Many parents have come to rely on screens to pacify their little ones during car and plane rides, even short ones. It has become the norm.
Times are changing yet again, though. A low-tech childhood, complete with low-tech travel, is making a comeback.
If you are looking to travel screen-free with your kids, you have come to the right place!
Older kids are often easier to please when it’s time to travel. Travel activities for toddlers and preschoolers can be a bit more difficult to come up with, though.
Below is a list of fun travel activities for your kids! Many activities are “no purchase necessary”, but for long trips it’s always a great idea to present your young children with something new and exciting.
So, if you’re nervous about traveling with your little ones or if this isn’t your first rodeo and you are looking forward to a little less, “Are we there yet?“, you have come to the right place.
Travel Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Planning ahead is essential for any trip, especially with little ones in tow. Understanding your child’s interests and planning activities and toys to bring based on those can be helpful.
So, take some time before the trip to notice any intense interests or play schemas you can build off when choosing what you will be bringing.
One simple item that makes screen-free car travel easier and helps facilitate many activities is a car seat activity tray. We purchased the one linked for our toddler prior to a 16 hour road trip and then kept it around for local trips since she enjoyed it and was getting so much use from it.
Below is a compilation of travel activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
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- I spy (also great for language development)
- Alphabet game (Find thing out the window that start with every letter of the alphabet)
- Singing nursery rhymes
- Out the window scavenger hunt
- Board books/books
- Legos or Duplos in mesh bag
- Give child a map of the route with points plotted out
- Bring snacks that are new to them
- Dual-Sided Dry Erase Board Set with Bright Crayons
- My First Crayola Mess-Free Marker and Paper
- Color Wonder Mess Free Toy Story 4 Coloring Set
- Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Pad & Markers, Thomas and Friends
- Dry Erase Activity Center
- Water Wow Set
- Book bin
- Magnetic drawing board
- Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win Memory Game
- HABA Town Maze Magnetic Game
- Hoyle Fun Pack Kids Card Games
- Go Fishing – Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere Game
- Briarpatch Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game
- Melissa & Doug On-the-Go Crafts – Felt Friends
- Travel Toddler Busy Board
- Melissa & Doug Tape Activity Book
As a safety note, loose objects in the car can become projectiles, which is a great reason not to give into unsecured tablets while traveling. Games, books, and other activities pose a lesser injury threat, however still present.
Take care to make sure unused items are stored safely away. Taking a storage caddy to keep unused books and toys in can be helpful for safety, as well as help you stay organized.
It is also extremely important to keep the activities you give to your child within the age specifications.
Limiting screen time while traveling might end up being easier and more fun than you think!