6 Ways to Entertain Kids on a Road Trip That Are Not Screens
Road tripping can be a super fun way to get your travel fix these days and for most parents that means screen time rules fly out the window. Totally a legit way to keep "are we there yets" at bay. But these six attractions/distractions can make the journey as good or even better than the destination because a) they give kids the experience of an old school road trip *before* there were screens b) inspire them to sing/talk/play, which means more family bonding and giggles! and c) could teach everyone something new along the way. Don't forget the snacks!
Sing along to family jams: Before you hit the road, make a playlist of your family's favorite jams and learn *all* the lyrics by the time you get to your Airbnb. Also check out the curated Kids Road Trip playlist at Apple Music Kids and Family, which features a mix of Disney, Sesame Street, Peppa Pig, and more. There's also a superhero playlist (Pow!), country songs (Yeehaw), and pirate (Ahoy Matey) and princess themes (Princess Power). (Family plan $15 for up to 6 people)
Play road trip bingo: For a spin on eye spy, print out or make-your-own Bingo cards with things they might see along the road (a tree!, a helicopter!, a tractor!). For kids who aren't reading yet, these can be pictures and they can cross off with a crayon, stickers, or anything that won't stain the car.;) These World Market Travel Bingo ($10) boards are a great choice!
Listen to podcasts for kids (that you'll also love): Podcasts are launching a new golden age of kid's programming. Check out But Why for all ages, which answers all those questions you normally Google for your kid (including timely topics about the virus, what happens to a forest after a fire, and questions about race) — have your kid ask a question before you hit the road: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ear Snacks is also a super cute way for preschoolers to learn about letters, science, art, and culture (there's a whole episode dedicated to Notorious RBG and the census!).
Hand them an old-school camera: The thing about screens is that they keep kids from looking out the window and really enjoying the journey. This is a fun way for them to document their trip, whether they're just going to grandma's or across state lines. (AIMASON Kids Camera $24)
Give them actual books: Put a few books in the backseat to get them excited about where you're going or just a book about something they're into at this stage (space? trains? the world?). (Barefoot Books World Atlas $20)
Play a guessing game: 20 Questions can help build a kid's memory and problem solving skills and there are a variety of ways you can play it depending on their age. Maybe you have an animal theme, or expand it to people, places and things, or you have your kiddo give clues, which can be really fun to hear and also helps develop their language skills — win-win! This cute What am I? Game ($18) from Petit Collage can be fun (with funny glasses) for the road or home!
What are your favorite car ride attractions/distractions? Share with us @BritandCo!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
This post has been updated.
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.