Travel Games that Don't Require Electronics
If you have traveled with kids, then there is a good chance your kids have played the I-Spy and License Plate game more times than they (or you) can count. Sometimes it is difficult to find things to keep kids from arguing or fighting when they are stuck in the car for hours on end. Fortunately, there are many new options that can be fun and exciting—and build family unity. With a little preparation, you can have hours of electronic-free entertainment that will allow your children to be creative, crafty, active, and productive. Enjoy the list below and have safe and wonderful travels this summer!
The Lollipop Game (Need: Lollipops and writing supplies)
For this game, you will need to get some lollipops or suckers and either pen and paper or dry erase boards (I recommend dry erase boards for traveling). The game can change with each situation or theme of the day, but the trick is to write (or draw…depending on the age) as many things as you can while you are sucking the sucker. This game is perfect for a gratitude game, but can work with movie, history, book, or video game trivia. The person with the most items after they have finished their lollipop is the winner (so either write fast or finish the sucker slowly!)
The Question Game??? (Need: Creativity and Concentration)
This is a great game because you can only speak in questions. One person starts out by asking a question, but the next person has to answer by…asking a question. It gets confusing and funny when the gut reaction is to answer the question—which means that you would then be out.
The Gratitude Game (Need: Creativity and Concentration)
You start this game in the car by patting your hands on your lap and then clapping—to give you a one-two beat. The game is to take turns saying something for which you are grateful each time your hands hit the second beat. You must say something on the beat or you are out. It is much more difficult than you think to have to speak gratitude on a beat, so start slowly and maybe even have a strategy like thinking of a room in the house like the bathroom for your gratitude items. It is awesome for kids to speak of gratitude for toothpaste, shampoo, and soap! 😊
Coloring Pages (Need: Coloring pages and colored pencils/markers/crayons)
Coloring pages are a way to keep kids entertained and creative while on a long trip. Today you can find a wide assortment of coloring pages online. Just print off a few pages before you leave and grab some colored pencils for the trip.
Finger Knitting (Need: Yarn and popsicle stick)
Okay, it’s not really a game, but it is super fun and entertaining—and even a great way to serve. Grab some yarn (the medium thickness seems to work best for finger knitting) and start by twisting the yarn in and out of little fingers. My son would finger knit scarves over the summer and they we would donate them to homeless shelters when it got cold. (One tip…buy some extra wide popsicle sticks so that you can use that to hold the yarn when taking it off little fingers. It helps keep the finger knitting in place and makes it easy for children to get their fingers back into the knitting when they are ready to start knitting again.)
Paper Flowers / Origami Money / Origami for Kids (Need: Paper, Glue Stick, maybe scissors, dollar bills)
Paper is always a great item to bring on trips. If you have younger children, these crafts can work great if you do a little preparation before-hand. The paper flowers are a perfect thing to make on the airplane or in the car if you are going to visit loved ones. Life is usually too busy getting ready to travel to make cards or crafts, but the travel time provides great opportunities to make gifts to bring to loved ones.
Origami is also another paper craft that can be fun for travels. Older kids might love the Origami money projects.
No-Sew Pillow (Need: An old t-shirt (preferably a favorite shirt to become a pillow, Fabric Scissors (If you are going on an airplane, you will need to cut the edges first), Pillow stuffing.
This is one activity that needs a little preparation, but no-sew pillows are a great activity for the car. You basically take a favorite t-shirt, cut the front and back into equal squares (or whatever shape you need preserve the image on the shirt) and then cut the edges into strips. It is better to do the cutting before the car ride, but once it is cut, you turn it over to the kids to tie most of the strips together (leave a small area open), stuff the pillow, and then finish the ties. It is great because it creates the perfect travel pillow or great gift to give away to loved ones you are visiting.
If you are okay with some tissue you paper mess, there are several fun crafts that can keep children entertained for hours as they decorate with small pieces of tissue paper. Usually, you just need a design, a glue stick, and some tissue paper cut in squares. It is a very inexpensive craft (you can always find tissue paper at the Dollar Store) and there are a lot of tissue paper colors and designs out there. I would suggest cutting the paper before hand and then putting it in a cup, placed in the drink holder. See link for great tissue paper craft suggestions.
Family History Stories (Need: Family History Stories, Drawing /coloring/writing supplies)
We often take books and books on CD to entertain our children while we travel, but one great option is to bring family history stories to share. The uninterrupted hours on the road or in the air can be the perfect setting to learn about loved ones. To keep their minds active, you could have your children draw a picture about the story they are reading on a dry erase board or with pencil and paper. You could also print out a paper with six large boxes and have them draw a sequence of pictures that illustrate the story being told.
Another option with family history is to call a loved one with interview questions. Have each child create a question or two, and then call the loved one(s) to find the answers to the questions. (Obviously, this only works in the car with good cell phone reception.)
As a family, you might also take the time to write your own family story. Start with the present and work backward to record all of the events, trips, school events, birthdays, and happenings in your family. See how far you can get. You will be surprised how much the family enjoys reminiscing about your lives.
Would You Rather Questions (Need: Creativity. You may want to print questions or cards.)
Taking a minute to print out some “Would You Rather” questions will provide a fun and exciting activity that kids of all ages will enjoy. And if you don’t have time to print out questions—no worries! Just take turns coming up with the questions to ask one another. The kids can be creative and fun! (And if there is a lack of creativity, you can look up questions on your phone when you have service.)
Would You Rather Star Wars (free printable)
Would You Rather Harry Potter (free printable)
Would You Rather Disney (free printable)
Bubblegum Blowing Contest (Need: Bubblegum and Wipes)
This may sound easy, but what better time to teach your children to blow bubbles than while you are traveling. Just pick up some various flavors of bubblegum (and a package of wipes if you have little ones) and let the lessons and practice begin!
Travel Map (Map of your travels, stickers, highlighters)
A travel map is a great way to help your kids learn about maps and geography. Simply print out a map of where you are going (or get a map through AAA or purchase one from the store or online) and then let your children highlight your travels and decorate the map with stickers.
Sticker Books (Need: Stickers, small photo book, craft paper cut the size of pictures)
Stickers are so fun! There are seemingly countless types, sizes, and styles of stickers available. One way to enjoy sticker fun while traveling is to make a sticker book. It can be a story or just a compilation of sticker pages—whatever excites your child. If you purchase a cheap photo album and bring paper that is cut into 4X6 size pages, the kids can decorate the pages to create a book.
To Me, Myself, and I (Need: Postcards purchased while traveling, pen, and stamps)
Make the trip exciting by allowing your children to purchase postcards along the way—but that is just the beginning of the fun. Have the kids write on the postcards, detailing how the trip is going, and then mail the postcards to themselves back home. When they get home, they can make a scrapbook from the postcards they have been mailing to themselves along the way.
Bracelets can be great for boys and girls—and kids of all ages. They require some preparation, but many of the supplies are fairly simple and easy to bring in the car or on the plane. Here are a few bracelet ideas for the travels.