Keeping Kids Entertained In The Car

With summer comes that classic family experience -- the road trip. Road trips can get long and kids can get antsy, but there are plenty of ways to keep the little ones entertained without resorting to electronics. 

Car Games

Car games keep everyone entertained and communicating. Try classics like 20 Questions or I Spy. With a little preparation, the family -- minus the drive, of course -- can play car bingo. Create some bingo cards with things you think you'll see on the road written in each square. You can include things like a cow, a fire truck, a person in a funny costume or someone singing in the car. The first one to find everything in a row wins. Keep everyone motivated to play by giving out coveted road trip prizes like getting first pick of the hotel bed or choosing where the family will eat for dinner. 


Take turns reading to each other on those long stretches of highway. Chapter books with involved stories are fun choices, but so are interactive books. Pick up a joke book, a choose-your-own adventure book or a book filled with long riddles the family can figure out together. When voices get tired, an audio book will keep everyone riveted. For kids who aren't yet readers, the family can invent a story together. Everyone in the car can take turns adding a line to the story until it reaches a neat finish or gets too silly to complete. 

Solo Play 

It's fun to play and talk to each other in the car, but sometimes everyone needs a little downtime and solo play is the perfect thing for those moments. For tiny kids working on hand/eye coordination, bring a travel mug that has a straw hole and a handful of brightly colored straws cut down to the height of the cup. Let kids work on fitting the straws into the drinking hole until the cup is full. Another option is to pick up a cookie sheet at the dollar store and paint it with chalkboard paint. Pack it in a bag with a selection of magnets and colored chalk and you have an inexpensive and easy-to-pack activity kit. I-Spy kits are always fun for kids. Find a clear pencil pouch or one with a zipper, fill it with clear poly-beads or rice and little random things you find in your house, like buttons or tiny toys. Close the zipper, go over the zipper a couple of times with a hot glue gun to keep the pouch closed, and you have a handful of quiet fun for the kids.