Travel Games and Activities for Kids

If you’re planning a long flight, a road trip or any type of travel where your children need to be entertained for hours at a time, it’s nice to come equipped with games and activities to stimulate their mind and stave off boredom.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to keep a toddler happy and entertained while on the go. And it’s also feasible to keep a school-aged child focused and amused with a little extra planning (and perhaps a little extra baggage) without using an electronic tablet! Here are some games, toys, and activities to increase their attention span and help you maintain sanity while traveling.


Reading Books

For younger children, try interactive books have images that pop up, tabs to pull, flaps to lift, laces to tie, wheels to spin and movable pieces to enhance your child’s motor skills. For older kiddos, try books made of felt that have interactive pieces that stick to each page, or “look and find” books, similar to the Where’s Waldo books but updated for today’s most popular cartoon characters (Disney has a great selection). Or if noise isn’t a big issue, get books that read aloud to your child, either by the buttons they push, or with a handheld device like LeapFrog’s Tag Junior Reading System.


Color Books

Coloring and drawing are great ways to keep kids quietly occupied. Use crayons or washable markers to use with a color book sketchpad or individual sheets of paper. Crayola Color Wonder markers (where “magically mess-free color only appears on special Color Wonder paper) are also a nice alternative.

Other alternatives include “Water Wow” paint-with-water coloring books by Melissa & Doug, which feature reusable spiral-bound pages and a refillable water pen. Color appears on the hidden pictures as your child paints, and then as the pages dry, the pictures are erase to be filled in again. Also, consider Magna Doodle (a magnetic drawing toy), an Etch A Sketch, a light-up drawing pad, dry erase markers with mini white boards, a Spirograph or any other drawing toy.


Activity Pages & Flash Cards

If coloring is not cutting it, try simple games such as hangman and tic-tac-toe, crossword puzzles, word searches and mazes. You can create your own, download some from the internet or buy “Brain Teaser” books that should keep your older children focused for hours. Math and reading activity books are also great for school-aged children.

Flash cards are another option activity where your child can entertain themselves, or you can provide some more control to the situation by holding on to the card while your child calls out the answers. Try flash cards for sight words, spelling words or math drills. Younger children can also use flash cards for animal recognition and basic vocabulary words.


Create Stories

Lively conversations can be the best way to pass time on a road trip. Pick a topic, and then have each child add on to the story after a minute or two. Or play a classic car game like I Spy, 20 Questions or any kind of scavenger hunt where you watch the road and look for certain colors, shapes, letters, numbers or animals. If you’re on a plane, pick out items in books or magazines and then look for them around you. Your children can also create their own stories using their imagination and small, self-contained toys such as cars, dolls or animal figurines.

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