Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to keep your kids busy on a road trip without the benefit of small electronic boxes that play videos, music and games. If you are like most of us, though, the phone, tablet, laptop or in car entertainment system has become such an easy way to keep the little ones occupied it ‘s hard to remember how to keep them busy without electronics.
Here are a few suggestions to occupy the kiddos on your road trip. Some of them take a bit of planning before you leave but they are all worthwhile and can be modified to reflect your journey.
Road Trip Bingo
This is a great activity to keep the kids entertained during a long trip. Before your leave, print out several bingo cards and label each space or fill each spot with a picture of something you might see outside the window during your journey.
For example, you can use objects like speed limit signs, barns, road construction and bridges. If you don’t feel like making your own cards, there is a variety of roadside bingo cards online that you can easily print out and use. This is where you can personalise your bingo cards to your trip. Travelling through British Columbia and you can use pictures of bears, cougars, lakes, and National Parks license plates. Driving through Sascatuwin and you could use grain silos, moose or reindeer. You get the idea.
This can also be simplified by using just cars, but of different colours for the younger kids in the family.
During the trip, hand out the cards and tell the kids to mark off a square on their cards each time they see a particular object. It’s recommended that you bring along bingo markers. It’s the simplest way for everyone to mark their cards without making a mess. If you want to award small prizes, each time someone wins, think about giving out things that can be used on the trip.
Read a Book
A long, quiet trip is the perfect time for your kids to catch up on their reading. Pack some of your children’s favourite books for them to get lost in during the trip. If your kiddos aren’t that into reading, try reading a book out loud to them instead. You might be surprised at how much they get into the story. Travel-related stories are perfect for a road trip, or perhaps you could source some books about your destination to amp up the excitement.
If you or one of your little ones suffer from travel sickness and it is made worse by reading, try one of these tips from The Huffington Post
Travel Board Games
Magnetic game sets allow you to play board games on a bumpy car ride without the pieces getting knocked around. Some games also have travel version which is not magnetic but play well in a vehicle. These sets often include travel-friendly cases, which makes them perfect to keep in the car for longer trips and hopefully prevents all the pieces getting lost.
There are travel versions of many games available, from classic games like chess or checkers to more contemporary games like Quirkle. This is our current favourite, think Uno meets dominos, and you’ll get the idea. Quirkle is perfect for older kids and adults who want to think strategy and perfect for younger kids who can just match up the colours or shapes.
Colouring books are a perfect way for your kids to pass the time and express their creativity in one fell swoop. Packing a variety of books or colouring pages means that your children will have lots of pictures from which to choose.
If you’re travelling to a popular destination, take the additional time to try to locate (online) colouring pages that are related to the locations you’re going to visit. Alternatively, you can google ‘colouring pages’ and a favourite subject and print out pages to enthral your little ones.
If your kids are bored by colouring books, another fun and an educational option are activity books. There are all sorts of books available at convenience stores and supermarkets, filled with activities to include word searches, crossword puzzles and Sudoku puzzles.
Doing a Pinterest search for “printable activity pages” will bring up thousands of activity sheets from which to choose. The cool thing about using them is that they only cost pennies to print out.
Although some of these activities might keep younger children occupied, for a longer period, they provide enjoyment for kids of all ages. Asking your children to help you pick out activities they enjoy, during the planning stages of the trip, makes it even easier to decide what to bring.
These are our top go tos for an unplugged road trip, what are yours? I know many people put together an ‘activity box’, perhaps if you do, you could share the details with us here.