ultimate list of road trip activities for kids

Family Road Trip Activities and Tips


Traveling with kids can be a lot of fun – as long as you can keep them entertained! We prefer not to use screens for short trips, so sometimes we have to be creative coming up with screen free family road trip activities. These are some of our go-to activities (and a few technology options at the end, because sometimes kids melt down and you just need to use a screen). I’m also sharing some of my best tips and tricks for keeping kids happy and other supplies you’ll want to bring along on road trips.

ultimate list of family road trip activities and tips for kids

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Screen free family road trip activities

I walk through a lot of these activities and give some more ideas for how to use them in this video

The latest on Youtube:


Books are one of the best time passers for a road trip. Even toddlers can look at books – older siblings can read to them or they can just flip through board books on their own.

Audiobooks are a fantastic option if your kids get carsick easily or if they aren’t reading on their own. If you have an Audible subscription, you have access to a bunch of free audiobooks to download. But you can also get a free 30 day Audible trial for your trip. Bring along a bluetooth speaker so that you can listen to different than your kids are listening to. ;) Some libraries have audiobook players that you can borrow (our library calls them “play aways”) with built in audiobooks or you can use an app like Hoopla to get free audiobooks from your library.

If you are taking a very long trip (or an overseas trip) where you can’t take a lot of books, consider a Kindle – a Kindle Paperwhite, not a Kindle Fire that has apps if you’re trying to avoid screens.

Helpful family road trip supplies

  • inexpensive cookie sheet for magnets (check the dollar store for these)
  • flashlights or booklamps
  • lap desk

This lap desk is my fave for younger kids

This lap desk is great for older kids

  • water bottles or sippy cups
  • portable potty for roadside bathroom stops with littles (trust me!)
  • snack cups for younger kids
  • extra bluetooth speaker for audiobooks
  • Tummygize oil for tummies that don’t love road trips
  • paper lunch bags so you can portion out snacks from a larger bag
  • paper towels, wipes, grocery bags, ziplock bags, and plastic silverware for easy roadside meals and messes
  • first aid kit


Bring along maps (real, hand-held maps – not on an app!) for older kids, so they can follow along with your trip, find locations to stop, and maybe even track mileage. Keep reading to grab your free download that includes a map you can color as you travel.

Don’t forget to pin this for later!

Free family road trip activity printables, USA map activity pages

Hands-on family road trip activities

  • wikki stix or pipe cleaners to bend into letters, shapes, objects, etc.
  • playdough or modeling clay (use with a lap desk or cookie sheet)
  • small Lego set
  • embroidery (put the supplies in a small plastic bin or tote bag)
  • knitting/crochet
  • hand sewing projects
  • magnet board/cookie sheet and magnetic poetry

Pre-cut the fabric for one of these patterns, and bring hand sewing needles, embroidery thread, and small scissors to make one of these stuffies:

Games for Road Trips

The Road Trip Activity Bundle has some fun games that you and your kids can play on the road. You can download them and print and laminate to use over and over again – and on each leg of the trip. Just don’t forget the dry erase markers!

Download your FREE Road Trip Activity Printable Bundle

Art Activities

  • coloring books
  • how to draw books
  • sketchpad
  • drawing materials (colored pencils and crayons … if you have toddlers, avoid markers, or you could end up with marker all over your toddler ;)
  • activity books
  • LCD writing tablets
  • dry erase board and markers

Travel DIYs

Some DIYs that to make to prepare for your travel:

Keep toddlers and preschoolers busy in the car

Keeping toddlers and preschoolers can be tricky. They don’t read, have short attention spans, and usually don’t love sitting for a long time! But if you make road trips fun, with toys and hands-on activities, road trips can still be fun for your littles. So I’ve listed out some of our tried and true faves that we’ve used over the years.

We didn’t do a lot of noisy, electronic toys in the house when my kids were little (because kids make enough noise on their own ;) but I absolutely brought them along on road trips. Because a little noise from a toy is 100% better than a screaming child! If we received a noisy, electronic toy as a gift, I would put it in the road trip box after a short time. Here’s a tip for noisy toys: if you put clear packing tape over the speaker, it muffles the noise.

Pro tip: keep some of these activities special just for road trips. Put them aside in a special box or hide them for a couple months before your trip, so they feel like new toys and activities!

  • snacks… lots of snacks ;)
  • color wheel
  • lacing cards
  • See ‘n Say
  • Water Wow books
  • stickers
  • pipe cleaners to bend and shape (add beads for lacing for preschoolers that you know won’t stick them in their mouths)
  • magnets + inexpensive cookie sheet (check at the dollar store for these)
  • magnetic playscenes
  • Magnadoodle
  • bubbles
  • seek and find books
  • board books that have textures or sound buttons
  • Leap Frog fridge phonics set – this was a fave with my kiddos when they were young, and we would put the magnets into a large ziploc bag to bring along
  • music!
  • wikki stix (make wikki stix glasses and so many other fun things! )

Download this FREE packing list to help your kids get ready for your trip!

You can find everything linked in my
Amazon storefront in my road trip list

What are your favorite family road trip activities ?

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