fellow Traveling Families

Remember, the great travel activities for kids are those that fit your family’s interests and needs. Whether it’s a long road trip or a flight, these activities can help make your travel smoother and more enjoyable. Don’t forget to balance screen time with other interactive and fun activities to keep the journey diverse and engaging.

Your Next Family Adventure Awaits!

As you plan your next family vacation, consider incorporating these travel activities for kids into your journey. They are sure to bring smiles, laughter, and a whole lot of fun, making your trip an unforgettable adventure. And who knows, these travel activities might just become a cherished part of your family’s travel tradition!

We’d love to hear about your travel experiences and the activities that worked best for your family. Share your stories in the comments below and let’s inspire each other with more amazing travel activities for kids!

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FAQ: Travel Activities for Kids


  • Veronica Hanson

    Veronica Hanson blogs from whatever country she happens to be in at the time, currently she's hanging out in Japan. She's been living as a nomad remote entrepreneur with her family since 2020.

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