We LOVE road tripping. Especially with our kids. And we do a lot of different things to keep them entertained during those long hours in the car. But sometimes, they just need a quiet activity to do on their own. We always travel with a bag full of electronics (our MacBook Air, iPad, 2 iPod touches, 2 iPhones, etc), but we’re really hesitant to just hand them out to the kids. For one thing, we view time in the car as family time. If our kids have their heads stuck in video games for 4 hours (and they would if we let them!), we’d miss out on all the fun that happens while we’re cruising down the highway.
Another reason we’re not big on electronic games is that they make our kids GRUMPY. For real. Thirty minutes on the iPhone and our kids are a hot mess. So, we bring electronics, but we use them VERY sparingly. Instead, we ALWAYS bring these five things with us when we’re road tripping as a family:
1. The Lego box of awesomeness! Our kids got these as a gift from their aunt Natalie right before our last road trip. WE WILL NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM AGAIN. Seriously, best things ever! P.S. We like to hit up the Lego store and buy a cup of random Legos for trips… they will lose a lot of them in the car and you don’t want it to be a special Lego that goes to a set! (You can find a tutorial here)
3. Activity books. I check the dollar section every time I go to Target. They have new stuff every few months. And I like to hit up the Dollar Store as well. If you see a Cracker Barrel, they always have a rack full of awesome (cheap) activity books too! You can never have enough activity books! Note: I like to find the $1 books because my kids get bored with them before they finish. In the past, when I’ve bought giant books, the same thing happens.
4. Sketch books + crayons. Never leave home without them! Our kids LOVE to draw and they usually knock out an entire sketch pad in one road trip!
5. Actual books. Since two out of the three kids can read, bringing along a small library is always a good idea. We usually let them pick what they bring, but I prefer it to be chapter books, which hold their interest much longer than picture books! Some of their favorites are the Cam Jansen series, Captain Underpants, and all the Reader Books. Before our last road trip, I made a quick run to the thrift store and picked up several books for 25 cents each! When we got home, we just donated them to the library.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that help us support our family!