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Keeping kids happy in the car while you’re on a family road trip is no easy feat, and often so daunting of an idea that many people don’t even attempt to hit the road with their kids. Having a list of road trip games and activities for kids in your pocket can do wonders to make your drive run more smoothly.

mom with girls in front of car with suitcases, text reads "52 screen-free road trip activities for kids"

Earlier this fall I released a free Ebook with 52 screen-free activities for your kids to do during your next road trip

With road trips being the main mode of any travel happening this year, I want to empower you to hit the open road––whether it’s just for a day or an entire week––and find expansiveness in going on an adventure with your family.

I’ve been road tripping with my kids since they were infants and toddlers, and I took my first big solo road trip with kids as a divorced mom just a few years ago. At the end of that trip I was absolutely fed up with devices and ready to throw them out of the car!

From taking turns, to running out of batteries, screens became a nightmare instead of a godsend during that trip. I had driven thousands of miles to the Rockies and back, and my patience was depleted. I was so fed up that we had a hiatus from screen time for about a month after our trip. 

I know I’m not the only mom out there with kids who get cranky after being on screens too long. And chances are yours have been on a lot more this year with distance learning, like mine have. I also know that a lot of mamas (and dads) out there find keeping their kids entertained in the car the most intimidating part of taking a family road trip.

The memories I’ve made with my kids have been well worth the hours on the road, so I’ve learned how to think creatively when it comes to keeping everyone happy in the car (myself included!). 

Download My Free Ebook: 52 Screen-Free Road Trip Activities for Kids

How do I entertain my kids on a road trip?

The best thing you can do to entertain your kids in the car is plan ahead. And if you do it right, they’ll be entertaining themselves––which is what most parents focused on driving really want, isn’t it?

I absolutely love putting together little car ride goodie bags for my kids (yes, even my teenagers!) when we’re gearing up for a long road trip. I’ll include everything from candies, to new coloring pencils/crayons/markers, to a new book handpicked just for them. Along with their goodie bags, I’ve amassed an arsenal of road trip games for kids that we’ll alternate playing throughout the drive.

What are some fun road trip games?

The best family road trip games are ones that you can all play together, in my book. But it’s also nice to have a handful they can play solo or without your help while you focus on driving, too. Some of the games below require nothing but the imagination, others good ole pen and paper, and some are better played with a few car-friendly supplies.

Road Trip Games for Kids

  • One-word story game
  • Alphabet game
  • License plate game
  • Road trip bingo
  • Tic tac toe
  • Rainbow game
  • Would you rather
  • Eye-Spy
  • Card games
  • Rhyming words game
  • 20 questions
  • I’m going on a road trip
  • Cat’s cradle
  • Thumb war
  • Rock Paper Scissors
  • Mad libs
  • Photo scavenger hunt
  • Magnetic checkers or chess

My favorite supplies for car ride games

Download My Free Ebook: 52 Screen-Free Road Trip Activities for Kids

Road Trip Activities for Kids

  • Read a book
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Make funny faces at passers-by
  • Write a story
  • Use a coloring book
  • Use a puzzle book (think crossword puzzles and word searches)
  • Listen to your favorite songs
  • Create their own playlist
  • Sketch what they see
  • Color in a map of your trip as you go
  • Start a Junior Ranger packet before your National Park visit
  • Sew on souvenir patches
  • Draw on the windows
  • Get passing trucks to honk
  • Keep a road trip scrapbook
  • Write postcards or letters
  • Solve a Rubik’s Cube
  • Learn how to tie knots
  • Blow bubbles
  • Fold origami animals
  • Crochet
  • Finger knitting
  • Make friendship bracelets
  • Explore the landscape with a pair of binoculars
  • Write haiku
  • Keep a diary or journal
  • Mini watercolor kit
  • Make up a secret code
  • Buy or DIY a kaleidoscope
  • Paper dolls
  • Geoboard
  • Embroidery or needlework project
  • Thumbprint art

My favorite supplies for road trip activities for kids


My top road trip audiobook picks for kids





Take all 52 road trip activities and games for kids on the road with you!

woman holding copy of 52 screen-free road trip activities for kids
Download My Free Ebook: 52 Screen-Free Road Trip Activities for Kids

Inspired by these ideas for your next road trip? Take the entire list––along with instructions for each––on the road with you! You can download my free Ebook and enjoy picking your favorite road trip activities for kids without the need for a wifi signal! Have a road trip game or activity you’d add to the list? I’d love to know!

Find more road trip inspiration in these related posts:

Visiting the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo with Kids

Traveling to Colorado with Kids | A Texas Family Road Trip

How to Take Great Travel Photos with Your Phone