How to Keep Kids Entertained During a Road Trip

“Are we there yet?”

This is the dreaded statement heard by every parent who has ever traveled with children on a road trip. Sometimes traveling by car is more economical than flying, and if you’re traveling with children, you need to know how to keep them entertained so that they don’t drive you crazy or make the trip unbearable.

Keep Kids Entertained During a Road Trip

Keep Kids Entertained During a Road Trip

Bring movies.

If you don’t have a DVD player in your car, make sure to get a portable one before your trip. You can get one for under $100, and it will be the best investment you ever made. (If you can’t get one, a laptop computer or tablet can be just as good.) Make sure to stock up on movies that your child enjoys, and remember to pack the headphones. Movies will keep your child entertained for an extended period of time, and the headphones will keep the movie in their ears and not resonate through the whole car. Along with movies your child likes, it’s also a good idea to pick up a few they haven’t seen, as these may be better at keeping their attention.

Bring electronic games.

Nintendo DS, iPods, tablets and even cell phones are also great for long car rides. These can be stocked with games that can easily keep your child entertained for hours. Make sure to download a few games before you leave and choose games that don’t need an Internet connection to use, as you may not have a decent connection to do so in the car. If you’re bringing a DS, make sure to bring a bag of games for your child to play, and keep them handy so your child can switch out games as they please. Plus, don’t forget the chargers for these items, or you’ll find yourself out of battery life in a few hours.

Play family games.

Research games to play in the car and make a list before you head out. Write down a list of the states and have your child check off the state when they see a license plate. You can also play I-Spy, search for wild animals or even play the silent game (a parent’s favorite). You may even want to print out a map of the US and have your child mark off the states you’re driving through. Another great idea is to print out some trivia questions and play a trivia game during the ride. All of these games can provide lengthy entertainment.

Stock up on extra toys.

Visit the dollar store before you leave and stock up on a few small toys for your child. Let them know that every few hours (or anytime you reach a new state), you will give them a present as long as they are behaving themselves. Make a list of rules for your child to follow in order to earn their prize. For example, any fighting with siblings, whining about being bored, asking “Are we there yet?”, crying or any other misbehaving will result in them losing their toy. Your child will be so interested to see what they can get, that it just may be the best way to keep them from complaining.

Bring snacks.

One of the biggest complaints you’ll get out of your child during a road trip is that they’re hungry, and picking up a snack every time you stop for gas is going to be time consuming and expensive. Make sure that you bring a cooler with drinks and a bag full of snacks that are easy to eat and that your child enjoys. This way, you don’t have to make constant stops for food, and your child won’t go hungry.

Let them stretch.

Being stuck in the car for long periods of time is never fun, and this could be making your child cranky. Make sure that you plan to stop at least once for an extended period of time and let your child stretch their legs. Maybe you can stop for a bite to eat or just have a picnic at a local rest area. By giving your child even 20 minutes outside of the car, they’ll be in a better mood to climb back in.

Taking a road trip with children doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. If you use these suggestions, you’ll have plenty of ways to keep your child entertained and happy while on the open road.

Caroline Jones loves to write about anything related to travel.  As the mother of four children, she understands the difficulties of traveling long distances with kids.  She recently wrote about her family’s trip to a Bahamas family resort.


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