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It can be daunting to try and plan entertainment for an entire vacation when you have kids in tow.
How do you keep them occupied during the trip while still enjoying your vacation?
Well, it’s much simpler than you think!
We’ve compiled a list of 19 clever tricks that are sure to entertain kids on vacations, and make boredom a thing of the past with these creative activities that will help spark enthusiastic exploration and enjoyment without breaking the bank.
Here is how to give yourself more time and energy on your next family getaway!
#1. Have Fun with Photography
Give each member of the family their own disposable camera to document the trip.
You can also use your smartphone or digital camera to take pictures together and capture memories that you’ll come back to in years to come.
For an extra fun activity, pick a theme for each day and have everyone try to capture it in photos!
#2. Look for Local Attractions
Do some research before you hit the road and find out what local attractions are nearby.
There may be free or inexpensive museums, festivals, hikes, farms, and other points of interest that your kids will love.
Plus, these can often add an educational component to a family vacation.
Lego is a timeless toy brand that allows kids to explore their creative sides.
From a range of exciting themed kits to buckets of Lego bricks that don’t have any connection to each other, there’s no shortage of things that can be done with Lego.
Consider bringing a few mini-builds and buy a small travel case with you to carry all the pieces with you if you’re a Lego family.
#4. Activity Books
Activity books are perfect for trips because they pack a ton of different games and tests into one convenient booklet.
Some of the things you might find in activity books include connect-the-dot games, coloring templates, mazes, and even stickers or tattoos.
If you have some older children, you can always look for themed activity books (word search, jumble, mad libs, etc.).
As long as you have some pencils or markers on your person, you might as well stock up on some extra activity books that your kids love.
Puzzles keep kids thinking.
When kids are using their critical thinking skills, it’s highly unlikely that they’re going to be bored anytime soon.
If you haven’t already, consider adding puzzles to your packing list.
Traditional jigsaw puzzles can be a good choice if you have a larger traveling space, such as if you’re in an RV.
You can even bring a cooking sheet or travel tray to keep the pieces on.
But if you have less space, don’t fret.
There are plenty of handheld puzzles your child can enjoy that take up very little space.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a VR set or if you have another product with you that can launch games, you may even find puzzles there!
#6. Would You Rather?
“Would you rather?” is a fun game that gives your kids choices and helps you learn more about their line of thinking.
As with other activities above, you can prepare for this game by writing down some questions in a notebook and pulling them out when it comes time to play the game.
#7. Travel Treasure Box
Kids often need to have things that both occupy them and engage their sense of excitement and wonder, especially during long road trips and other forms of travel.
One way to do this is with a travel treasure box.
Whether you decide to fill it with new toys, some of their favorite things they didn’t know you took on the trip, or cute, small products they like to play with, a travel treasure box is an excellent way to capture their imagination and give them something to focus on when they open the box every hour or so.
#8. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts require a great deal of focus as your kids are always on the lookout for something.
If you don’t mind traveling off the beaten path or doing a bit of work, a scavenger can be just what the whole family needs.
The good news?
There are card packs you can use if you don’t know how to start or you could create your own.
#9. Movies on iPad
There are plenty of great movies out there that can keep your child entertained for hours on end.
One way to help them stay busy during travel is to let them watch movies on their iPad or on the family iPad.
If you don’t have data, you can easily purchase and download movies on your device so that they can watch them on the go.
If you do have a device that’s connected to your mobile carrier or you have a mobile hotspot in your car, you can use any streaming services you have to find a movie that’s appropriate for them.
#10. Question Jar
Story time is great, but it might get silly rather quickly.
If you find that you need some variation, you luckily have the question jar on standby.
All that’s required for this activity is to print out questions on small pieces of paper and put them in a jar to pick from on the trip.
If you’re worried about the jar breaking, you can use a plastic container instead.
There’s nothing worse than going on a trip or vacation only to realize that you have no food packed away.
Make sure to come up with a list of snacks that the whole family will enjoy prior to embarking on your adventure.
This might include a mix of refreshing drinks, healthy snacks, a few select junk food types, and additional materials like straws, eating surfaces, and napkins.
Of course, this might not apply to everyone.
If you’re going on a plane instead of driving to your destination, you can easily pick up snacks nearby, such as at the airport or even at convenience stores once you arrive at your destination.
#12. Coloring Books
Coloring books are tons of fun, and there’s no shortage of coloring books to choose from.
You can easily pick up a few to take with you on your trip.
Just make sure you use colored pencils or washable markers as crayons will melt.
#13. Story Time
Story time is a great way to bond with your kids and encourage them to come up with their own ideas and stories.
Story time is simple.
Just have one person start a story, then have the person next to them keep the story going, and repeat for as many times as possible.
#14. Magnetic Games
Magnetic games are designed for travel, helping children to avoid the pain of everything sliding around on the board.
From checkers and chess to Sorry and other board games, there are a lot of magnetic travel games for your kids to enjoy.
#15. Audio Books
You don’t want to give kids too much screen time, but you still want to make sure they’re not bored while traveling.
One great solution is audio books.
Look for services that carry some of their favorite titles so they can stay concentrated on something without having their eyes glued to a screen.
#16. Take Breaks
It’s essential to build in stops along the way during any sort of journey with kids.
Not only will it give everyone an opportunity to get out and stretch their legs, but taking breaks also provides a chance for kids to experience something new, be it a playground or a scenic view.
#17. “I Went To The Store”
This classic game encourages kids to use their imaginations and practice storytelling. It’s also suitable for all ages, so the whole family can join in.
The rules are simple: starting with the person at the wheel saying “I went to the store and bought some” followed with and store item, then everyone takes turns adding to the list saying what they “bought” from a store.
Each player must build off of what the previous one said, and the game continues around in a loop until someone can’t think of anything new or can’t remember the list in order.
#18. License Plate Game
License plate games have always been a good way to kill some time on a road trip.
There are several types of variations you can try.
If you have an especially long road trip, try challenging your kids to find plates from every state in alphabetical order.
You can also try doing this with the license plate numbers or ask them to find unique phrases.
Books are an excellent way to keep children occupied while you’re on a trip.
While you don’t want to overburden your luggage with a ton of books, grabbing a few for each child can be a good idea.
If they have a favorite book that they like to read, bringing along those as well as books that they’ve been meaning to read will certainly satisfy their urge to read during the trip and on their way back.
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