Whether you are set to embark on a 12 hour road trip or just a short trip across town, you may be looking for screen free ways to entertain your little one while in the car. As effective as the iPad or tablet may be in entertaining your child for hours on end, consider investing in some of these screen free toys or activities for your next car ride:

Find It

This is an activity that will grow with your child. For the little ones, have them simply flip and search through the beads to find objects, as they get older tell them what object to find, or time them and see how long it takes them to find certain objects. There are also a few themes available to always keep it fun and interesting!

Coloring & Writing Activities

These Water Wow books or a writing tablet are great ways to keep your little one entertained, while also practicing some fine motor skills! These activities can easily be completed independently or together. I like the Water Wow books because it is a mess free way to color, add water to the pen and you are all set. With the writing tablet, have your child draw something they see outside, an activity they are looking forward to when you reach your destination, draw a portrait of a sibling or parent, write a story, etc. – the possibilities truly are endless!

Magnetic Toys

Believe it or not, there are SO many options out there for magnetic travel toys. You can choose from puzzles, to dress up clothes to Tangrams. Magnets are a great idea for a road trip, because they will stick to their surface and won’t (or shouldn’t) fall all over the car. Find a magnetic activity that fits your child’s age and interests, as there are plenty of options!

Handheld Water Games

Remember those IMPOSSIBLE water games from when you were little? Well they are back and cuter than ever! This activity would be better for an older child because it requires strong fine motor and concentration skills. These games are the perfect size to travel anywhere with.

Scavenger Hunt Card Games

Cards are another compact travel toy that are easy to bring anywhere with you. This is also a great option for those road trips with multiple children, each child can get a different card to look at as they “hunt.” While this can be an independent activity for your little one, it would also be a really fun activity to get the whole family involved!

Lacing Toys

This is an activity that can be used differently depending on the age of your child. The littlest ones may simply explore and lace the string a time or two, while an older child will have more focus and be able to precisely lace in and out of each hole. Throw this in the diaper bag and you will always have an easy on the go activity!

Wikki Stix

This isn’t necessarily meant to be a travel activity, but it certainly works well as one. These wax sticks come in a variety of colors and adhere to one another so your little one can create and build on the go. These leave no mess (but may pick up on dirt or crumbs if dropped on your car floor) which make it a great option to keep those little fingers busy. Ask your child to create something in particular or let their imagination wander.

Erasable Doodle Book

One stop shopping! This erasable doodle book comes with watercolor markers and a compact book to color on. I like this option, especially for an older child, because your little one isn’t confined to ‘only’ a water pen, they can choose any color and really be creative.

Mamas, you do what you need to do when surviving a long road trip with your little ones. There is no judgment if iPads and tablets save your sanity, but it is nice to know there are other creative and affordable options out there!

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