Car Games for KIds

If you’re traveling with a little one (my biggest little one, M, is almost 5), you know that it really helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make the trip enjoyable for everyone.
Recently, we took our longest car trip to date: 8 hours.  And let me say, 8 hours (even if broken up!) is a long time for a preschooler to stay entertained.  But, with some cheap pre-planning, it actually turned out to be a super fun time with no minimal whining! Here are some of our favorite car games for kids.
I picked up a red cardboard box at Target’s dollar spot.  It fit perfectly in the backseat, between M and G’s  carseats.
car activities
 The first thing I did was to fill some activity bags.
These zippered pouches are a dollar at Wal-Mart and hold quite a bit.
Here’s what were inside:
1. Dollar Tree journal, stickers, and box of new crayons
2. Dominoes (fun for the hotel, too!)
3. Fix-it Kit with Dollar Tree eye glass repair kit, calculator, old cell phone (just to tinker with!)
4. Finger puppets from Ikea
travel activities
I also picked up some workbooks from Target’s dollar spot, along with a new pack of colored pencils and her monthly subscription to Highlights magazine (great for the preschool set!).
car games
 The night before (literally!), I made a quick I-Spy jar, repurposing an old spaghetti container with rice and tiny objects.  I laminated a picture of what was hidden inside and included an erasable marker she could use to cross off the objects she found.
travel games
And of course, we utilized the Leapster and the iPod, filling the iPod with lots of new (free!) educational games.  I always go to the App Store and search, “Educational free,” and go from there.
travel games
Everything fit snugly in the box and provided hours of fun.
She could independently access each activity, making her own selections and cleaning up when done.
travel with kids
Here are a few other travel activities we’ve tried and a funny car game to keep little ones distracted.

Written by Jill

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  • Reply Ticia

    We’ve used most of those before as well. I’ve also found the Tag reader to be a big plus in the car.

    February 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Jen

    Great ideas, Jill. Love the finger puppet idea. I made a dry erase book for my girls one year. I put crosswords, mad-libs, and word finds in plastic sheets and put in a binder. Worked out great for our car ride!

    February 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply Kelley [playgroundlaboratory]

    Fantastic ideas! We are preparing for a 15 hour drive here in the next few months, and this will be great! Thanks!

    Found your blog on Pinterest. Following via GFC

    February 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply JDaniel4's Mom

    These are great ideas! I will now be ready for my next road trip.

    February 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm
  • Reply Anonymous

    These are great! Thank you so much for posting this!

    February 27, 2012 at 2:28 am
  • Reply Amber

    Nice ideas! Thank you! Love your I Spy w/a laminated photo.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:18 am
  • Reply Peggy

    Can I ask where you found the tiny objects for the I Spy jar? That is a great idea.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:25 am
  • Reply Sarah

    Fabulous ideas!!

    I featured this on my blog today:

    🙂 Sarah

    May 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm
  • Reply Unknown

    Great ideas!! One thing we do for our 14 hour drives each summer is this: Before we leave I go to the dollar store, Target’s dollar spot, etc and I find little fun activities like a coloring book or plastic zoo animals, crossword book, etc and I wrap them up. I buy lots of these things because it’s a long trip. Each hour or so (sometimes every 2 hours) they get to open another present. That way they get excited about the next gift, and each gift gives them something new to do.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm
  • Reply Emily

    Great ideas! What’s your blog name?

    May 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm
  • Reply Becky

    I love the organization. I just throw a bunch of random stuff in a bag and have the kids rifle through it during the trip! Your way looks much more sane! thanks for the tips 🙂

    June 21, 2013 at 3:39 am
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  • Reply Sarah Dugo

    Especially love the rice and object “I Spy” game, very clever!

    Re-pinned to

    Thanks Sarah

    April 14, 2014 at 8:05 pm
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