How To Entertain Kids on a Roadtrip

by How To Mommy on 04.10.12

We are preparing for a 13 hour roadtrip to see my sister-in-law graduate from college.

I’m so excited to see family we rarely get a chance to see, but am more than a little nervous about having a 3 year old and a 1 year old in the car for that long!

I’ve decided my best defense is a good offense, so here are some of The Learning Channels’ “10 Ways to Entertain Kids on a Roadtrip”:

  1. Cartoons and movies – This one is obvious.  {We’ll be borrowing the portable DVD players that attach to the car seats and have an arsenal of Dora, Curious George and anything else we think will hold their attention.}
  2. Electronic games – iPods, GameBoys, etc.  {This probably won’t work for Baby O, but maybe Little Miss R will stay entertained with her Innotab.}
  3. Word games – like finding the alphabet on road signs, playing the quiet game, or naming celebrities and seeing who can spot the fake ones.  {Again, not sure how well this will work for toddlers.}
  4. Animal Spotting – See who can locate the most animals during the trip and any creature that moves (or once moved) can be fair game, so to speak: deer, livestock, birds (get them to name specific types), road kill and even sun-dried insects caught between the dashboard and windshield can be counted.
  5. Toy Bribes – Offer an incentive for good behavior: the proverbial carrot instead of the stick. Usually you can pick up some type of inexpensive toy from a highway rest stop, and with a little luck it’ll be enough to keep the recipient busy in play until you reach your final destination — or at least the next stop.  {I don’t know how I feel about this, but 7 or 8 hours in, I may be willing to try anything.}
  6. Sing-A-Longs – You can have fun belting out  age-appropriate tunes as a group. There are plenty of available CDs in the “Kids Music” section of your local music store. And if you have a satellite radio subscription, you can even tune in to a kid-centric channel. {This is actually the best suggestion yet.  My girls love to sing!  I guess they get it from their mother. 😉 }

Have you taken small ones on long road trips?  What’s your lifesaver?  Please share!!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blissful and Wishful April 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Great ideas so far. I recommend leaving as early as possible…like 3-4 AM. That way they’ll hopefully sleep until breakfast still. You could also do Bingo boards– one of just colors that she can find, then another board of letters that she could find on signs, and another one of the animals that you stated above. Just a thought. Crayons and Coloring went a long way for us too. And whatever you do, pack lots and lots of snacks! Good luck!


2 How To Mommy April 11, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Thanks so much. Those are great ideas!


3 Angela April 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM

When I went on a babysitting trip to South Carolina, the mom had gotten lots of $ store toys/activities, and had them wrapped for each of the kids. They got to open a new toy every hour, and it worked great to keep the kids occupied for not too much money! I don’t know that they really need a new toy every hour, but it could definitely be an incentive for good behavior every couple of hours. Anna also has an Innotab and loves it; it is great for car rides to grandma’s house!


4 Duncan Faber March 4, 2013 at 9:42 PM

We have 5 kids, and we always keep them occupied with audiobooks for the ipods. There’s a ton of sites where you can download them, but we use this one a lot because the stories are free and original. This is the link, if anyone is intereted.


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