Top 7 ways to keep your kid entertained while travelling

Travelling on a plane

Holidays are always exciting and often filled with adventure, an often too short spell where families spend some quality time together. But ask any parent what they are least looking forward about their holiday and you’ll likely find yourself on the receiving end of a horror story involving travelling and young children. Making sure you don’t miss your train or having to go through airport security is tough, add in a grumpy kid and confined spaces and tempers may start to fray.

So, we have put together a list of the top ways to keep your kids occupied and happy, whether you are going on a road trip or flying on a long haul flight. Vacations should be a time to relax and unwind, makes sure you have at least a few of these activities prepared the next time you travel, you’ll thank us.

The best ways to keep your kids entertained while travelling

If you are looking for the best ways to keep your kids distracted and entertained while travelling then you must try the following the best ways to get more benefit with ease:

1.    Download some audiobooks

2.    Bring along a picture book about your destination

3.    Bring colouring books with you

4.    Play games

5.    Download some cartoons or kids shows

7.    Keep toys handy

8.    Pack a surprise 

Road trip

Download some audiobooks

Audiobooks are a really great way to pass the time and keep your kids distracted. Having a couple of audiobooks of their favorite stories or – better yet – a new story by an author they like can make the hours fly by.

The great thing about audiobooks vs regular books is that kids (or adults) who are susceptible to motion sickness can still enjoy them. They also require less concentration which means that they may nod off to sleep.

I am particularly fond of audiobooks as they let the kids wonder off into a world of imagination, and if you pick something like the Harry Potter series, can be fairly enjoyable for me too.

Just make sure that if you are travelling by public transport you pack earphones and a headphone splitter if you have more than one child. I also recommend downloading the audiobook to your device, rather than relying on streaming services. This alleviates connectivity issues and any potentially costly mobile data charges if you are travelling in a foreign country.

Bring along a picture book about your destination

One of my fondest memories is of my gran reading “Katie’s Picture Show” to me, it’s about a girl who wonders off in a gallery and climbs into various paintings. The artwork is absolutely fantastic and turned what might have been a boring visit to the National Gallery in London into an adventure as I could recognize some of the paintings from the book.

Some other ideas could be “Paddington Bear” if you are going to go past Paddington station (where there is a statue of him), or “Balto” for New York (again there is a statue in Central Park).

Bringing along a story or picture book about the place that you are going to be visiting might take a little bit of researching on your side but is a great way to get your kids excited while also being educational.

Bring colouring books with you

Having a simple drawing pad or some coloring books with you can help keep your kids engaged. Some simple crayons can keep them entertained for some time on a road trip. If you are using those thin, floppy colouring in books and won’t have a table to press on then bring along a clipboard to make things easier.

I prefer crayons as they don’t require sharpening and are less messy than pens, but some supervision may be required.

Aside from filling the colors in pictures or drawing something on the drawing pads, you can ask them to draw a story in picture. This can help them in being more creative.

As a bonus, having paper means that you also now have access to a bunch of simple games like “noughts and crosses” or “Pictionary”. For more simple games that you can play with just a pen and paper, click here.

Play games

There are plenty of games which you can play with your kids while travelling. If you are going on a long trip then you can bring some cards or dice with you (“Uno is a family favorite”). But some of the best games that you can play with your kids don’t require anything, such as “I Spy…” or “20 questions”. Another favorite of my parents when I was a child was the “Silent challenge”, where the last person to make a noise would get a prize.

iPad Close up

Download some cartoons or kids shows

While I am an advocate of limiting screen time for children (which is ironic as most of my day is spent in front of a screen), I will grudgingly admit that this list would not be complete without some sort of digital entertainment.

A lot of people already have an iPad or tablet, download some kids shows from Netflix or load on their favorite series and you’ll have hours of entertainment. Bonus points if you pair this with an inexpensive tablet holder for the car such as this one to create a low cost, portable, but highly effective entertainment system (Provided you are travelling by car of course).

Just make sure that you pack a USB adapter if needed and a long enough power cord to keep everything topped up. Like audiobooks, you may also want to bring along some headphones for your kid if you don’t want to listen to their show.

Keep toys handy

If you are travelling with kids then you should definitely bring a small bag of toys with you. Let them pick out a few favorites to bring with them and pack a few that you think they will want to play with. Try to avoid anything with lots of small pieces that could potentially get lost while you are travelling.

Pack a surprise 

One tip that can really make a holiday special is to bring a surprise present for your kid. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, but kids love surprises and it will make the journey far more exciting if they have something new to play with.

Looking out a plane window

So there you have it, our top 7 ways to keep your kid entertained while travelling. We hope you found it useful and have a great trip with your kids.

If you have any questions or suggestions on what else to add to this list let us know in the comments below.