These budget friendly road trip activities for kids will help keep them entertained while on the road. No more “are we there yet” and more “let’s play!” without breaking the bank as you head out on an adventure.
Fun Budget Friendly Road Trip Activities For Kids
When it comes to traveling, we know it’s important to prepare early and get your travel schedule started before you start piling everyone in the car and heading to your destination.
It’s also important to keep in mind that kids need something fun to do because they get bored so easily. Especially on road trips! No one likes being stuck in the car for hours on end without anything to do.
Take a road trip through the midwest! Check out some of these best midwest vacation spots and the different sights you can see while you’re on the road!
Road Trip Activities for Kids That Aren’t Boring
Ready to take a road trip but stuck on road trip activities for kids? Things that can be done to keep them from being bored?
Check out this list of fun budget friendly road trip activities that will help keep the kids entertained no matter where you are headed to.
For young children, one of the easiest ways to keep them entertained is to supply them with coloring books! Coloring books can also be beneficial to older children as well when it comes to road trips.
To select the best: choose age-appropriate coloring books, supply the crayons and colored pencils, and let the kids get as creative as possible. More detailed coloring books are perfect road trip activities for kids who are older.
You may also like these fall coloring books for teens, adults, and older children.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good game of tic-tac-toe? Plus, all you really need is some paper and a few pencils. Tic tac toe can be a fun road trip activity for kids and they can play together in the backseat to see who can win the most games.
3. Watch Movies
Grab the iPad, tablet, or get the screen ready for the trip! Let the kids pick some of their favorite movies to watch while you set out on the road. A movie can keep them busy for at least an hour and it may even encourage nap taking in younger children!
4. I Spy
One of our most memorable road trip activities for kids was I Spy. Do you remember sitting in the car and playing I Spy with the family? As you are traveling in the car, each person can take part in the game trying to guess what has been seen as you pass through the different areas.
You can also purchase I Spy games that work perfectly for road trips. The books can be a fun way to play I Spy and will give the kids even more things to try and spy.
5. Crossword Puzzles
Buy crossword puzzle books and/or print some of the free crossword puzzles you can find online at home before leaving for the road trip. Not only can crossword puzzles be entertaining, but they can also be a fun and challenging activity that’ll keep them busy throughout the road trip.
Kids love to get creative and they love to draw. Before you head out on your road trip, grab some blank sheets of paper and some coloring crayons or pencils. This is a fun road trip activity for tweens and teens as well!
You can have the kids draw anything they want or you can give them ideas. When our kids were younger, we would give them something we had seen along our travels to draw and recreate. They loved the challenge and it was always fun to see how their pictures turned out.
Tip: For young children, a doodle board may be a good investment for your road tip. The boards are made specifically for drawing and they can draw directly on the board, erase it, and draw again. It’s a less messy and fun budget friendly travel activity.
Journaling can be a great way for children of all ages to stay busy while on a road trip. As the kids travel in the car they can write about their experiences, what they have seen on the trip, and more.
Journal prompts for teens or young children can be a great way to get them started. You can also just let them tell their own stories by letting them write about anything.
8. Play-Doh.. maybe?
While we don’t recommend slime for any trip, play-doh can be a fun activity for kids. If you go with the play-doh idea, be sure to get a plastic tray that kids can place over their laps. Kids can enjoy creating their own designs and shapes with the clay.
9. Sticker Books/Sticker Art
Sticker books can provide hours of fun for kids who love to play with stickers. You can purchase sticker books on Amazon or a local department store to take on the trip.
If you don’t want to purchase an actual sticker book, you can get those $1 stickers and a sheet of paper. Kids can place and get creative with the stickers while they are in the car.
10. Silly Putty
Silly putty is another fun product to let the children play with while in the car. It’s a sensory activity that can engage the senses and it’s a lot less messy than play doh. Take a newspaper and a blank piece of paper along with you so that kids can use the silly putty to transfer the ink words to the paper.
11. Make Beaded Bracelets
When you have older children between the ages of eight and twelve in the car, making beaded bracelets can be a lot of fun. You can purchase the bracelet kits or just grab a few bags of cheap beads and some string so they can create their own bracelets or necklaces.
12. Phone/Tablet Apps
If you don’t mind the electronics, you can let the kids play on the phone or tablet. It’s no secret that kids have short attention spans and with apps they can easily switch back and forth to play the apps. There are lots of age-appropriate and educational games and apps available to keep children occupied while they travel.
13. Twenty Questions
Play a good olé’ game of twenty questions! Come up with a list of questions before you even head out on the road trip to make it easier. You can also just have the kids come up with 20 questions on their own.
14. Card Games
If you have a deck of cards, the kids can enjoy playing assorted card games with the family. With the cards, the whole family can play War, Speed, Go Fish, Rummy, and much more.
You can also purchase a variety of different card games online or at your local store. Everything from Phase 10 to Skip-Bo is available and they make fun road trip activities for kids.
15. Listen to an Audiobook
Audiobooks can be both fun and educational making them a great activity for any road trip. Put an interesting and engaging audiobook in the car for your children to listen to in the car. Audiobooks were life saving when we wanted some road trip activities for kids that were more quiet.
16. Play Car Karaoke
If your family loves to sing and do karaoke, car karaoke can make a fun road trip activity for kids. Each child can take their own instrument or a mic and the whole family can sing along to the radio or music that you have brought with you.
When we traveled, we used various toys, objects, and utensils to come up with out own sounds and music. The kids loved it and said it was one of the best road trip activities for kids they had done.
17. Travel Bingo or Bingo Games!
Playing bingo is always a fun activity for kids and it’s something that can be done in the car. You can print the cards out online so that you don’t even have to buy them at the store.
Grab these free summer bingo cards and get ready for your summer trip!
18. Simon Says
You can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned game of Simon Says. Even though you are limited to the space of the car, a game of Simon Says will have everyone in the car laughing!
19. Magnetic Activity Books Make Fun Road Trip Activities for Kids
Give the younger kids one of those fun magnetic activity books. The book is magnetic and allows children to create different faces using colorful, fun magnets. You can also get those little activity books that allow you to move the small magnetic slivers with the pen.
20. Sensory Boards
Make or buy sensory boards for each child. These boards are perfect for younger children and can improve their fine motor skills. They are so fun to play with the kids can be entertained for hours. If you want some road trip activities for kids that are educational, I highly recommend these!
21. Printable Worksheets
Find fun printable worksheets or activity packs for the kids to do. You can find plenty of free options that are entertaining and full of unique activities.
When we take trips during the 4th of July, we grab this 4th of July activity pack and a few others to add to the collection.
22. Color by Number Books Make Road Trip Activities for Kids
Make coloring more of a challenge with color by number books. Even as an adult I love color by number books. These books will help your children follow rules while creating colorful masterpieces as they color the numbered sections.
23. Sticker by Number
In addition to color by number books, you can find sticker by number books that are just as fun for younger children.
24. Read Books
Let each child pick out a book that they’ll read during throughout the trip. It’s a great option when you want to have some quiet time in the car. It’s also a great road trip activity for teens and tweens.
25. Magnetic Letter Board
A magnetic letter board can be a fun way to help encourage children to spell words and sentences. It’s a great activity for younger children who are still learning how to spell various words and learn sounds.
26. Snack Fun
While it’s not necessarily a big activity, providing the kids with fun snacks to eat and enjoy is a great way to keep them entertained for at least 30 minutes. Snacks are also an essential with any trip you take with kids.
You can make fun shaped snacks so that the kids can play with their food as they eat it. Let them make Cheerio necklaces and more.
27. Busy Bags
Make busy bags for the kids to play with that include different items, including buttons, pipe cleaners, and other simple items. They can get creative with these interesting items and stay busy!
28. Singing Sing-Along Songs Can Be Fun Road Trip Activities for Kids
Put on some sing-along songs and have the time of your life with the kids. Sing with the songs for lots of laughs and good times.
29. Hand Clapping Games
Show your children how to play different hand clapping games like you did when you were a child. Don’t you remember how fun A Sailor Went to Sea, Down Down Baby, Miss Suzie, and others were? Learning these hand clapping games will make one of the best road trip activities for kids and they can play them on other road trips.
See a great list of fun hand clapping games at Fatherly. These really brought back some memories for us!
30. Action Figures
Pull out the action figures for the road trip. Kids can use their creative side and imagination to create different scenarios while playing with the figures. This is a great road trip activity for young children to do!
31. Barbie Dolls
The same thing goes for Barbie dolls! Let your kids play with action figures and Barbie dolls in the car to keep themselves entertained during the trip.
32. License Plate Game
Whenever we took a trip, one of our favorite road trip activities for kids was to play the license plate game. To play, throughout the trip, ask your kids if they can find a license plate with a specific state on it! The game keeps them looking until they find it or until you find a license plate for each state.
33. Create Paper Plate Masks
Give the kids paper plates and crayons or markers and encourage them to create a mask. They can hold the face up when they’re done, using it like a mask.
Who can go wrong with a good game of hangman? It’s a game we all used to play when we were young and bored. You can use a dry-erase board to play hangman in the car with the kids or just a simple piece of paper and a pen.
35. Sign Search
Similar to the license plate search, you can play a sign search game where the kids will look for specific signs, such as stop signs, one-way signs, and more.
36. Create Silly Songs
Ask the children to help you create silly songs to sing throughout the journey. It’s a lot of fun and the whole family can participate. As the kids help make the songs, an adult can write them down, and then everyone an sing the song.
37. Play with Felt
Bring some felt supplies and let your children play with them as they ride in the car. They will enjoy creating different things out of felt. You can also purchase felt craft kits.
38. Connect Four
Bring the game of Connect Four for the ride. It’s a fun game that requires quick thinking and the kids can set the game in the middle so that each of them can reach it.
39. Guess Who?
One of my favorite games when I was younger and it actually made one of the best road trip activities for kids that we did! If you have the space for it, a game of Guess Who can keep your older children entertained. It’s also a game they can play over and over to see who can win.
40. Color Rocks with Markers
Rather than painting rocks and making a mess in the car, supply the kids with markers and rocks to color them! They’ll have fun getting creative with their designs and it’ll be just one of the fun road trip activities for kids they can do during the trip.
41. Make Candy Necklaces
Provide the candy and string needed to help the kid make candy necklaces. Then, after they’ve made their candy necklaces, help them put them on! Throughout the trip, they can snack on the candy pieces.
42. Printable Road Trip Games
Find and print some easy road trip games that will keep the entire family entertained while out on the road.
43. See Through the Binoculars Activity
Let the kids use binoculars to see what they can find, such as birds sitting on tree branches or the animals in the fields. This is one of the best road trip activities for kids and gives the kids a chance to see things they might not notice in their every day life!
Road Trip Activities for Kids
Getting creative with road trip activities for kids can really be a sanity saver. Plus, the games and activities are fun so they’ll make the time go by faster while sitting in the car.
These are just a few fun road trip activities for kids that we have used as the kids grew up. It’s all about creativity and finding those Road Trip Activities for Kids that your children find fun.