Creative Road Trip Activities

There is something very nostalgic about taking a cross-country road trip.  Mom & Dad having great conversations while the kids are singing in the backseat.  Eating picnic lunches at quaint roadside parks.  Merrily camping the evenings before hitting the road again.  Everyone smiling and playing silly car games, like i Spy and the Telephone game.
What? That doesn’t really happen??
Unfortunately, not. In our car, we are constantly battling against the electronics for the kids’ attention. And while I attempt to engage them with occasional, “Kids, look at the gorgeous mountain over there!”, there is only so much looking out the window at miles and miles of wheat fields that we can do.
So this summer, I came up with a list of creative road trip activities to engage us during our car trip – to keep us interacting as we drive on down the road – if you have more tips and ideas come share them with us in the KOA Campfire Community:
  •  Reading a book series out loud:  Each summer we gravitate towards a book series to read aloud together.  Reading during the car ride burns the miles quickly  for us.  Each child will join in on the reading, which gives them reading practice as well.  Some great series that we have enjoyed together are The Chronicles of Narnia, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, and Harry Potter.  This summer we are going to check out Peter & the Starcatchers and the Kingdom Keepers.
  •  Taking a picture in front of each state sign: Obviously, use caution when doing this, as some state signs are a bit difficult to get to.  We always like to try to catch the signs at the Visitor Centers.
  • Twenty Questions: I have compiled a list of interesting questions to engage my family in discussion various time through out the day.  Fun questions like, “If you could be a superhero, who would you be and why?” and “Would you rather be a window or a door?” to more serious once, ” What is one thing you would get rid of in the world today?”.  I can’t wait to see inside my kids’ heads!  I always find that some of our best conversations come form silly questions like these.
  • License Plate Map: I am providing each of them with a blank map of the United States. For each different state license plate the kids see, they get to color in that state on a map.  This is also a great want o practice states and capitals as well (bonus!).
  •  Audio Books: We downloaded a few kid-friendly Audio books from our local library onto our iPhones & iPods – now the kids can listen to their own books too. Our local library has Playaway Audiobooks that we can check out.  These are great as all you need is a battery and a set of headphones to listen to them.
  • Journals: Each child is presented with a new, clean journal as we start our trip.  My daughter loves to document the journey, while my son likes to doodle or play word games in it.  If they claim they are “bored” I whip out a few math problems or give them a writing prompt to create some thoughts.
  •  Toddler Bag: I do also have a 3 year old, where many of these activities are not going to work for him.  To keep him from constantly asking to watch a movie, I have a bag filled with new toys, books, snacks, and other fun trinkets to keep him busy.  The dollar store is a great place to pick up inexpensive items.
  •  Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt:  The kids are given a list of 20 things at the beginning of the trip that they should keep their eye out for on the drive – each worth different points – the idea is to have easy & hard ones, the more creative, the better. Both have iTouches to take pictures with, so it is easy to judge at the end of the day.
  •  Family Trivia: My hubby & I have come up with a series of trivia questions about all of our relatives – “Which famous gun-fighter is Grandpa Smith related to?”  “Which Aunt sky-dived on her 50th Birthday?”  A great way for the kids to learn more about their relatives!
  •  Blog our Journey: As we travel, I am going to hand over my laptop and ask the kids to help me blog about our travel fun.  With a little prompting from mom, I am thrilled to have them write about their perspective of our traveling adventure.
  •  Personalized CDs - I have made a CD for each family member with all their favorite songs.  We will bring them out throughout the drive and allow them a chance to “guess” each song as we play it. I also can’t wait to ask them why they like their particular songs, yet another way to learn more about one another.
With all these fun activities, my hope is to make the time & miles fly by.  Who knows, maybe they will be having so much fun, they won’t want it to end!
What creative ideas do you use to make long car rides fun?
Here are some other ideas from the Quirky Mommas:

Have an idea to share? Come over to the KOA Campfire community and give us your tips for surviving and thriving during trips you have taken with the kids!




Rebecca About Rebecca

Rebecca Darling, momma of 3 sassy Texas kiddos, writes a blog dedicated to family travel at R We There Yet Mom?. Although she swears she is not crafty, this momma never lacks in creativity and enthusiasm - her ultimate goal is making exceptional memories for her family. Follow her memory making at R We There Yet Mom?, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.