Six Ways to Keep Your Kids Occupied during Travel

Bodies are built for movement, not for sitting long hours at a time. Still, distance travel requires much sitting. This stillness and inactivity can cause the calmest adult to feel restless, but people learn to focus their mind on something else besides the body’s discomfort. Children have not learned to develop the skilled discipline of ignoring uncomfortable feelings. Adults can help them by arresting their attention with a planned variety of activities they can do during travel. Then, when the kids are happily occupied, the entire family has more fun on the trip.


Games that can be played while sitting are some of the best activities to interest young minds. While hand-held video games are popular, many parents and guardians do not want their children to spend more than an hour or so a day with this entertainment. Group games are interactive and engage the family. These games can be “I Spy, or looking for a certain color or object out the window, trivia games, or simple educational quizzes like the names of the capitals of states and countries. For older children depending on their interest, cross-word puzzles and mazes are sometimes an interesting option.


Life always goes better with good music. Travel can be much more pleasant with music. In a vehicle with a CD player, each child could be permitted to bring one or two favorite CDs for the family to hear together. Sing-along CDs are a good choice for a short time of singing together. Of course, IPods and other personal audio devices ensure that individuals can listen to their favorites longer without bothering others.


Books are excellent, quiet companions. Each child should bring a small collection of picture, comic, story and travel books. Some children will be silent for hours while reading and engaging storybook. Other children enjoy books best when other people are reading the books with them. Sometimes this is possible on a plane or in a car. The family can read a biography or adventure story together during a road trip. Travel books with pictures and information about the places where the family travels is a great way to enhance the road experience.


Especially younger children should be allowed to bring some of their toys with them. They may have a special stuffed bear, doll or action figure that they would miss very much if they had to leave the toy at home. Some kids are very attached to a particular plush frog or horse. Then, small toys can sit on the child’s lap for imaginative play while the ride continues.


Child-friendly jokes and riddles can keep the family in stitches as they ride along. When on a long road trip, brief and spontaneous moments can be filled with short stories and funny anecdotes. Each family member can have a chance to tell a little humorous situation from their imagination or something they have heard. Keeping the talk clean and innocent, while respecting each other’s turn to speak can teach respect and good communication skills. Smiles, laughter, and pleasant talk can pass the time quite nicely.


Children who have any interest in drawing, coloring, or writing should be encouraged to bring paper and the needed utensils to occupy some time being creative. They can draw or color pictures, write stories, or keep a mini-journal on their family getaway. Others children and the adults should be careful to be interested and positive about the creations the child produces.

Bringing things to do can prevent boredom and frustration. With a little planning and effort, family travels can extremely rewarding.


Natasha is a travel writer offering budget travel tips. Her expertise in budget travel can help you find cheap international flights and amazing holiday packages for domestic and international travel.


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