happy boy in carseat
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Keeping Kids Occupied en Route

happy boy in carseat
happy boy in carseat

They say getting there is half the fun. Yet, I remember the hours of travel time droning on and on as a kid. Maybe that was when I was a teen. Anything with my parents was boring (add eye roll here). A good balance between diversions and together time can make the journey more memorable. Since I have a preschooler, I’ve enlisted the advice of all of my friends, family, and internet. Here are my favorites.


  • DVD player w/ headphones
  • Activity books: sticker, coloring, dot-to-dot, word find, etc.
  • Favorite toy or blanket
  • Travel size toys: Magna Doodle, Etch a Sketch, Play-doh. Make games out of this like, “Guess what this is?” Or “you have 1 minute to make a…”
  • Dolls or action figures (avoid things with small pieces that can drop and get lost)
  • Age appropriate snacks and beverages

Family together time:

  • Sing rounds of songs, make up new lyrics: “the radar detector goes, ‘beep, beep, beep’”
  • I Spy
  • Bingo: license plate or scenery
  • Books on CD for the whole family to listen. Get something with a little drama or juice to it in hopes that they’ll shush each other to hear. Ideally, something with a similar theme as your trip.
  • Travel by train. Not only a memorable experience in itself, but everyone gets to relax and walk around.

Keeping the peace:

  • Separating the kids (one in front, one in back) helps.
  • Dramamine (Ooo. Was that out loud?)
  • The “Let’s see who can go the longest without talking?” game.
  • Travel at night.

What are your favorite ways to keep the kids occupied on the way to your destination?

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