(Note: This post contains affiliate links. UM gets a small commission for purchasing items through our links. Thanks so much for supporting us!)
If you’re planning a road trip with kids anytime soon, I’m sure your first thought was how you would keep them occupied. Well you’re in luck, I have some great car activities for kids.
Car Activities for Kids Will Keep You Sane on Road Trips
Road trips with kids, does anyone actually like them? Personally, I’d much rather fly than drive but when you have kids it’s much more economical to drive.
I’m lucky to have amazing grandparents who took me to Disney World on more than one occasion and we always drove. They always needed car activities for kids!
My Grandma would always pack lots of things for us to do: travel games, books on tape, coloring books, travel bingo. You name it, she packed it, and it really made the time pass quickly.
These are my top long-lasting car activities for kids that are not only affordable but your kids will love. These activities will definitely keep their attention for more than five minutes!
Practice Using Your Car Activities for Kids Before You Really Need Them
While I think it’s smart to keep your car activities put away from the regular toys, so they are special and therefore hold your kids attention longer. I also think you should test out the ones you aren’t sure of.
My grandparents live about two and half hours away and that’s how I first introduced my kids to their car activities. That way when we eventually go on a longer road trip, I’ll know what works.
Let’s be honest, we still need car activities for kids during a 2.5 hour car ride! But you can also bust them out on shorter trips.
Maybe you have plans to drive out to your sister’s house and she lives an hour away. That’s the perfect time range to test these car activities for kids.
This is a favorite activity in our house. Not only is it super fun for kids anywhere from 12 months to 4 years old, it’s non-messy and reusable. Whoop whoop!
Plus, they only cost $4-5/book and last a while. Each book comes with a “pen” that you fill with water and then the kids can “paint” the pages of the books to expose a colorful picture. They dry within 5-7 minutes and then they can do it again.
We have about 6-8 at this point so I can rotate them out and let them dry in between uses. Even Kerrigan, my 11 month-old, gets a kick out of these. (Though I don’t give them to her in the car yet because she always ends up chewing on the “pens”.)
A few years ago, I found some sticker face activity sheets at Michael’s on clearance. They were baby face ones that were meant for a baby shower game.
At the time, I thought Georgia might like them but I had no idea how big of a hit they’d be. She LOVED these things. They’re basically just sheets with blank faces and they come with stickers that are facial features and the kids can make their own crazy faces.
After we went through that first pack, I hopped on Amazon and found all sorts of sticker face activity books. We love the Melissa and Doug ones but they are a tad big for the car, though perfect for at home quiet time! We’re currently working our way through these Halloween ones but we’ve also gotten these animal ones and they are great too!
*Quick Tip: If your child can’t quite pull the stickers off themselves, peel the salvage sticker, the one that’s all around the actual stickers, off and they will have a much easier time getting the stickers off themselves.
I have an amazing aunt who gifted me TONS of great hand-me-down toys when Georgia was born. When I say these things looked like they were brand new, not 15 years old, I’m not exaggerating!
One of the things she gave to me were these felt activity books. I’d never really seen them before but as soon as I gave it to Georgia to play with, it was a hit. There are different scenes on each page and a bunch of cut-outs to go on them.
Everything is made from felt so they stick together. No lie, Georgia will play with these for 30-45 minutes straight. Highly recommend for the 2.5-5 year-old range.
Young or old, what’s more fun than writing with dry erase markers? I mean seriously, I love them myself. Georgia goes nuts for this activity and it’s very easy for her to use in the car because of its design.
We’ve had ours for a minute so I couldn’t find the exact model on Amazon but this dry erase activity set is very similar. She’s still a little young for the actual activities but she doesn’t mind, she just does her own thing.
Plus, our kit came with a blank page so kids can draw whatever they want. The kit also comes with a small eraser which ends up being half the fun.
Ah, childhood nostalgia! This was a favorite of ours growing up and when I saw these at Dollar Tree I had to snatch them up!
I haven’t tried them with Georgia yet, though we plan to this weekend, even if the “Bingo” concept is lost on her, she’ll still love to look for the signs and circle them.
If you can’t find these guys at your local Dollar Tree, I found this roadside bingo set on Amazon and they are exactly the kind I had growing up! No dry-erase marker needed.
This is great if you have two kids who can play together while you zone out and listen to a podcast or some tunes:)
Those are My Top Car Activities for Kids
- Melissa and Doug Water Wow
- Sticker Face Books
- Felt Activity Books
- Dry Erase Activity Pad
- Roadside Bingo
Fun, affordable and mess free! Oh and completely screen-time free might I add. Not that using the iPad on a car trip is bad, we definitely do it.
Having these things on hand help reduce iPad time so they aren’t staring at a screen for hours on end. Let me know what you guys use on car trips in the comments below, I’m always on the hunt for more!
Taran is a self-proclaimed undomestic mom. She thrives as a stay-at-home-mom by consistently carving out time for herself and practicing realistic self-care. As a busy mom of 3, she knows that if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy! With a focus on how SAHMs can carve out time for themselves everyday, she teaches fellow SAHMs how they can do the same.