Whether it’s by plane, train, or automobile, we all know that traveling with kids can be challenging. From the endless “are we there yet’s?” to the countless times your kids tell you “I’m bored”, it takes a special kind of patience to travel with your little ones!
While it may be simple to throw a screen in front of their eyes to keep them busy, if you don't want them glued to a device the entire time you're traveling, you can avoid the constant requests to charge their devices and, yes, still keep them entertained!
With that said, here are 7 ideas to keep your kids entertained without electronics while you reach your destination.
1. Play a Game (or 5) of I spy
“I spy with my little eye something green”. A simple game of I Spy can keep kids busy while you’re traveling. You can make it age-appropriate with easy clues for the little ones and harder clues for the older kids. This one is an oldie, but it still works!
2. Card Games
A game of “Go Fish” or “Uno” can help to break up the trip no matter what mode of transportation you’re using. The best part is that they don’t take up a lot of room so you can throw a deck of cards in a bookbag and you’re good to go. Depending on the length of your trip, you can also set up tournaments and name a champion if you have kids who are competitive.
3. Good Old Fashioned Coloring
While this isn’t going to fly with the older crowd, this could keep the smaller ones busy for a bit. Bring along coloring books or blank pieces of paper for them to make their own creations. If you’re going to visit a family member, have them draw or color a picture for them. These not only keep the kids busy while traveling but will make the person you’re visiting feel special.
4. Books are cool!
While many kids may have gotten used to reading books on devices or listening to audiobooks, old cover-to-cover books are still cool. Have your child choose one before your trip so that they have something new to keep them busy while traveling. Have them take a break from their electronics and do some old-fashioned reading. They may look at you like you have three heads, but hopefully, they’ll get on board. Once they start reading, they should get interested in the story to make them want to continue. Reading also makes some kids tired. So they may have a little nap while you’re traveling. No one is going to complain about this!
5. Story Telling Time
Let kids use their imaginations while they’re not on a device. Ask them to make up a funny story. You can also involve everyone who’s traveling by going around and having them add a part. By the time you’re done, you should have created one interesting tale!
6. The License Plate Game
This one only works for road trips and can only be played by slightly older kids, but it’s still a good one. As you’re traveling, tell the kids to spot cars with different license plates. Keep score and whoever finds the most different plates by the time you reach your destination, wins. You can keep it interesting by throwing a prize into the mix for the winner. Maybe an ice cream treat or a special souvenir?
7. Play the “5 Things Game”
This is a fun little game that adults can even play. Simply ask your kids a question like what are the five things you want to do when you get to our destination or what are the five foods you want to eat when you’re away? You get the idea. This is not only going to suck up some time, but it’s also going to get your kids even more excited about the trip. If you play, you can join in the excitement too!
The Bottom Line
The key thing to remember here is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to keep your kids entertained while traveling. Think about the games you used to play as a child. Your kids will think they’re “new” and hopefully be interested. While it may be hard to pry them away from their screens, you’ll be glad you did in the end (they will too).