Going on a Family Road Trip can be so much fun! And although movies in the car can help pass the time, I don’t love my kids to be watching a screen for hours on end. So I try to bring some activities for my kids that will entertain them between movie sessions. One of my major qualifications on if an activity can be brought into the car is how many pieces it comes with. There are so many great ideas online but I have seen ideas from other bloggers like Legos, Slime and Play-Doh! Say what?! That’s just a disaster waiting to happen if you ask me! So the ideas that I have collaborated for you are as mess-free as possible!
One of the very best tips I can give you is to prepare activities that the kids are only allowed to play with on road trips. Otherwise, they aren’t very exciting to play with and they lose their luster significantly faster.
Heads Up: my post contains affiliate links! If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep this blog up and running. I never recommend products that I don’t personally love myself. Thanks!
Puzzles, Games and Fidget Toys
My kids loved all of these fidget toys and they really captured their attention for quite some time. I was semi-expecting them to ask for the TV after playing with them for only a few minutes but they played with toys longer than they watched movies. That’s a huge success in my book! Here are links to the following products in the photo below:
- Tic Tac Toe Travel Game (Dollar Tree)
- Liquid Motion Hourglass & Monkey Noodles Set
- Flexi Puzzle
- Color Shift Puzzle Ball
- Peg Game (but I found mine at Dollar Tree)
- Double-Sided Circle Maze (found at Smith’s Marketplace)
Mess-Free Coloring Activities
My next set of activities is more geared around coloring. I only bring colored pencils in the car because I don’t want melted crayons all over my car in the summer. So I bought this incredible colored pencil roll that is excellent at keeping all of the colored pencils neatly organized and hopefully keeps them all off of the floor.
- Colored Pencil Roll
- Make-a-Face Sticker Pad
- Boys Doodle Book
- Girls Doodle Book
- Color Wonder Travel Set (comes with a storage case)
- Color Wonder Marker Set
I don’t know if you have heard of Boogie Boards or not, but they are pretty awesome! They are great for drawing or writing notes. They don’t require any paper and can be reused a million times over. I bought this set of travel-sized Boogie Boards at Costco a few months ago. The only product that I could find that was close to it online was at Barnes and Noble here. I feel like the travel case is a MUST because if they are hit to hard on the screen, they can break. But if you don’t feel like you need one with a case, you can get one on Amazon here.
Wikki Stix are one of my very favorites in all of this list of activities. Basically, these are wax-covered strings that bend, mold and stick into any shape you want! You can make colorful glasses out of them, you can shape them into pictures, or you can make bracelets! My kids had tons of fun with these! I definately recommend Wikki Stix for your next road trip.
I don’t remember where I saw this idea (most likely Pinterest) but these are called “Marble Mazes”. I am not much of a sewer so I enlisted the help of my awesome neighbor, Jaici, to help me make some of these! These marble mazes are basically marbles sewn into the fabric layers and the kids have to move the marble around the maze to find their way to the center. I LOVE these because these are 100% mess-free and 100% noise free! Check out Jaici’s Etsy Shop to see her awesome Marble Mazes! She was also generous enough to offer my readers a 25% off code. Use PRACTICAL25 at checkout to get your discount!
I have always been a fan of I-spy bags and they are a classic quiet-time activity. I decided that I wanted to make some of my own because I wanted to decide on my own theme. I used this tutorial here and I found it to be super helpful! I found my fabric and themed buttons at Joanns. Of course if sewing isn’t your thing or if you are just too busy, you could always just buy one here! And if I am being completely candid, they were pretty expensive to make so it might be even cheaper to just buy one!
Now all of these awesome activities are well and good, but if your car is a complete disaster at the end of the trip, that’s no bueno. So I feel like bins are absolutely essential! Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to consider keeping the activities up in the front with you and then handing them out at your discretion. I feel like this keeps the mess down and helps them experience the activities at a reasonable rate rather than whipping through things within the first 30 minutes. I have these awesome flip-top Sterilite containers that are just awesome! The link allows you to buy several different sizes.