Any parents who have gone ANYWHERE with their children for a span of time longer than five minutes have probably experienced that prickle of irritation every time they hear the phrase, “Are we there yet???” Coupled with the added stress of having to adhere to a flight schedule or the fatigue of hours of driving, and it’s enough to make any sane adult turn around and head right back home.
When faced with seemingly hours of flight or drive time and unexpected delays or extended layovers, car trouble, motion sickness, etc., we know that we need entertaining distractions for our children. However, some of us may baulk at the thought of merely plugging them into an iPad for the entire day and calling it done.
Even though an iPad is in my own kid’s plane bags, they need variety, which is why we’ve compiled these Travel Games for Kids just for you.
Games to play on a road trip
With the Globetrotters we have embarked on countless hours in the car to date, and I truly believe the two travelling essentials are healthy snacks and activities to keep everyone occupied for the duration of the journey. There is also a limited amount of space in any vehicle, so the smaller and more versatile the game (or even just in your heads), the better.
Would You Rather (Ages 2+):
This particular game is so fun because the possibilities are literally endless. Your toddler can even chime in (they definitely have opinions), and the discussions on why PB&Fluff is better than PB&J can get lively. The best part is that you can find questions on your phone or iPad for free, or you can print them off in the very likely chance you’ll lose cell service.
ABC Game (Ages 3+):
Younger children might require a bit of assistance for this road trip game, but there are so many different versions you can play. For example, you could do Category ABCs, where the category is animals and each person has to think of animals that go in alphabetical order:
You could also use your ever-changing surroundings to search for words that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
This is an excellent game to help younger children work on the letter and colour identification skills and is equally challenging for older children (and even adults). Use this printable sheet or a plain old piece of notebook paper.
Mad Libs (Ages 8+) and Mad Libs Junior (Ages 5-7):
The reason I placed this particular game in the road trip game category is its laughter-inducing reputation. If you have younger children, I would suggest Mad Libs Junior because it uses corresponding symbols and word lists instead of requiring them to know their parts of speech. The traditional Mad Libs game would work well for families with older children. Both have the potential for hours of rib-tickling fun!
Melissa & Doug Flip to Win License Plate Game (Ages 8+):
Toys and games with small, easily lose-able parts are my nemeses when travelling because I’m still finding pieces of them months later (along with those stale cracker bits). This wooden board game is designed for two and helps the players identify license plates from all 50 states. The best part? No loose pieces!
Best Games for Air Travel
In all of my air travelling experiences, I can think of a few occasions where there weren’t unforeseen delays and frustrations. It just goes with the territory. However, these airport-worthy games can help those hours go by a little more quickly.
Spot It! (Ages 4-15 years):
If you or anyone in your family has a competitive streak, things could get a little heated in the terminal lounge area with this game. Spot It! and Spot It! Junior cards come in a portable can and are adaptable to all age groups. The aim of the game is to find the same item on two or more cards, and the first person to Spot It! wins the round. Unintended yelling will probably ensue, so it might be a good idea to restrict this to more open areas.
Take N Play Bingo (Ages 4+):
The nice thing about this version of Bingo is its compact design. The two Bingo boards snap together, and the pieces are magnetic, reducing the chances that they will travel on between/underneath the seats after you’ve reached your destination. If you have two children, it also provides you with the slim chance of 10 consecutive minutes to yourself to enjoy that juicy novel you scored from the terminal gift shop. Hey, miracles can happen, right?
Melissa and Doug Flip to Win Hangman (Ages 6+):
I’m a big fan of travel games that are fun and educational at the same time, and Hangman is as simple as it gets. The Hangman travel-friendly version has a whiteboard answer section and self-storing dry erase marker with eraser. There are no loose pieces, so you know it’s a win in my book!
I cannot guarantee that these travel games will eliminate every gruff or grumpy moment in your adventures, but they can help cultivate your children’s creativity and imagination, with many opportunities for laughter along the way.
All of them will slip easily into your child’s travel bag.
I hope you’ll give a few of these Travel Games for Kids a try, and let me know which ones worked for you!
Looking for more travel toy ideas for your little ones?
Don’t miss these guides for each age group to help keep your little ones occupied when you travel:
- Best travel toys for your 1-year-old
- Best travel toys for your 2-year-old
- Best travel toys for your 3-year-old
Still looking for road trip ideas? Here’s where you could be travelling to next!