After quite a few trips with my kids, I’ve learned the value of a well-packed kids travel bag. Whether you’re traveling by plane, car, boat, or train, your kids are going to get bored.
It’s worth a bit of extra time and consideration to pack them activities that will keep them entertained, and excite all their senses. Trust me, kids will not want to color for the entire two-hour flight, and who wants their kiddos staring at screens for a ten-hour road trip? (affiliate links included)
We don’t often subscribe to home delivery for magazines, so the girls always love heading to the store to pick up a new magazine or two for the trip. Some of our favorites are National Geographic Kids, Highlights For Children, Discovery Girls, American Girl, Sports Illustrated Kids, Sparkle World. Remember that you can sometimes check magazines out from the school or community library.
Companies have also realized that kids need to keep busy during vacation travels and many have released awesome products designed to entertain kids (and adults) during those long trips.
And remember, even if a product is titled for road trips, it might be a great fit for any type of travel, Deckopedia’s 50 Road Trip Games has some fun activities for whatever type of transportation you’re taking, and they’re very portable. We also love the Spot It! games, and Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere games. And, be sure to check out our recent guest packing tip post about 15 Easy to Pack Games for Any Family Trip.
I’m sure you remember loving these as kids yourself! Mad Libs are still a hit with kids, and even adults will find themselves chuckling along with some of the funny stories that are created.
Depending on the age of your kids, scavenger hunts can be a lot of fun and entertaining while traveling. They’re especially good for road trips. Check out my free printable road trip scavenger hunt, and if your kids have cameras they’re sure to love my photo scavenger hunt for kids! You can also buy something like this Travel Scavenger Hunt For Kids Card Game.
Coloring & Journaling & Workbooks
You’ll know your kids the best, but workbooks and empty journals are always a favorite for my girls. Workbooks are especially nice if your kids are missing school for the vacation, and empty journals are perfect for doodling and storytelling.
Younger kids will love a special new coloring book, check the dollar store, and older kids might enjoy a maze or word puzzle book.
I highly recommend buying or borrowing some new books for your trip about your destination. I even shared a reading around the world book list this summer that might help you get started.
Recently we took the The Lonely Planet Kids Amazing World Atlas on our road trip and my 8 year old LOVED it. It has great illustrations and facts that will help your kids learn and keep them engaged.
My oldest took the National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography, and while some of it seemed a bit advanced for her and her smartphone, she still enjoyed seeing the photos and reading tips about composition and photographing pets. This is also a great time to check for a new book in a series your child might be into reading.
Books are one of the best unplugged travel activities for kids!
We’re a tech loving family, so travel is a time that we relax the rules on screen time a bit, and just enjoy the fun technology offers. As our kids have grown, the technology we’ve used has grown too.
Some of our favorites have been LeapPad, Fire HD Kids, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. You’ll also want to check out some of the apps kids love. And don’t forget a good pair of headphones and a usb car charger!
Building / Creating
Those little hands will want to keep busy too, so packing some kind of building activity or craft is a good idea. Just remember to consider cleanup and chance of loss when picking what to bring.
Perhaps you’ll want to pack some legos in a craft box or ziplocs; maybe bring along some rainbow loom bracelet kits, wiki stix also are great for travel!
Last, but certainly not least, pack some snacks. We like to pick up some special treats and snacks that we don’t keep on hand in our home so it’s especially fun for the girls.
Make sure you’re always thinking of how clean/messy the items are, and add a pack of baby wipes to your own bags to wipe up any sticky hands or spills. Fruit leathers are a favorite, but they can leave sticky fingers!
Now your kids are ready to head out on their vacation with lots of activities to keep them busy. Plus, you’ll have done your best to appeal to their different sensory learning styles! Thanks for reading and happy travels!