Last Updated on May 18, 2021 by Pamela
Are you looking for road trip ideas for kids? Travelling with kids, no matter the age can present various challenges. How far can you drive each day before everyone starts to go car crazy? Do you pack a lot of drinks and snacks to save money or stop along the way to try local foods? How can you keep everyone busy while also keeping yourself sane?
In this post, I’ll cover a few road trip ideas for kids, that are also fun for adults (and teens when they are up for some fun). All have been tested, some on hormonal teenagers, and worked quite well. Of course, every family is different! If you have a fun idea, leave a comment, and tell me about it!
Activity boxes are a fun way to keep kids entertained in the car, as well as in the hotel room or campsite. You can purchase pre-made boxes like the Idle Free Box [pictured above], which means you have one less thing on your list to worry about. Boxes change bi-monthly, so you’ll want to visit their website to investigate further!
You can also create your own with items from around the house or from the dollar store. Colouring books and crayons, puzzles, word search books, riddles, pipe cleaners, paper bags, iSpy cards you make before you leave. There are so many options.
Yes, really! I love bringing a dress-up bag on road trips. It’s fun for wee ones, but also older kids as well (unless they are in their grumpy teen phase, they may be too cool to dress up). Hit up the dollar store or rummage around for things at home. You can pick a theme for each day, or it can be a free-for-all.
Don’t forget to dress up yourself. Fake moustaches are always a big hit, and I may have received a smaller speeding ticket once because all of us happened to have our ‘staches on, and the police officer couldn’t resist laughing. His was real though, and superb.
TELL ME A STORY
This one will take some pre-planning and a little work before your trip, but it can be so much fun in the car. I started doing this with my nieces when they were about 5 or 6 years old, and it was always interesting.
Buy index cards on a ring and divide them into categories: people, place, feeling, action. You can choose whatever categories you want. When they’re ready to play, they pick a card from each category and then tell a story using the info written on the cards.
This is another one that will take some pre-road trip planning but can be a lot of fun. I like to make this a combination of iSpy and an actual scavenger hunt outside the car. I also like to tailor it to our destinations, as well as the ages of the kids I’m travelling with at the time.
You can pick things like spot 4 VW Beetles (or any vehicle); find a piece of garbage in the car and throw it out; pick a flower; provincial or state license plates; spot the police cars and yell “The Fuzz!” (Helpful for speeding drivers); count how many times you see the word poutine; take a goofy picture at a rest stop; and so on. This article over on Good Housekeeping has some fun ideas!
If you have trivia games at home, take the cards with you and leave the board behind. Then create your own points system and play in the car. Depending on the age of the kids you’re travelling with, you can have an adult or older child read out all of the questions, or everyone can take turns.
If you don’t have trivia games at home, you can always print off trivia games and quizzes and bring them with you to play in the car or download them onto your phone before you leave. There are some weird and obscure ones out there if you’re up for added challenges.
NAME THAT TUNE
This tends to be more fun for older kids and teens, but you can tailor it to younger children as well. All you need is music, and someone to lead the game. Use whichever playlist you have on or go open up iTunes or Spotify and pick a new one. For younger kids, use something familiar like Disney (check out this video) and ask them to name the movie within a certain time frame.
For older kids and teens, play 5 seconds of the song and pause it, then have them name the song, and then name the artist for bonus points! If you only have older kids, get one of them to facilitate and play along with them. You could also stop the song partway through and make them sing the next line to see who gets it right.
This is another one that will require an adult or older child to facilitate the game, but it is something everyone can play. You’ll want to think of words before you leave on your road trip and write each word on a piece of paper (or two if you decide to play in teams).
Give the password to one player (or two if you have teams) and tell them to quickly look at the word on the paper, then throw give back to the facilitator. They can then give a one-word clue, and the other players need to guess the password based on the clue. Whenever I explore Quebec with kids/teens I tailor the words to Quebec trivia to make things a little more challenging.
DON’T SAY IT!
This is one of those easy road trip ideas for kids that you can do the entire trip. Pick a word (but; no; because; why… ) the kids say often and ban it for the day. Each time someone says the word, they get a point against them. The child with the most points at the end of the day then has a chore or task to do like clean the day’s garbage out of the car, fill water bottles, says 4 nice things about everyone in the car; anything you want!
Another option is to see who can be silent the longest, but not all kids are going to fall for that one. Ha ha ha ha
REST STOP RELAY
Burn the pent-up energy with a rest stop relay race. Of course, this depends on the ages of the kids, and how many you’re travelling with. When you stop for a bathroom break, have all the kids get out, split them into teams, and do a mini relay race on the lawn nearby.
You can also pit one kid against another and see who can race the fastest. It probably won’t work on older kids, but younger ones love a good competition. A favourite when I am too tired to run with them, but they had energy to burn.
STASH & DASH
I honestly don’t know what to call this game, but it’s one of my all-time favourite road trip ideas for kid, especially older ones. Pick an object before your trip, something not too small, but not large either. A small-ish stuffy is usually a good option. Before you leave the house, select a name from a hat. Whomever is chosen is given the stuffy to hide somewhere in the vehicle, or someone’s bag.
The object is to do it without being caught but choosing a place that will likely be checked sometime during that day or the next. The person who finds it lets everyone know, and then it’s their turn. The last person to have the stuffy at the end of the trip (or day, however you like), loses.
Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary Idle Free Box to try out and loved it, which is why I have included it in this post.