Road trips can feel like a pretty magical way to get from one place to another. With snacks in your bag and the radio and wind going strong, it's an enjoyable experience. When you start a family and go on a road trip, it's easy to hand over the iPad and know that your kids will relish the chance to play games and watch movies the whole time.
But what if you want to enjoy the open road without any screen time? Since road trips are a great way to travel with children since you're in control of your schedule and time (unlike flying, of course), it's handy to know how to keep your little ones entertained. Here are 10 ways to occupy kids on road trips without the iPad.
10 Books On Tape
Children love a good story just like we do, and having some books on tape handy for road trips can be a great way to occupy little ones without screen time.
Whether you buy some or get some from your local library, your kids will love feeling like they're being read to. They'll be captivated by the tale and the action, especially if the person reading the story is doing fun and different voices. Before you know it, the time will have passed and you'll have reached where you're going, and the whole family will have had fun.
Kids enjoy singing along to music, and getting some sing-a-long tapes could be another great way to occupy kids on a road trip.
Your little ones will enjoy getting the chance to do something fun in the car like sing. This is going to be a great interactive experience for everyone and the best part is that it doesn't involve staring at a screen for hours. Choose a variety to bring along so your kids can choose. This works especially well if you have kids who are close enough in age to enjoy the same songs.
8 Play A Storytelling Game
Playing a storytelling game is another great way to occupy kids during a road trip. You can leave the iPad at home and, instead, have each member of the family come up with a different part of a story.
You can start with a prompt, like saying that a family is going on a car ride to visit other relatives. Then everyone can come up with something that happens next. This will encourage creativity, stop boredom, and it could even become a new tradition for future family trips.
7 Chat About Family Memories
Spending a little bit of the road trip chatting about happy times, other trips, and family holidays can be another fun way to pass the time.
Even super young kids have some fond family memories, and this can be an entertaining and also hilarious exercise. Maybe your little ones will surprise you with how much they remember from a particularly rocky vacation, or that one Christmas dinner when everything kept going wrong and you had to order pizza.
6 Brainstorm Vacation Spots
Since you'll be hanging out in the car together for at least a few hours, a road trip is a perfect opportunity to have a really nice family discussion.
You can brainstorm future vacation spots with your kids and get their imaginations going. You can ask them each where they would love to travel next. This will at least pass a little bit of time, and it'll be exciting to dream about future travel.
5 Bring Small Puzzles
Many kids enjoy working on puzzles. They're a great challenge. If you want to occupy your children during some hours in the car, you can bring some small puzzles.
While of course a large puzzle that takes days to complete (and needs to be done on your living room floor or the dining room table) isn't the best bet for a road trip, a tiny one would work great.
4 Have Kids Draw And Create Their Own Maps
While parents are going to closely follow a map on a road trip, kids would definitely find that pretty dull (and no one could blame them). Why not have your children draw and create their own maps?
Bring some fun art supplies in the car and get a lap desk that they can write and lean on. This will not only occupy kids during a long road trip without pulling out the iPad, but it'll be really interesting to see what they come up with. They can create a map from home to your destination and put anything that they want in-between, from a made-up restaurant that serves their favorite food to the beach (even if there isn't any water where you are).
3 Travel Board Games
If you buy some board games that are designed for travel, the pieces are magnetic and stick to the board, which is great news since little pieces won't get lost in the car (and you won't find them months later).
This is especially good for siblings who can play the games together in the backseat of the car.
2 Play Some Improv Games
Improv is always really fun to watch, and playing some improv is a great way to have fun and pass the time during a family road trip. Kids will love using their imagination.
You can ask your kids what they'd like to pretend. Maybe they want to pretend that you're all a royal family and you're heading to a castle for a ball, or something else equally magical.
1 Have A Picnic Lunch (But In The Car)
Kids love picnics (and we do, too). You can occupy your family during a road trip by making a fun picnic lunch. Of course you'll be eating it in the car, but you can pretend that it's the same as being on a nice, grassy field at your local park.
Pack some easy things to eat such as pieces of roast chicken, salami and other deli meat, crackers, cheese, and anything else that seems simple to eat and pack. Before too long, your family will have arrived, and the fun vacation can begin.