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101 Toddler Activities – Road Trip!

Having recently gone on two separate camping trips, I’ve had time to ponder what to do with that child crying in the backseat. Each camping trip was a five hour drive away from home, which was a bit much for our 17-month-old, even with a few stops. So I’ve collected these toddler activities road trip style!

I wish I could say our toddler always was this docile and playful on a road trip:

toddler activities road trip

But that was not the case! If I had researched car activities for 2 year olds in advance… we might have all been happier campers (at least, in the car!).

I decided I’d never been unprepared again on a road trip, so after getting home, I started brainstorming and googling ideas for our next trip. Here’s my handy list, I am losing no time sharing with you!

Fun and easy car activities for your next road trip

Toddler Activities Road TripHang soft toys from links within reach for interest, and so you can retrieve them easily when your baby throws them!

Sing. Bring a selection of CDs or make your own mix of songs on a CD or iPod to play for your kids!

Play the color game with cars or buildings. Just the sound of your talking will interest your child, and they may join in if they are old enough.

Traveling toys. Pack a special bag of “car toys” for the trip, include a few board books and sturdy, washable toys that can handle getting dropped over the side of the car seat. A lot!

Talk. Studies show that children aren’t being talked to nearly enough. On a road trip, you have a captive audience! So talk to your kids and let them talk to you! As them about specific details of what they look forward to. Ask what they see out their window. On the way home, ask what they enjoyed the most – they will have lots to say at this point because road trips and vacations are feasts for the eyes! Share your own ideas with your child – this builds their vocabulary!

A few crafty toddler activities for a road trip:

Count how many card, birds, cows you pass ( pick an object that is showing up with regularity and is familiar to your child.)

Create. Bring along quiet toys for restaurant stops – a crayon holder (I make and sell these on Etsy!) is great for keeping crayons in their place. These make for fun ‘trip surprises’ to bring out at the first pit stop.

Soap bubbles. Only for the brave of heart. I read this on a website, and perhaps if an older child or adult was in the backseat, this might be a good activity. Blow bubbles out the window or in the car… it’s just soap after all. (Your thoughts? Because I’m not sure I’d really do this one, but I might pack bubbles for rest stop fun!).

Stickers. Get a little notebook of paper for your toddler to apply stickers into during the ride. This is a good time to use up all those address label stickers. Or maybe buy stickers that have to do with your trip – if you’re going to the beach, find some fish and beach related stickers to engage your child.

Felt boards. Create your own felt board by gluing a large piece of felt to a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then give your child felt shapes to stick to the felt board. You can create your own shapes or buy some precut shapes! Soft, quiet fun for the car ride!

Great games to play in the car with toddlers

Stocking a few travel games is a win for everyone. There’s so many options for mess-free fun in the car with your toddlers and preschoolers. From magnetic games to wipe-off books and activities. Here’s a few ideas to get started:

Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Memory Game - Wooden Game Board, 7 Double-Sided CardsMelissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Memory Game – Wooden Game Board, 7 Double-Sided CardsMelissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 2-pk, Vehicles, AnimalsMelissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 2-pk, Vehicles, AnimalsMelissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 3-pk, Animals, Alphabet, NumbersMelissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads, 3-pk, Animals, Alphabet, NumbersMelissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Bingo Game - 2 Wooden Game Boards, 4 Double-Sided CardsMelissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Bingo Game – 2 Wooden Game Boards, 4 Double-Sided CardsNoah's Ark Magnetic Travel GameNoah’s Ark Magnetic Travel GamePeaceable Kingdom Preschool Write and Wipe Games to Go! Activity BookPeaceable Kingdom Preschool Write and Wipe Games to Go! Activity Book

Bonus: I found a lot of great traveling with children tips and ideas on Mom’s Minivan site.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of 101 Toddler Activities: Road Trip! Share your tips for traveling with toddlers! What are your favorite car activities?

Toddler Road Trip Activities

Have you checked out all 101 Toddler Activities I’ve collected?

Sharaylah

Monday 21st of August 2017

We LOVE the melissa and doug Water WOW books - they're reusable and just use water filled brushes so there's hardly any mess except maybe a few drips! They make some really cute themed ones but my toddler is really into the shapes and alphabet ones right now :)

Amy

Sunday 26th of January 2014

So odd. I was actually looking FOR rear facing toddler activities when I found this! Ha! We hve our 36in, 32 lb, 24 month old rear facing and a lot of the posts I see about toddler car activities don't work very well for RFing. Anyway..I appreciate your post (and that your child is RFing! ;)). I especially love your "talk" suggestion. Sometimes you forget to talk to your kids In the back seat (especially when they're rear facing!). A couple other things I found that I'm going to try out (for our 6 and 10 hour road tripa comig up) are: -glitter bottles (and maybe other "exploring bottles) -wrapped gifts, given out after a timer goes off (during a fussy period, ill ask her to sit quietly/calm down for -- minutes, set the timer and then give a present to unwrap after) -iPad movie (this will be on the last leg of our trip) -photo books (of the people we're going to see) -glow in the dark stars/objects velcrow to ceiling (for the night travel) -musical instruments (I plan to only give her a bag of small instruments - harmonica, maracas, tambourine - 10-20 minutes before a bathroom/gas stop. It will give her some time to make noise, but not too much time to drive me crazy ;))

And I love the idea to have bubbles T the rest stop. My daughter also loves to crawl around the front seats when we're parked, so that will be another rest stop activity :)

mary

Saturday 20th of April 2013

love your ideas. you might also consider window clings instead of stickers. i hate when stickers get everywhere and i can't remove them without them falling apart. i also take wooden puzzles on our trips

Julie Kieras

Tuesday 27th of January 2015

That's an awesome idea! Borrowing that one! :)

kelly

Wednesday 30th of January 2013

This will be perfect for my kids on our way to California. 12 hours in the car with 2 kids is hard but this will definitely make it easier!

Louise

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

about to embark on a 7 hr road trip from CA to AZ this weekend with myself (a single mother) & my 20 month old daughter. so glad i read this article...i'm a lil worried! we r gonna head out right after daycare/work at 4:30pm, stop for dinner after an hour or so, change her into pjs and hopefully she'll sleep most of the way! ha, wishful thinking! ;)

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