Every time we tell friends about our family travel plans with two kids under three, they look at us like we are crazy. We may very well be, but we love to travel and are almost done with our first adventure of the summer and preparing for our next one. Today I’m sharing 20 tips for entertaining preschool kids while traveling, and I hope they will be as useful to you as they have been to us. We love to travel and to take our kids along, so keeping them entertained is a must for our sanity.
We’ve been living and working at Camp Buckner, a beautiful camp in the Texas Hill Country for the last 2 1/2 weeks serving with Young Life. Traveling to and living at camp is challenging, but we are using it as a test run for our big 4 week road trip coming up later this summer. In July we will head out to Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss our adventures.
20 Fun Ways to Entertain Preschool Kids While Traveling
1) Map out parks along your route. We try to stop at least every 2 hours on a long trip to give the kids time to run and play. Here’s more about How We Road Trip with Kids – making every stop count and planning for short driving stints.
2) Pack a car bag for each kid and let them choose some of the items, but include a few suprises. We always bring lots of books, small stuffed animals and toys, and 1 new item they’ve never seen before.
3) Encourage them to sleep at their regular times. When it is time for our daughter to take her morning nap, we make sure the Bear is occupied with a quiet activity and try to set the stage for the Pearl Girl to be able to sleep. We go through her usual nap routine (book, song, snuggle lovey) even in the car.
Busy bags and boxes are so much fan and can be easy to transport and pull out when needed. Here are some fabulous busy bag ideas:
4) 7 Busy Bags for Teaching Colours from The Chaos and the Clutter
5) I Spy Bags from Giggles Galore
6) Car Trip Busy Box from Play Dr. Mom
Stuff you already have around the house can be perfect for travel entertainment.
7) I Spy Bottles and other fun ideas from The Stay at Home Survival Guide
8) Print a copy of a the road map you are using from Google Maps for your older preschool to follow along. Show them different towns as you travel and point out landmarks and stops.
9) Unexpected Fun – We bring puppets, beach balls, and other random and unexpected toys and keep them hidden until they are needed. An impromptu puppet show from the front seat or around their car seat (if rear facing) will surprise and delight your wee ones. Small beach balls or balloons are fun to bop around the car without adding risk of injury.
10) Dress Up Bear Felt Sets and DIY Travel Felt Board from Mama Smiles
11) Fun music can help change the mood in the car. We love the Kids’ Praise and Toddler Radio stations on Pandora, and always bring a few kid music cds. My dad loves to play classical or marching band music in the car for the kids. They LOVE it.
12) Free Printable I Spy Games from Dallas Moms Blog
13) Unwrap Surprises Every Hour from Giggles Galore
14) Must Have Apps for Entertaining Kids from Dallas Moms Blog
15) Road Trip Music and a Free Ebook from Daria Music
16) Free Road Trip Printable Activities for Kids from 3 Boys and a Dog
17) Cut up strips of fabric and stuff them in an old wipes tub. Our kids love pulling them out and stuffing them back in endlessly.
18) Simple travel games are great for preschoolers. Teach them how to play the Alphabet Game and I-Spy. Spotting letters of the alphabet or easy to find objects out the window can be done by rear or forward facing kids and can entertain for hours if you are engaged.
19) Snacks soothe the savage toddler. Pack a few of their favorites and bring a jar of peanut butter and loaf of bread to help avoid fast food stops and keep picky eaters happy in restaurants.
20) As simple as it sounds, talking to your kids is really the best way to entertain them on the road. Tell them a story, talk about what you see, teach them about your destination.
Read more about our travels here, and how to survive sharing a hotel room with a baby without losing your mind here.
Follow Becca’s board Family Travel on Pinterest.Looking for more fabulous ideas for kids? Check out all of my fellow Kid Blogger Network friends below.
Shoot- my ten year old is worse traveling than my three year old!
The Meek Moose
as children (we haven’t improved) my sisters and I were terrible car travellers – all we could do was stare out the window and hope that we weren’t ill
I’m impressed! I’d never think of all these neat things. I thought I did great just keeping my 10 year old happy a few months ago. lol
Thanks for sharing!
Love these ideas!
Road trips with you sound like a blast. I hope to learn…
Love these ideas. Thanks for sharing!
all great ideas, will try some of these on our next long journey xx
Thanks for sharing! These ideas are awesome!
We already use about half of these but the rest are all new and I will give them a try next road trip!!