Gone are the days when road trips meant crying babies, screaming kids, and weird relatives riding along with their pups. Those times are now memorialized as movie classics with no ties to the adventures we have today and truth be told, we prefer it that way. RVing has become the hottest commodity in family travel, more families are hitting the road than ever, and making road trips fun for kids has never been easier!
Top 8 Ways to Make Road Trips Fun for Kids
It’s no secret kids have short attention spans and toddlers can be trickier because often their entertainment is solely based on discovery or movement. Having a variety of activities on hand can help as you rotate between a toy bin full of dinosaurs or hot wheels, a craft box with various sizes of small papers and coloring supplies, or wooden puzzlers to be solved. You know your children best so plan a small toy box that fits each of their personalities or a slightly bigger one that allows for collaborative play. Wooden puzzles can be built and fun for all ages plus there aren’t usually small pieces that’ll be forever lost to the backseat!
When thinking of travel games, the nostalgia of hunting license plates and road sign letters or counting car colors may pop into memory. While some kids find these fun it can be less thrilling with a wide age variety or even end up in arguments over who spotted that blue truck first. Instead, opt for games that can build and be played together! Three favorites are often Memory Builder, Word Association, and Fortunately/Unfortunately.
- Memory Builder – Starting with the youngest and working to the oldest, each person takes a turn coming up with an item in a category, everyone has to remember the list, and as the list grows people are out if they can’t remember everything in correct order.
- Word Association – For this one, start with whoever is chosen or won the last round. They’ll spout off a word and the next person says the first word that pops into their mind based on the last word. This one gets wild and fun with no actual competition or winner. No hurt feelings!
- Fortunately/Unfortunately – Another great game for those with sensitive little ones, this is a favorite amongst RVers! Alternating with which way each sentence is going to begin (fortunately or unfortunately) work together to tell a story. It can be something funny and made up on the spot or can be a fun way to tell about a recent adventure while around a campfire.
Kids usually love to be silly. What is sillier than coming up with a list of random words, inserting them into sentences you’ve never read, and then sharing the results? If your family loves to be goofy, mad libs can help turn any frown upside down and get everyone giggling to your next stop!
Road Trip Comfort
Being cozy is important when sitting for long periods of time but often our bed pillows and blankets are too bulky for a backseat. If you’re traveling via truck or car then picking up special road trip pillows and tiny personal blankets can be a great surprise! There are a lot of varieties so you’ll want to be sure to pick something that works well for your child’s age and riding situation. Make them more fun by having them themed or adding personalization.
Backseat Movie Theater
When traveling at night, this one is pretty easy, just pop in a movie and go. The fun part of a backseat movie theater comes in when you’re traveling by day! Hang those road trip blankets up across the windows, divide the backseat from the front, and let them have at it with a new movie they haven’t seen or an old family favorite. Don’t forget to pass back some snacks!
All the Snacks
Speaking of snacks, all.the.snacks. Not so much all the drinks though. Water is the best bet for keeping things calm as is avoiding lots of sugary foods. Small water bottles can be refilled from a jug as necessary or at your stops allowing for some control over the liquid intake.
If you plan ahead by taking cheerios or similar, stringing that into a necklace is engaging for tiny toddler hands. They can be proud of their creation and eat it too! Packing a cooler bag that can be restocked as needed also allows for a larger variety when traveling several days in a row. Some of our favorite ideas include:
Cold Road Trip Snacks for Kids:
- Fresh pre-cut vegetables
- Small fruits such as berries or grapes
- Tube yogurts
- String cheese
- Sliced/cubed meats
- Hard-boiled eggs
Shelf Stable Road Trip Snacks for Kids:
- Dried fruits
- Peanut butter crackers
- Trail mix
Toss in some bags of Pirate Booty (puffed cheese snacks), pre-popped popcorn, or even chocolate candies for your backseat movie theater as a special treat!
Collect or Send Postcards
Half the fun of a vacation is sharing about it and postcards are a lightweight easy collectible sure to help make the memories last. At each stop, whether it’s a big destination or a tiny gas station, encourage the kids to grab a postcard for someone. They can spend part of the next leg of the adventure writing letters or drawing pictures to send home or tuck away. If they’re sent to a loved one such as a grandparent not only is that a precious way of sharing but you’re sure to have them later down the road for the kids to reminisce once older.
Plan Fun Stops
Another major part of road tripping (and probably the kids’ favorite part) are the stops along the way! Someone has to pee. The rig needs fuel. Everyone is tired of mom’s singing and dad’s games… We get it so let us help!
If keeping your kids entertained sounds like a lot of planning, leave the rest to us! We, Tumbleweed Travel Co., will book your overnight stays, fun attractions, and fuel stops planning out the perfect route. Instead of hitting any old truck stop, make it the one with a 15ft dinosaur and a classic 50’s diner! Reach out and we can help!
Road trips are the best for family travel because of how personalized they can be and traveling with a RV makes the stops even more exciting. There is nothing like pulling off next to beautiful views, fixing lunch in a real kitchen, and letting the kids run wild discovering. Except the very close second of being able to swing in for a night next to other families on similar adventures, sharing s’mores and stories by a campfire, then going to bed in real beds for well-rested tiny humans the next day. To truly make road trips fun for kids, it’s important to remember the littlest moments that have the biggest impacts on their adventures. So, rent that RV, get to booking the travels of a life-time, and go explore!