While traveling with your preschooler, you’ve probably heard him say, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” more times than you can count. Being stuck in the car or on a flight might not seem like the most stimulating activity, but it is possible to engage your child’s mind and creativity while on the road.
Below are some screen-free toys and games to keep your child happy and entertained, no matter how long the flight or car ride.
1. Travel binder
Travel binders provide hours of fun, while keeping art materials contained and easily accessible. Fill a binder with various printables, such as educational activity sheets, coloring pages, mazes or iSpy pages. Don’t forget to include a pouch with pencils, crayons, markers and stickers.
Give your child a deck of cards and encourage him to make up his own game or sort the cards based on number or color. Kid-friendly games, such as Go Fish or Memory, are also fun and teach important skills like taking turns and concentration.
3. Vacation journal
Create a vacation journal with your child and encourage him to draw pictures of things he sees from his car seat. Avoid giving direction, and allow his creativity and imagination to go wild. If age appropriate, ask him to write a few words to describe his anticipations or reflections from the trip. Invite him to share his journal entries with you.
4. Kid-friendly camera
Give your child a kid-friendly camera and allow him to take photos of anything that interests him. He’ll love observing his surroundings through the camera lens, while also building self-expression and creative thinking skills. After your vacation, print the photos and add them to his vacation journal.
5. Interactive books
Interactive books are great during long trips, because they help stimulate your child’s sensory awareness and will keep him engaged as he actively participates in the story. Good books for infants and toddlers include Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia and Where is Maisy? by Lucy Cousins. For older preschoolers, read Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson or Can you Make a Scary Face by Jan Thomas.