Many Americans enjoy road trips as a tradition. With the introduction of COVID-19 they are now considered safer than other modes of transport, like air travel. Road trips are a great option for families who have to deal with safety and travel restrictions.
A long road trip can be very stressful for young children. To keep children with shorter attention spans and those who work long hours on the road, it is important to provide entertainment and stimulation. It is important that parents make traveling enjoyable to reduce stress and anxiety.
What is road trip anxiety for children?
Roadtrip anxiety refers to the fear of travelling or trying new things. Children mirror their parents so if you’re anxious, it’s likely that your child will be too. If your child gets bored or becomes agitated while driving, road trip anxiety can quickly turn into a vicious circle. Your anxiety may be fueled by theirs, which could have been caused by driving all day. This can lead to further stress for the children.
How can you stop stress from building up on a road trip? The trick is to make it so fun for your child that they don’t even notice the anxiety you are experiencing while on a road trip. Toys and activities can be used to distract and stimulate, as well as learning and stimulation.
21 Interactive Road Trip Activities for Kids
Artwork for cars that is easy to maintain
- Crayola Color Wonder Stow and Go Coloring Studio for children 3 years old and older. This color wonder kit includes markers that only work on Crayola Color Wonder Paper. The ink won’t get on clothes, hands, or cars. The pad includes 30 pages and is designed to be used as a lap desk. Current price: $9.99.
- Melissa & Doug reusable sticker: These stickers can be easily removed and repositioned on a new page or in a different location. This sticker is ideal for road trips as it allows your child to continue the story once it has been placed. Recommended for children aged 3 and above The price is $5.99
- Magnetic toys, letters: These magnetic letters are great for learning the alphabet. They can be used in many ways. Magnetic toys can be used in many ways, including name practice, hangman, and as a way to communicate. This toy is for children aged 3 and above. Prices range from $4.99 to $50.99
- Color Wonder Metallic Paper and Markers: This color wonder line is for ages 3+. It features characters from Disney’s hit series Cars. You can have your child color every page from the bottom to the top, and they won’t get any ink on their clothes or hands. Color Wonder paper is the only way to use Color Wonder markers. This package includes 12 pages and 5 Color Wonder Markers. List price: $11.49.
- Crayola Washable Windows Markers: Crayola’s window marker will allow your children to paint on windows that they are not allowed to otherwise. The set includes 8 bright colors that can be easily washed off if your child has finished coloring or needs a new canvas. Recommended for children aged 4 and above The price is $4.99
- Whiteboard with markers: A whiteboard is a great option if your child loves to color, but doesn’t want to worry about having enough paper. The set includes 6 colors and magnetic so that you can combine it with magnetic toys. This set is for children aged 3+. It currently costs $14.99
Mobile road trip games
- Magnetic activities – Magnetic toys can be used to spark your child’s imagination or for learning (some can do both). Melissa and Doug offer many options at different prices ($11.99 to $59.99). You can add a magnetic whiteboard or cookie sheet to the toy if it doesn’t include a magnet board. These can be purchased at most dollar stores.
- The alphabet game: This game will help your child improve their alphabet knowledge and also exercise their perception. It’s simple: As you drive, order each letter of the alphabet. License plates, exit signs and car numbers can all be used. You can make it a team experience by working together or by creating competition by recording points as your go. It can be fast or slow depending on where you are traveling. You can add rules as you like. You might allow your child to see things, rather than relying on printed words.
- Would you prefer: Many people have played will-you-rather in some way or another at one time in their lives. Participants will be asked to choose between two scenarios. They then have to explain why they chose the less likely scenario. While you may be more comfortable imagining your own scenarios, there are many suggestions online that will work for families. It can be used to pass the time or as a competition, giving points to the most creative responses.
- Scavenger hunt: You look for items on a predetermined list as you drive. Ex. 2 people riding a motorcycle, RV, or sheep. You can have your family check out the items or award points to the person who finds the item first. Have each person make their own list.
- Spelling Bee: Although it may sound boring, a spelling bee can be a lot of fun with all the family. Either bring your dictionary or search for grade-appropriate lists.
- DIY Lego Travel Kit: Your child will have fun on your car ride with a ziplock bag and a few legos. You can give them challenges to stimulate their imagination if they seem bored. Please review the appropriate age levels for legos, as small pieces of plastic can quickly cause choking hazards for children younger than 5.
- Connect 4 Grab and Go. Connect 4 is an excellent board game for cars because it’s easy to pass back-and-forth. Although Connect 4 is easy to learn, it can be challenging to master. This makes it a great game for beginners. Connect 4 is suitable for ages 3 to 4. Available at $10.95
- No thanks! (card game) No thanks! This is an easy game to play, but may be too complicated for younger children who are just learning their numbers. No Thanks is a great combination of strategy and luck for older school-age children.
- Lego tic tac-toe – While packing your DIY lego travel bag, ensure you have enough blocks to play tic-tac – toe. Your creativity and new take on the classic game will be a hit with your child. If your children are too young to play with standard-sized Legos, Duplo Legos could be used instead. Make sure to check the age requirements for toys that have small pieces.
Apps for road trips
- Geo Touch – Learn Geography – Great for anyone who wants to refresh their Geography knowledge, Geo Touch makes it easy and enjoyable to learn about countries, states and capitals. This app is best for children aged 4 and up, although adults might find it entertaining. This app is great for driving across the country. It will help your child learn about their surroundings and give them context on how large each state actually is.
- Smule – Social Karaoke Singing : Have a singer in your life? Smule allows you to sing along to prerecorded videos featuring celebrities such as Ed Sheeran or Luis Fonsi, as well as your favorite Disney characters. Smule is like going to your local karaoke place, but with 10 million songs, you can record and add sound effects or sing a cappella. You can sing live with friends and other enthusiasts all over the globe. Prices from $20 per month to $99 per year
- World Atlas – This app can help your child expand their knowledge about the world while they travel. This app includes currency, flags, capitals, and maps. Because of its interface and content, it may be more suitable for older children.
- My Car – Mechanics For Kids: My Car teaches kids how cars work in a fun and engaging way. It is suitable for children aged 4 and up. It was developed with engineers and explains how engines work, how oil is used, and how brakes work. It is more than a simple question and answer app. You can let your child design their car and change the engine sounds. They can also diagnose and fix any problems with their car.
- Skybrary – Kids Books & Videos – Whether your child is an avid reader or a novice, Skybrary has almost a thousand interactive books that will make reading more fun. Skybrary is hosted by LeVar Burton, of Reading Rainbow. It can make packing for long car rides a lot easier. After the first month, Skybrary is completely free. You can then choose between a yearly or monthly subscription for $4.99.
Car trips don’t have to be boring or stressful. You and your child can have fun next time you hop in the car.
It may be tempting for you to surprise your child by telling them everything you can do while driving. However, it is best to tell them what they need to look forward too. This will reduce stress and keep your child excited about the journey.
We recommend that you set time limits if you want to play a lot of these things. This means they have to only play one game while they’re on the road, before you move onto the next. They will be more focused and calm if they follow a set timeline for interaction and play.
Keep everything as close to you as possible so that you don’t feel stressed about finding it. It is also important that you can remain calm. Even if you prefer to have everything within reach, your child may be able to access it all on their own. You may have to take some things with you on long car rides. Some items might need adult supervision.
Activities like these can keep children entertained on long road trips and help to create positive memories and reduce stress.