When you’re preparing for a trip with children, there’s a lot to get done. You’ve got bags to pack, pets to find sitters for, maybe even passports to get. On top of all that, you need to find a way to keep your kids entertained on the plane, in the car, or however you’re making it to your destination (and once you arrive). Your littles are blessed with a boundless reserve of energy: perfect for riding roller coasters at a theme park or exploring a new locale, less so when you’re in transit for hours on end. These seven travel games for kids are worth adding to your packing list before heading out on vacation.
1. Mad Libs
More appropriate for school age children with a better understanding of parts of speech, MadLibs can provide hours of (somewhat educational) entertainment. The whole family will be giggling at a nonsense story about eating warm socks or mowing the lawn with books.
A deck of cards holds endless opportunities … if you play your cards right. Teaching your little one how to play war or go-fish is both a sweet memory and a nice distraction, all in one. And if they already know how to play, you can always count on a few rounds to hold their attention, especially if they’re winning. Just make sure to stow the cards (and any other toys) away when the car is in motion to avoid any projectiles.
3. I Spy
Use your new surroundings to your advantage. Immerse your little one in what’s around them as they try to stump you with their keen eyesight. It’s perfect for waiting to board at the airport or taking a quick break at a rest stop.
4. Alphabet Game
Simple in premise, this game is sure to turn into a reading race for your family. As you’re driving along, first look for a sign with the letter ‘A’, then the letter ‘B’, and so on, all the way to ‘Z’. Things get a bit tricky towards the end of the alphabet, so keep your eyes peeled for quarries, exit signs, and pizza shops.
5. License Plate Game
This entertainer will keep your children looking out the window, seeing the sights, scoping out all the cars you drive by, and has the added bonus of competition – nothing brings a family together like a little healthy rivalry. Or, if you know your kids, and competing will lead to a squabble in the back seat, create a collective list and work together to get as many states as possible before the trip ends. It's your family versus the world!
6. 20 Questions
Your children love asking questions about anything and everything – why not put that habit to good use? Pick things around you for a travel themed game or keep the categories open and let their imaginations run wild.
7. Scavenger Hunt
Keep kids of any age entertained with a scavenger hunt while on the move. Depending on how old your littles are, you can make the list of items as specific or general as they can handle. Give them a list of items and a marker to cross them off, first to find all their items wins!
And when all else fails, it’s time to break out the iPad on the plane or built-in entertainment in the car, queue up some Bluey or Cocomelon, and accept whatever needs to happen to get you from point A to Point B.