Unusual Travel Game Ideas For Kids 2 To 5

Simple activities to amuse small children on long car trips. Try these ideas on your next road trip to amuse the kids.

Toddlers and preschoolers can be pretty difficult to keep entertained on long car trips. One thing you can pretty much count on is having to make a LOT of stops. Small children will need to get out and stretch their legs at least every 2 or 3 hours, and of course they will need frequent potty breaks/diaper changes and snacks. But for those stretches of time when you are actually rolling, here are some games and activities you can try to keep them amused:

Tiny Bubbles: for the smallest kids, mom can blow the bubbles; older kids can blow their own. See if you can get the mini bubble containers (party stores sell these for wedding favors), or regular-size ones will do, or you can even make your own soap bubble mix (1 part liquid detergent or baby shampoo to 3 parts water).

Puppet Shows: You can bring along some inexpensive hand puppets for the kids to play with (see if they can come up with their own puppet show!), or, for older kids, you can even have them make the puppets out of paper bags or old socks using magic markers to draw on faces, hair, etc. (I wouldn't get any more elaborate than that in the car-leave the scissors, glue, yarn, etc. for crafts at home.)

Find That Color: Call out the name of a color, then have the kids look for something, or a number of things, of that color that they can see out the window. Start with the easier colors (red, blue), then work up to the harder ones (purple, orange).

The Alphabet Game: There are several ways to play this. The easier one is to look for each letter of the alphabet in turn, on road signs or license plates. The harder way is to look for things beginning with each letter. In order to do this, you may need to be creative (and give the kids examples)-you can use adjectives like "a YELLOW house" for "Y" or verbs like "a car ZIPPING along" for "Z" or even, if you're desperate, articles like "A man" for "A". Or you can just take turns thinking of certain categories of things like animals or foods beginning with each letter of the alphabet without regard to whether or not you can see them through the window. (Unlikely in most cases, unless you are driving past a zoo or open-air market.) A slightly more elaborate version of this is the old jump rope rhyme "A my name is Amy" ("I come from Arkansas, and I like Apples""¦repeat with different names, places, foods for each letter).

Milestone Celebrations: Ahead of time, pick out a few milestones-major cities, or every 100 miles, or whatever you choose. Then, when each milestone is reached, have a "celebration"-blow noisemakers, sing a special song, and pass out snacks or tiny prizes. If you like, you can mark each milestone on a map (or maps) for the kids to look at, so they will have a sense of how far you are between each one.

With the help of some of these games, perhaps you can find a way to make those long trips less of an ordeal and even-believe it or not-a cherished family memory in years to come!

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