Packing the Fun: Activites and Games for Traveling Families

Despite a longing that my kids observe the world around as we travel through it and my feeling that they should have a taste of how boring those long plane and car rides were for us as kids, I’m the first to admit that an iPad or Kindle Fire is essential to my family’s travel packing list. You know the saying, “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child?” Well, at times those devices sure do elevate our happiness level and everyone benefits!

Nonetheless, we need other options for kids’ entertainment and enjoyment while traveling and I have some suggestions for you. Here are some of my favorite things to take along on our family vacations. This picture is truly of my floor, today, as I am packing for our upcoming trip. If possible, I like for the kids to carry most of these things in their own backpacks so they have access to them during down time.

Travel Activities and Games for Kids

Art supplies: These will vary depending on the age of your children. These days we bring sketchbooks, watercolor paper, watercolor paints, colored pencils (and a sharpener), pencils and pens.

Journals: We keep a family travel journal and each kids also gets her/his own.

Playing cards: More than one deck. Can’t agree on a game? Hello solitaire!

Activity books: Sudoku, Hangman and good ol’ Mad Libs. Sticker books, word searches and dot-to-dot are great for younger kids. Adult coloring books are fun, too.

Magnetic games: Goplay makes some great ones. Bingo, Four in a Row, Checkers…

Pocket Yam Slam: Similar toYahtzee but with chips instead of score cards. Speaking of which….

Yahtzee!: Just bring the score cards and some dice in a bag. You don’t need that noisy red cup!

Puzzles: Tangrams or On the Dot for example.

Travel Boggle: I think it might actually be a key chain—it’s so small. Get out your reading glasses.

UNO: I can’t begin to guess the miles this deck has on it.

Spot It!: Good card game for younger kids, too.

Sumoku: Fun math game. (Similarly, Bananagrams is a good, compact word game.)

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’d love to hear about your family favorites!