Kids Car Activities for Road Trips

Travel Tips

After dozens of road trips and 8 years of parenting, I am always adding to our Kids Car Activities list. I hope these help you with the "are we there yet??" questions as well as make the time much more enjoyable! We have used all these products recommended.

road trip car activities

Table of Contents:

  1. Free Activities
  2. Car Activities for $5 and under
  3. Games for Under $20
  4. And yes, some screens
  5. Car Must Haves

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Free Kids Car Activities:

  • I Spy: Classic for ages 3 and up. “I spy with my little eyes…” 
  • ABC Game: Look around for things that start with each letter of the alphabet trading turns until one of you is stumped! 
  • 20 Questions: So many varieties from only Food, only Movies, only Celebrities etc.
  • Check out an Audiobook from the Library: Our local library has a great selection on their free Libby app. We listened to Winnie the Pooh and Disney stories recently. Some great “listen-alouds” that are available include: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mo Willems books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mary Poppins, Frog and Toad, Pinkalicious, A Wrinkle in Time, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
  • Mad Libs: You can find tons of free kids’ ones by searching on google! 

Kids Car Activities for around $5:

  • Dollar Tree is my favorite place for cheap road trip fun! I love their sticker collections, checking out the $1 books and the small toys. Recently I found Car Bingo although there’s no telling what’s available from day to day.
  • On the Go Water Wow Reveal Pad: My kids loved these since they were toddlers and still ask for them now at ages 3 and 6! Many options for a single one and packs of 3 are below. Trace ABCs (pictured below), Under the Seaand Fairytales.
  • Wikki Stix We first saw these fun and mess-free wax sticks at a hotel and I’ve purchased many more for flights and road trips with kids. You can mold them into all sorts of fun things or use them to “draw” different pictures. 

Kids Car Activities for under $20:

  • Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Activity Set, 30+ Pieces, Toddler Toys, Gift for Kids  3, 4, 5, 6 – We’ve had loads of these Mess Free Coloring sheets and they are perfect for the car!
  • Magnatab – Another of our family’s favorite! We’ve had this toy for 4 years and it is sturdy, oddly satisfying even for adults and has provided hours of fun! They also have an Alphabet Magnatab and a Numbers Magnatab to check out. 
  • LCD Writing Tablet -- This is another of our must haves that we use on all trips! We actually got a different one but I like this one better since it has a string to not loose the stylus pen... which has happened a ton! Fun to scribble messages and pass around the car or practice letters and numbers.

And yes, we do use Screens!

Kindle Kids Edition - my favorite Kids Car Activity

The Kids Kindle is actually my favorite road, plane or any time screen! I didn't know about all the extra features until we purchased one for my 8 year old last year.

kids car activities

My daughter's kids kindle!

  • It is cheaper than a regular kindle. Includes the case (cute patterns like space, rainbow birds like she picked)
  • 2 Year Worry-Free Guarantee, that means for any reason they will replace without purchasing an additional plan. Even if its your kiddos fault. This made me feel so much better about purchasing.
  • Built for reading not a toy. So it has a "black and white glare-free display."
  • NO ads, games or videos which is what I wanted.
  • I have our tied to our Library's libby app so my daughter reads free books from the library.
  • Included in your purchase is one year of Amazon Kids where you get hundreds of free books including Harry Potter and popular ones. My daughter loves this! (after the year its $2.99 a month but you can cancel.)
  • Parental Controls so you have to enter a code to access the full kindle store.
  • Awards section for how much you've read (my daughter loves this!) and Vocabulary Builder section with flashcards.
  • Connects to Audible if you have bluetooth speakers. We used this once for her to listen to a book in her room while she cleaned!
kids car activities kindle

My daughter loves the Awards area!

iPad and iPad Kids Cases

We use an iPad often when we travel which we load up on a Netflix and Amazon Prime downloaded kids videos and movies. I've heard good things about the Kindle Fire as well but haven't tried so can't compare.

A good travel case is a must have with kids and traveling so I recommend the following:

Car Must-Haves for Your Road Trip with Kids:

  • Trash bags! (and more than you think you need!) When we are pulling into a rest stop or gas station, I play the Clean Up song and we see who can grab the most trash while still being buckled! 
  • String and a Clothespin: Bring a string and a clothespin and move the clothespin along the string at certain intervals to make a visual of how far you need to go. It’s a great answer to the never-ending “are we there yet??” questions! You could also print out a map (or get one free at a state rest stop!) and have kids mark off how far you’ve come. 
  • Snack Bag: Most moms don’t need to be reminded to pack the snacks but a fun tip is to use your child’s lunch boxes for snacks in the car! (we love using these 4 compartment snack containers from Amazon for $12.99)

I hope these tips and activities help in your road trip planning! And if you’re traveling to Washington, D.C., be sure to check out some amazing socially distanced activities, the 22 best Northern Virginia playgrounds, 10 Best in DC, and the best MD playgrounds near DC!