The following picture is what every parent dreams of when traveling with kids.
Unfortunately, 20 minutes after taking this sweet picture of my son sleeping on the airplane, he woke up ready to go.
Family trips are some of the greatest memories you will make with your family.
But as you know, the biggest problem with family vacations is getting there!
To avoid whining and crying (for both you and your kids!), you have to be prepared when traveling with young children to keep them entertained.
So what are some ways to keep your kids happy while on a plane or in a car?
By reading this list of 20 Travel Activities For Kids, the traveling portion of your trip will feel like a breeze. This list includes games, toys, and activities that your children won’t want to put down after 5 minutes.
And you won’t believe that nothing involves electronics until activity #17!
1. Melissa and Doug Reusable Stickers
I recently did a drive from Tennesee to Ohio, just me and my 4-year-old daughter. I’m not kidding when I say that these reusable sticker books entertained her for an hour of our drive.
She loved putting different outfits on the pirates, playing with the characters, and switching the stickers to different scenes since we had 3 different books.
Going on a plane ride? These books are not too large, and they are thin, so it’s a perfect carry-on item to keep them busy on the plane.
The BusyBag is honestly the coolest thing ever, and I didn’t know about it until doing research for this article.
It’s all in one bag, and there is no hassle for you to have to run around to several different stores to find what you are looking for.
It’s easy to carry on a plane or bring in the car! There are two options for boys and girls.
Inside the bag, you will see: 1 coloring/activity book, 1 mini chalkboard with chalk + eraser or sticker book, a pack of 24 crayons, 1 reusable Melissa and Doug WaterWow book, 1 tub of Play-Doh, 5 Play-Doh shape cutters, 1 lap board and a toy (cars or pony).
Your kids will be so excited to play with each activity/toy in this bag; the time will seem like it’s flying by!
3. Crayola Mess-Free Coloring Sheets
Every time we are traveling, I grab at least 2 sets of the Crayola Mess-Free coloring pages!
This specific set comes with Mickey Mouse themed coloring pages, reusable stickers, poster pages, and of course, the mess-free markers. There are a ton of different options available on Amazon.
If you haven’t heard about the Mess-Free collection, I promise you will thank me for the recommendation. It’s not just great for travel, and it’s convenient at home too.
The color will only show up on the coloring pages! It won’t get on clothes, skin, or any of your other travel items!
4. Wikki Sticks
I didn’t know what these things were until we went to Florida, and a restaurant had them instead of crayons with the kid’s menu. I am forever thankful for that restaurant because it kept my kids occupied throughout the entire meal.
If you never used Wikki Sticks before, they are colorful sticks that can mold into any shape to create whatever you want!
Your kids will love bending the sticks to make fun shapes and objects. You can help them create specific things like a car, flower, dog, or you could just let them use their imagination and create something.
5. Seek and Find Sticker Books
Who remembers the I SPY books from when we were kids? I loved those!
The only thing that would have made them better is if there were stickers that went along with the book, am I right?
Well, thank goodness Melissa and Doug came up with this great idea! My kids love searching for the objects and finding the matching sticker. After all of the objects are all found, they can color the picture with crayons or markers! Genius.
These books are great for a plane ride, maybe a little hard in the car, especially if you have younger kids. If you can sit there and do it along with them in the car, this would be a great activity for them.
6. Magnetic Traveling Board
My toddler has really been into cars, and he loves magnets, so I knew this would be a fun activity for him.
55 magnets come in this set with 2 different scenes for kids to place the magnets on!
To have a little extra fun with this activity, you can have cars and planes race each other, believe me, your kids will LOVE this.
One tip I have for any of these activities is not to give it to your child before your travel trip starts. Things that are NEW to kids will keep them interested for more extended periods.
7. Crayola Mess-Free Paintbrush Pen Set
I thought I tried all the Mess-Free options from Crayola, but I was wrong!
I stopped at Target quickly before our last trip and saw the Paintbrush Pen Set and knew I had to have my daughter test it out.
No surprise, it was a hit right away!
You can ask your kids to write their name, paint pictures about what they would like to do on your trip or create fun pictures on their own.
When we were in the hotel, we used paintbrushes to practice sight words.
The beautiful part about these activities is, is that you can use them during downtimes in your hotel or even at restaurants if you plan on going out to eat during your trip.
8. My Brick Case
The My Brick Case is perfect for travel trips for kids who enjoy building with blocks.
On the inside, there is a surface where kids can build right in the case! Isn’t that convenient when you’re in the car or on a plane? This way, you won’t have blocks all over the place, and they won’t get misplaced!
I’m obsessed about keeping things in a specific spot, so this toy is perfect for my family because I know I can keep the blocks organized in the travel case.
It comes with 50 blocks, and if you have some at home that would work as well, they can always be added in if there is enough space!
9. TAPE Activity Book
The TAPE activity book is fabulous because, in most cases, your child has never done an activity like this before, so it’ll be a new and engaging experience for them.
Which for you means, it’s a fantastic travel activity because you may get to relax for a few minutes while your kids are busy.
This book is filled with different pictures where your kids will place the easy to tear tape in specific locations.
The TAPE activity book is neat because it’s unlike any other workbook out there. Your kids will get some fine motor skill work in as well when they are ripping the tape and placing the pieces where they need to go!
10. Alphabet Dry-Erase Workbook
When we go on family trips, that’s my kids break time from doing any learning activities. But, when we are en route to where we are headed, that’s where I add in just a little bit of work time.
The book comes with a dry-erase marker attached, so you don’t have to worry about bringing one along.
My daughter enjoys working on her handwriting skills with this dry-erase book! It has upper case and lower case letters as well as number writing and some math and sight word games.
11. Scratch Art
We have done scratch art with loose black sheets of paper that I got from Lakeshore Learning. But, I’ve never tried the Melissa and Doug version.
My kids love using the scratch paper that we have, so seeing this picture reveal pad got me excited to get for our next trip.
What I like about this is that there is a picture to reveal! Your kids will get so excited to keep scratching to show the entire animal!
12. Felt Stickers
It’s funny, most of these activities I’m realizing are by Melissa and Doug. They make the ultimate on the go activities for kids, plus they are all on the cheaper side too, which we all appreciate!
Inside the book, there is a step by step instructions to show your child how to create each felt animal. There are scenes that your kids can color and then stick their stickers on to play with!
To get your child more interested in this activity, create a story with the characters they created!
13. Guess Who Game
My daughter enjoys playing board games, so for our last trip, I tried to think of a way we could bring a game along with us while we travel.
I believe it’s a great learning game for kids because they have to learn how to describe and identify attributes about the people on the board game, which enhances their critical thinking skills.
Since the game is just playing boards and cards, it’s easy to pack up, and there are not many loose pieces, which makes it easy for traveling.
Guess Who kept us busy for at least 45 minutes of our trip, which you all understand is a long time when traveling!
14. Go Fish
Who remembers Go Fish from when you were little?
It’s still as fun as you remember! I get so excited when my daughter wants to play when we are at home. It made me start thinking that it would be a great game to take along on a travel trip.
This game is better for on a plane than in the car ride because most likely, the parents will be sitting in the front, and the kids will be in the back, so it makes playing this game a little bit more difficult in the car.
If you’ve never played Go Fish, directions come in the box of the game. Explain the rules to your child; they are very simple. We started playing when my daughter was 3 years old!
Go Fish will help your child work on number recognition as well if you ask your child about each number when you are playing!
15. Lacing Cards
We never used lacing cards before, so I knew this activity would be a hit and would hold my kids’ attention for a good amount of time!
The Lace and Trace cards work on developing the fine motor skill of lacing. My daughter is going to kindergarten next year, and we are starting to talk about how to tie a shoe, so these cards are perfect.
Like I said before, introducing a new activity will keep your child engaged for longer periods than just playing with toys that they have had and played with for months.
The lacing cards are time-consuming, and your child will want to finish at least one animal, if not more!
16. Window Clings
Anyone else’s children love window clings? We get them for every holiday, and my kids can’t get enough of them!
These can be used on the plane windows or in the car! Let them go to town, putting these window clings up; they will have a ball!
There are hundreds of options for window clings; I just picked under the sea because underwater animals entrance my son at the moment.
Enhance this activity by creating a story with the animals! Your kids will love placing them up on the windows and coming up with fun ways of how the animals can interact with each other.
17. Electronic Devices
So, I brought it up. It took me to #17 to discuss electronic devices, which I’m pretty proud of.
We all know when it comes to traveling with kids, whatever electronic device you have becomes your best friend.
When we travel, I try to hold off for as long as I can to pull out the Ipad and the Amazon Fire. I do this because, when I have to take it away, it may cause a meltdown, which WE don’t want, and EVERYONE else on the plane doesn’t want. 🙂
Personally, I like the iPad better. It’s just more user-friendly. Yes, it’s more expensive, but you get what you pay for.
The Amazon Fire is great, but I have noticed the better learning apps are on the iPad. Also, the screen is bigger, and it’s easier for the kids to use, which is essential.
In a car or phone, headphones are important for the kids to wear. In the plane, obviously, you don’t want the whole plane to hear what your kids are listening to. In the car, we have used them if one of our kids is sleeping and the other is awake. Here is the link to the ones that you see my son wearing above.
We usually get some episodes of a few shows my kids like, and I also find new learning games for my kids to play.
Here are some of our favorite apps on the iPad:
1. TeachMonster (sight word game)
2. Smart Shapes (shape matching game)
3. Alphabet Aquarium (alphabet letter building game)
4. Sesame Street Alphabet Game (letter learning, building, and writing)
18. Water WOW Melissa and Doug Books
We have used the Water WOW products, but I’ve never taken them on a travel trip.
However, when I asked people about what products worked best for them, this was the number 1 response.
I promise I’m not a partner with Melissa and Doug! I wish I were; I am promoting them like crazy in this article. They make the best travel activities.
If you are not familiar with these water books, it comes with a paintbrush that you fill up with water. Your child will use the paintbrush to make the pictures colorful! There are a few different scenes in each book. Eventually, the water dries, and they can do it over and over again.
Now I know this isn’t an activity, but when you travel with kids, snacks are a HUGE consideration because it will occupy some time, and they won’t be hangry :).
Snacks are a great transition in-between activities!
Make sure to pack some of your kid’s favorite snacks. We usually try to pack some healthy and a few non-healthy choices. Some of our travel favorites are clementines, apples, bananas, goldfish, fruit snacks, and lollipops.
20. Little Figures/Cars
I know I listed a ton of products that you can buy, but sometimes it’s just not in the budget to purchase several activities for your kids.
Bring some of your children’s favorite little toys with them on the plane or in the car. We tell our kids that they can fill up their mini-backpacks with as many toys as they can fit.
There are many games and stories that you can play on the trip with your kids with toys you already have at home. Just make sure to keep them all in order, so they don’t get lost!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
One of the best parts about a trip can be the memories you make while traveling to your destination!
By reading my 20 GENIUS Travel Activities For Kids, you will find some fabulous activities that will make traveling easy and fun.
I would love to hear about travel activities/hacks that work for you and your family! There are thousands of products out there; it’s impossible to find and write about them all. Comment below to share!
Enjoy your trip!