Friday, July 27, 2012

Relaxing Roadtrip - 10 Activities for Keeping Sane in the Car

This summer we are heading out on a road trip.  This means LONG days in the car with kids who are not used to drives longer than about 2.5 hours and have probably been in the car for no longer than 5. 

You already saw the 3 re-usable travel games I created and the Travel Activity Binder I put together for my kids.  In this installment of Relaxing Road Trip I'm sharing some more great ideas to help keep the kids busy and you sane on a long car ride.


DIY Lego Travel Box:

This Lego box idea from Finley & Oliver is great!You can easily make it yourself and your child will have something to play with en route and at your destination.

Image & Idea: Finley & Oliver

Another version using a suitcase type box rather than a slide lid.  These can be found easily at dollar stores.

Image & Idea: Finley & Oliver

Drawing Tutorials:

In the travel binders I created for my kids I included lots of activities to keep them busy.  I wanted variety so I popped in these animal drawing tutorials from Busy as a Bee in Paris.  I put them into the section of their binders with blank paper.  They love to draw but having these step by step tutorials will make their pictures come alive.

 I had a really hard time downloading and printing from her site but I made a PDF version of the Learn To Draw pictures for you to download and print at home.

The Licence Plate Game:

This free printable from The Dating Divas was included in my binders.  I laminated them the same way that I laminated my own re-usable travel games so that we could use dry-erase markers to cross off the plates.  This meant that we'd be able to play both on our way to our destination and our way home. 

Image & Idea: The Dating Divas

Note:  I wish I could have found a Canadian version online but time was not on my side so we only had the American plates.  Sorry!


Funny Faces:

I found these cute face templates over at Planet of the Apels.  They  are intended to be used with playdough but I thought the kids could just use their dry erase markers and have some fun.  I printed the boy and the girl, laminated them back to back and added them to my trusty binder.  Planet of the Apels has a whole series of free printables to be used with playdough.  Check them out before your next trip.

Image & Idea: Planet of the Apels

Origami Dresses:

Okay, this one might be more for me than the kids but I think these little paper dresses from MeiJo's Joy are adorable.  With a full tutorial to go on, I think we'll enjoy passing the time making some of these in the car.  She also shows how you can use plain paper and colour the dresses to make a full and unique wardrobe.

Image & Idea: MeiJo's Joy

Wouldn't these be great to make into a mobile for your little girl's room when you get home?  What a great memento of your trip.


Remember this game.  Teach a new generation!

Instructions: (from Mash Magazine)

  1. Your friend writes M A S H at the top of the page. This, of course, stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House.
  2. Then she asks you the names of four boys you would like to marry, four careers you'd like to have, four cities in which you would like to live, and four cars you'd like to drive.
  3. Then, while you look away, she begins to draw a spiral when you give the go ahead.
  4. You say stop when the spirit moves you. She will then start at the top of the spiral and count down the number of lines that have been drawn.
  5. Using that number, she will start counting at the M in MASH and go all through your choices.
  6. Each time she comes to that number (6, in the case of our example), she crosses out the choice she has landed on.
  7. When there is only one choice left in each section, those are your prophetic answers.


I divided the jokes from Childhood Beckons into two lists and printed them out for my two kids so that they would each have their own unique set.  I dropped them in my nifty binder because we all know, kids love to tell jokes.

Image & Idea: Childhood Beckons

Unique Colouring Pages:

I thought these were beautiful, unique and detailed enough that they would keep the kids occupied for a little while.  They might not be for really little ones but the colouring pages from Dover Publications are amazing.  I printed a few for each of the kids.

Image: Dover Publications

Cootie Catchers:

Kids always love these because they can let their imaginations run wild with ideas to fill them with.  I know my two silly ones will get a kick out of making them and playing with them in the car and with family once we arrive.  This great template from Billy Bear 4 Kids is great to get you started.  It shows all the fold lines and has instructions.

Image & Idea:  Billy Bear 4 Kids

    Track your progress:

    One of my favourite bloggers, Cheri, from I am Momma - Hear Me Roar, shared this idea for road trip fun.  She had her kids create a visual timeline for the trip.

Image & Idea: I am Mama Hear Me Roar
    She had the kids colour a car and using an exacto knife she carefully cut two slits in the drawn car.  She then thread a long piece of packaging ribbon through the drawn car and drew a black line to represent every hour of their trip.  She attached the drawn car to the handles of the real car.  Every time an hour passed along their way, the boys were able to move the car to the next black line.  It was easy for them to see the progress and hopefully helped cut down on the inevitable question, "Are we there yet????".

    Happy travelling everyone!


  1. We have 5 kids, so travelling is always an ordeal. We download lots of audiobooks for their ipods. It's so much better than having them watch dvds. There's lots of sites where you can get them, but we found one that we like a lot because the stories are all original and they're free. This is the link if anyone is interested.

    1. Thanks Duncan! Our whole family loves books but we've never tried audiobooks. Great suggestion!

  2. This is great, I am so happy to find ideas for someone older than 2. Thanks.


  3. Hi Wendy,

    I'm glad you found these helpful. It was amazing how occupied these kept my kids. They actually found their travel binders I made the other day and it was like Christmas for them. Time to put them back in the car.


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