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Let’s be honest, traveling with the kids can be daunting. The amount of time we can go before we hear those dreaded 4 little words, “Are we there yet?”, is a running joke with my husband and me. Can we make it an hour? The journey may not all be fun and games, but I promise you happy family memories can be made with some preparation. And, preparing yourself doesn’t have to break the bank either. Here is my family’s tried and true list of 13 Travel Games for under $15 to entertain your kids (and you) on your next family trip.
Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is still king in our car, but little eyes can only stare at screens for so long. These travel games are also handy for those times when we’ve forgotten the iPad charger, which has happened more than once. The kids actually don’t mind being unplugged…sometimes. The games are great for upcoming travel to grandma’s house. Or, save them for the perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays. Just travel prepared people! That’s all I’m saying.
1.License Plate Game
We love this game from Melissa & Doug, especially when we drive to North Carolina from Florida and are trapped in the car for 12 + hours! Once we saw 34 different state’s on license plates. It’s actually entertaining for the driver because it gives them something to do when the ride gets monotonous. It’s a geography lesson too. What’s the capital of North Dakota? And, surprisingly we’ve seen Hawaii! Still scratching our heads about that.
2. Travel Bingo
Call me old fashioned but I loved playing this game when I was younger, before iPads and DVD players. I remember sitting in the back of our station wagon with my sister and desperately searching for a silo or a cow as we drove up I-77. With no seat belts on. Why would we wear seat belts?! It’s still a lot of fun and a great way to get the kids to look out of the window.
3. Table Topics Kids
Do you ever have this conversation?
Mom: How was your day?
Kid: Good. (End of conversation)
I do all the time. I like to spring something on my kids called the “art of conversation” while they are captive in the car or dining out. It’s easier said than done so this travel game of Table Topics is a fantastic way to break the ice and make conversation a game.
Even a 3 or 4 yr old can play this game. The younger ones might need a little help but, it’s a great way to pass the time in the car or when you want to savor your meal instead of inhaling it. And for little hands, this card holder has been a lifesaver.
Melissa & Doug have a great assortment of wooden toys that I love. This Hangman game is always in our travel bag because we can all play. Even the driver can shout out letters from the front seat. My only complaint, the blocks can be a little difficult to turn and don’t lose the pen!
6. Wikki Stix
This is another all-age crowd pleaser. Wikki Stix are waxy sticks that you can bend and mold into whatever your imagination desires. They are great to throw in your purse to entertain your kids at dinner too.
7. Scratch Art
Scratch away and reveal a rainbow of colors and patterns. It can get a little messy if it’s in your car but if you are traveling by plane, who the heck cares? It’s entertaining.
Kanoodle is a 3-D puzzle game that will entertain my kids long enough to enjoy a whole meal and have a glass of wine (or two). And the best part is, it’s a mind stimulating game. Yes, the kids are using their brains and they don’t even know it. Bwhaa haaa (insert evil laugh).
9. Travel Etch-A-Sketch
It’s easy to handle for little hands and it’s a fun way to write secret messages or just doodle. Travel Etch-A-Sketch, has been a member of our family since age 2. And it never dies or needs batteries.
Checkers is a classic game for kids to learn so they can show grandpa how it’s done when you meet him at Cracker Barrel, on the tabletop version. The little pieces will get lost even though they are magnetic. Know this in advance and you’ll be fine.
11. D is For Doodles
Learn some clever ways to draw all sorts of animals just starting with a letter of the alphabet. It’s fun for the whole family and kept us occupied and not fighting in the car for 30+ minutes. Score!
12. The Coloring Book of Cards and Envelopes NATURE
This is one of those intricate coloring books that’s all the rage these days. I love this one because you are coloring cards and envelopes. While you are on your journey you can send a letter to grandma or a pen pal along the way (stamps not included). Everyone loves getting snail mail.
13. Rubik’s Cube
It’s taken me 25 years and I still can’t master the Rubik’s Cube. Apparently it can be done and my kids are determined to figure it out. I love how it keeps their hands and their brain busy.
Thanks to Amazon for having everything I need with a press of a button. Sanity saved! There are affiliate links in this post.
Safe travels this holiday season!