Traveling With Children By Car

With summer here, many families are taking vacations, even if they are only short day trips.  Here are some things parents and children can do to help their traveling time be more pleasant.

When traveling by car:

1.  Take along toys that teach and inspire quietly.  Before your trip, take all the toys you plan on bringing into a small confined space (a bathroom is good).  Play with each toy as you picture your children playing with them.  Ask yourself if they will throw this toy, will the other children fight over it, will it cause yelling or crying?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep these toys at home.

2.  A variety of CD’s, books, and movies.

3.  Jumbo wooden beads, flash cards, and stickers are good to take along.

4.  Magnetic board games or make one with an inexpensive cookie sheet and a variety of magnets.

5.  Take toys that are “self-contained” and travel easily.

6.  Paper, crayons, markers – You know your child best, this may not be appropriate for all children to do in a car. **If bringing crayons, please make sure they are put away where they won’t melt.  The crayons that are left lying on the seat will melt and ruin the car seat.

7.  Small flannel board and felt pieces.

8.  The children can make a travel diary of their trip. For younger children they can draw pictures and the older child can write about it.

9.  For older children play word games – give your child a long word such as management and have them list all the smaller words that they can make using the letters in that word.

10. Also, for older children – save Trivial Pursuit cards and bring along and you can question each other.

11. Healthy snacks and water.

12.  Stuffed animals, dolls, or puppets.

13. For long distant car trips (we moved and drove from Massachusetts to California) have a small map of the USA and see if you can find a license plate from each state.

14. Quiet Activity Books – These are books that you can purchase or make which usually has several things your child can do – lacing, buttoning, matching, zippering, snapping, and buckling.  These blogs have some great ideas for quiet books:,, and