20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

When traveling, children can get very impatient. Have we reached mom? How much longer is it going to take to reach dad?

These and many more such questions start to flood the car atmosphere. Then they get cranky, fidgety, moody, and quarrelsome with other siblings. So distraction, at this point, is crucial. With that in mind, here are 20+ creative ways to keep kids busy during travel.

Now, remember that giving them a smartphone or video game for distraction is easy. This way you get the opportunity to focus on your driving. But that’s not the point of traveling now, is it? As a family embarking on a fun road trip, shared car time is an excellent way to log off smart devices. Unplugging should be the ultimate target here. For both yourself and your children!

In that sense, how about I list as many as 20+ creative ways to keep kids busy during travel.

Slug Bug

How to keep toddlers busy on long road trips you ask? Here’s a classic solution!

The game involves sighting the Volkswagen Beetle. As soon as you spot it, you’re free to punch (gently though) the person sitting next to you. And don’t forget to scream “slug bug” while doing so.

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Lingo for License Plate

This is when you need to start thinking of clever acronyms. License plate letters such as “SFIC” mean nothing to the person driving the car in front of you. But to you and your children, those very same letters can mean coming up with the cleverest acronyms. Such as Flash Back Friday or Scream for Ice Cream.

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Mini CD Case Whiteboard

You can transform a used up or worn out CD or DVD case into a mini version of a whiteboard. Did you know that?

All you need to do is replace its inside sleeve with patterned or white paper. And you’ve got your kids endless entertainment. So it’s time for doodling, hangman, tic-tac-toe, and the like!

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Make the Stops Fun

You can plan a whole list of entertainment. But when it’s time to get out and stretch those legs, nothing can come in the way of that. So how about you make these stops more enjoyable? For example, get to see an unusual or bizarre roadside attraction. Instead of just pulling over anywhere!

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Foil Sculptures

Aluminum foil is something you can use outside the kitchen as well. An aluminum foil roll in your car can be fun for both kids and adults. And bonus points if you end up creating something that you spotted from the many roadside attractions.

foil sculptures

Car Counting

It’s quite difficult to resist the charm of cars counting. Even your older kids will fall prey to this distraction. You select the type and color of a car. The first person to spot 10 such cars wins.

It’s one of the most fun ideas for long road trips. Trust me.

cars counting

Map Spotting

One map to each child does the trick. Tell them to mark everything they see while you pass the milestones.

This particular game sharpens their understanding of maps as well. So fun is a part of knowledge here.

roadtrip stops

Name Game

How do you play the Name Game? Well, it’s pretty easy. You take a name of a celebrity, for instance. Like Anne Hathaway.

Now the next person needs to name a celebrity whose first name begins with H, which is the previous celebrity’s last name’s first letter. Got it? If not, then read this again.

YouTube video

I Spy Game

You’ll require a jar for this. A jar filled with rice, to be more specific. Place some knick knacks in this rice-filled jar. Now have your toddlers look through just from the outside to spot all the special items stuffed inside. Without opening that jar!

i spy games

Magnet Spelling

What you need; baking sheets and magnet alphabet. Tell your kids to spell the things they see during the journey using the two items.

spelling boxes

Silly Putty

Here you get the chance to create your own DIY version of Silly Putty. Mix a few ingredients to form a DIY batch of goop for continuous in-car, on-road fun.

silly putty

20 Questions

Nobody likes to answer the question “have we reached yet?” as many as 20 times. Instead how about answering some creative and fun questions?

The 20 Questions game is perfect for a road trip with kids. You get to know a little more about them as well.

Reading Log

Handing over the smart device means making room for an actual book!

So the next time you tell your child to hand over his/her tablet, encourage them to pull out a book in its place. Printable logs, at such times, prove to be incredibly inspiring.

roadtrip books

Hand Puppets

Now listen up, this game can be really funny. But you have to construct these paper bag hand puppets before heading out.

Kids love puppet shows. And when the show is in the car, across their seat, it’s even more fun.

hand puppets


There’s nothing better than singing to pass travel time. So it’s your moment to plug in your favorite tunes. And enjoy a mini car version of American Idol.

Plus, don’t forget that this session can build memories you might cherish for a lifetime.

Printable Milestones

Before departing, print the milestone templates. Hang them in your car with the help of clothespins. And there’s no denying that your children will simply love taking these markers down as the journey progresses.

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Quiet Game

I’m sure this particular game sounds the most appealing to you, as a parent. You can save this for the final lap of the adventure. Being quiet is the most therapeutic thing there is.

So why not turn it into a game? The person who speaks the first loses.

Scavenger Hunt

Every such list of 20+ creative ways to keep kids busy during travel mentions the Scavenger Hunt game.

Witnessing the excitement of your children at seeing the water tower or billboard is truly shocking.

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Snacking Game

When nothing else seems to work, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Road trip worthy snacks might just be the most delicious and life-saving idea at this point.

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Pack Portable Toys Travel Tins

How about you single out your kids’ favorite Legos, magnets, dinosaurs,Barbies, crayons, etc.? Pack them in compact travel tins. And then surprise them with this joy when they’re at their lowest.

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

Carry Park-Themed Portable Play Mats

Here’s one of the best airplane hacks for toddlers. And it comes in the form of play mats.

You can easily roll them for bag storage. They are perfectly sized to keep on tables and airplane trays. Plus, these park-themed mats encourage imaginative play.

20+ Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Travel

That’s About It!

So these are the 20+ creative ways to keep kids busy during travel and holidays abroad. Please understand that not all might work for you and your children. So try to find out what your little one likes and dislikes. This way you’ll be better prepared for what’s coming.

Do you have any more such ideas to share with us? If yes, don’t think twice before dropping in your awesome thoughts and tips.

Thank you for reading. Have a fun trip!

Photo of author
Jennifer Kessler is an avid blogger who works toward achieving a single goal. And that is to encourage moms and pregnant women to live a better life despite being busy. Pursuing a career, raising kids, and managing the home are no easy tasks. Be it for a woman or man. So what Kessler wishes to do is provide assistance at every step of the way. In the form of the most useful product recommendations and the most effective tips and tricks.

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