Taking a family road trip soon? Wondering how to amuse your child during the trip? On this page, we'll talk about travel games for kids!
For this page, I've enlisted the help of my on-line friend, Claire Kolarova, who runs a successful website on the topic of children's games. (You'll want to be sure to visit her website later. Her site has a great list of websites featuring free online games for kids, plus has sections on birthday party games, holiday games, and more! The link to Claire's site, littlekidsgamesonline.com, will appear just below her article on this page.)
Claire is a British gal living in Bulgaria with her husband and young son. So, readers from the USA, you may notice a few differences in the language here! Without further ado, then, here's Claire's article about travel games for children. (The first section spotlights games for babies, while the next sections talk about travel games for toddlers and school-aged children.)
Kids Travel Games -- Travel Games for Babies
Need some kids' travel games? These suggestions for fun on the road will keep your little ones busy for hours!
Simply combine a dash of preparation with a mixed bag of delights to take the stress out of that long road trip - for yourself, as well as the kids. After all, going on vacation is a special time. So get off to a great start before you've even arrived at your destination!
Baby travel games.
It's a good thing that babies love sleeping in cars. But when they wake up - it's all systems go! Here's a selection of quick tips to keep baby sweet!
--- Car peekaboo is great fun, especially if baby has her favorite blankie handy for you both to play with.
--- Nursery rhymes and stories are always a hit! Use tickling rhymes such as "This Little Piggy" or "Round and Round the Garden", then follow up by looking at a touchy-feely book together. Books containing pictures of sheep with woolly coats to feel or puppy coats to stroke are great - you can have fun making the animal noises too!
--- Interesting attachments to your baby's car seat such as a baby mirror or phone, musical keys or squeezy books will entertain your travelling bundle!
--- Prepare a selection of fascinating items for your baby to hold and look at -- some old favorites, a few new.
--- Don't forget to bring your nursery rhyme music for a good ol' baby sing-along!
Toddlers love being on the move - but not when they're strapped into a car seat! They're still not ready for those oh-so-interesting kids' travel games that they'd like to get their hands on... so you'll have to get a little more inventive.
--- Toddlers love using their imagination while they "work." A box of farm animals or dinosaurs, colored blocks, soft toys or puppets, chunky cars or dolls and their accessories will keep your tot happily chattering away in their seat in their own little world.
--- A pile of favorite books always seems a bit more special in the car, and a couple of toddler activity books will add variety, especially if they're new!
--- Of course, toddler songs and nursery rhymes can be made a lot more fun with everyone making silly faces and doing funny actions!
**Two tips: bring some new toys with you to make things more special. And don't bring all the toys, new or old, out at once. Supply them one by one or your tot will get overloaded and won't want to play with anything!
Kids Travel Games -- Travel games for school-aged children
Children from about four years and up know that they need to get prepared for a journey and will be able to make some - occasionally sensible! - suggestions about what toys or activities they'll need. But you can rest assured that they'll want to be amused at some point! So be fully prepared with the following kids' travel games and activities.
--- Think of an animal - describe an animal, how many legs, its color, what it eats.
--- I spy with my little eye, something beginning with.... C! (or other letter of the alphabet)
--- Cover your eyes - and tell me what color shirt I'm wearing... or whether Daddy is wearing sunglasses... and so on.
--- Alphabet guess - I'm thinking of an animal that starts with the letter C. What's the last letter? So - they have to guess the animal and the letter!
--- Number guess - Easy: I'm thinking of a number between one and ten. You have 3 guesses. Hard: I'm thinking of a number between one and fifty - you have twenty guesses! Make this easier by saying "higher" or "lower."
--- What did I draw? Draw a square or a cow or the sun on a small piece of paper. Your child has three chances to guess what you drew! Sounds difficult, but keep the pictures very very simple. Or, of course, give some clues! And your child will love drawing a picture for you to guess!
--- Quiz Questions. If your child is mad about Star Wars or even Winnie the Pooh, why not write a set of questions about your kids' favorite videos before you travel? Start off with some easy ones, getting harder, until you reach "expert" level. Read the questions out slowly and tell your child to think hard each time!
--- Who can stay quietest the longest? With a carful of kids, this can work well - especially if you have prizes!
More activity ideas
Keep an eye out for popular versions of classic board games that are available in kids' travel game editions. Your children might also enjoy magnetic games or travel versions of games like bingo.
Sticker books, dot-to-dot and coloring books can keep the kids busy too, as well as quiz and activity publications specially designed for trips with kids!
Your children will love having their own walkman or headphones to listen to music or a recorded story.
And a sturdy clipboard with paper and washable pens will go down a treat!
Again, some fun prizes, treats and presents, at strategic points along the way will keep things fresh for your kids if they get bored.
What with these games and activities, a range of snacks, a few refreshing stops along the way and, hopefully, some nap-time for your small kids - your journey will be over before you know it. Bon voyage!
(NOTE: To visit Claire's delightful website...and get even more ideas for kid's games, you may use the following link to get to
Kids Travel Games -- My own experiences
When I was a child, I would insist on bringing a large bag...or even a box!...of my favorite toys along on our family trips. They'd be interesting for awhile...like maybe the first hour of a 2-week trip!...and then I'd get tired of them.
So, when my own kids were small, I vowed not to repeat this experience. I allowed the kids to bring only 1 or 2 favorites each...and to amuse them for the rest of the trip, I'd allow them to buy small toys, comic books, puzzle books, etc. at intervals along the way. For my family, this seemed to work out well.
When my kids were small, we used to play lots of singing games and word games. For the "A to Z" singalong, we'd first pick a song that starts with the letter "A," and sing it. Then, we'd go on to the letter "B," etc.
"20 questions" was another favorite with my kids...along with the offshoot game, "FOOD 20 questions" (where the object being guessed had to be a supermarket food. I guess we were a hungry bunch with food on our minds!)
On our trips, we made it a point to break for a rest stop about every 1 1/2 hours. That's when we'd buy a snack or a new little toy, and get some stretching done. (To make up for our lost time in making so many stops, we'd eat fast-food meals in the car...so that we wouldn't be wasting any time at a restaurant. This idea may not work for you, but it did for us.) If we traveled at night after the kids fell asleep, we made a bit better time.
Now that I travel with grandchildren, the singing games don't make such a big hit with them. Natali and Gabriel like bringing along action figures and dolls, drawing materials, and portable video games.
My son, Art---who has toddlers---bought an SUV with a back-seat DVD player. Now, THAT really keeps 'em amused!