Image: Family Fun
We combed the web to find a rainbow of free travel activities for you and your kiddos — because when you’re strapped to a velour seat for an unnatural amount of time, entertainment for the little tykes is a gift to everyone within a 20-foot radius.
So fire up that printer for these fun free travel games — and hit the road without worrying about meltdowns, stocking DVDs, or hearing one more round of “Are We There Yet?”
1. Road Trip Maze from Family Fun. Pass by famous attractions as you navigate the red car from Chicago to the Santa Monica pier.
2. Backseat Boredom Buster from Family Fun. Print out these word scrambles, searches, and crosswords puzzles and staple together for a homemade booklet.
3. Whole Family Travel Games from Squidoo. No writing or reading required for old-fashioned games like “I’m Thinking of an Animal” and “20 Questions.”
4. Travel Memory Game from Crayola. In this game, kids have to look at the trip-centric images for two minutes, then put the page down and draw as many items as they can remember until the time is up.
5. Lines and Dots from Moms Minivan. Remember this one? Players try to colonize the grid by writing their initials in any square they are able to complete by taking turns connecting dots.
6. Scavenger Hunt from Free Puzzles. This road trip scavenger hunt will have your kids focused out the window for “something purple,” a “flagpole,” and a “baby.”
Image: Real Simple
7. Spot That License Plate from Real Simple. A design-friendly version of the classic game. Print out the chart and hand it out to everyone in the car. The first person to spot a plate gets the points. (Less-populated states earn higher points).
8. Mad Libs for Kids by Classroom Jr. Tons of printable Mad Libs geared to every season and a bunch of holidays. Basic vocabulary and grammar knowledge necessary, but laughing is for all skill levels.
9. Name Brand Car Search from About. Mark off names of cars — from Audis to Windstars — as you see them.
10. Road Trip Scrabble from Crayola. How many words can your child make out of the letters in A ROAD TRIP?
11. Tongue Twister Bee from Zoom. The first person says a tongue twister once like “Don’t drop double drum sticks,” the second person twice, and so on until someone gets twisted.
12. Tons of Tongue Twisters from Twister King. Find oceans of tongue twisters, organized by starting letter, in this collection of funny tongue twisters. Short three-word combinations are great for little ones.
13. Travel Detour from Crayola. Kids move their coins (or other game pieces) along the board by spotting horses, planes, and buses.
14. Story Starters from Classroom Jr. Bunches of story prompts related to holidays and seasons, like “Candy trees sprouted in my yard this spring and we … ” Let each kid finish the story or get the whole family in on the action.
Image: Craft Jr.
15. Printable Pinwheels by Craft Jr. Print out these colorful pinwheels, fold, and pin to a pencil eraser.
16. Highway Alphabet Soup by Family Education. Get the whole family involved in spotting objects that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
17. Roadside Bingo from Moms Minivan. Make these printable bingo cards last by slipping them into quart-size zipper bags and writing with dry erase markers. Four cards in both the “roadside items” and “vehicles and cars” categories.
18. Sign Maze Coloring Page from Crayola. To find their way home, kids have to watch out for the road signs.
19. Kids’ Travel Activity Book from Family Education. Print off this mini-booklet of 22 word games, puzzles, and mazes for gradeschoolers.
20. Pretty Postcards from Family Education. Map out a friend’s roadtrip based on the postcards with state abbreviations that she sends you.
Image: Lily & Thistle
21. Hand-drawn Paper Doll from Lily & Thistle. This adorable paper doll and two outfits are free, but you can also order a doll that looks like your child (complete with additional clothes and ‘All About Me’ pages).
22. Traffic Jam from Crayola. Match the colors of cars on the game page with real cars to move your car forward.
23. Airplane Coloring Sheets from Free Printable Coloring Pages. Dozens of jets and other flying aircraft for you tot to scribble on.
24. Make a Newspaper Boat from PBS Kids. Step-by-step drawings show kids how to make their own boat from a sheet of newspaper.
25. Hangman from Free Puzzles. Two games per sheet of this classic guess-the-word game.
26. Scavenger Hunt for Preschoolers from Moms Minivan. Can your toddler find a green car, a cow, or a bridge? All she has to do is check the box next to the picture.
27. License Letters from Crayola. When kids see a car of the same color, they write in the license plate number. Then they get to use the letters and numbers to make as many words and equations as they can.
28. Trip-Specific Activities from We Just Got Back. Whether you’re going camping or to Disney, this site has plenty of customized word searches and crosswords to get you in the mood.
29. Find the Difference from Family Fun. Nine things are different in the two beach trip pictures. Let your child study — and be silent for a while.
Image: Family Fun
30. Road Trip Word Scrambler from Family Fun. Unscramble these words you might hear on a word trip on this colorful printable.
31. Tic-Tac-Toe from Free Puzzles. Tons of different-sized tic-tac-toe grids to keep a couple of kids busy for a good half-hour.
32. Cars and Trucks to Color from Free Printable Coloring Pages. From double deckers to Corvettes, your transportation-lover will find a lot to love here.
33. License Plate Game for Canada & Australia from LoDingo. Children see how many different license plates they can find and then tick them off their list. You can work as a team in the car, or individually.
34. Dr. Seuss Activities and Printables from Seussville. Ten webpages of printable games organized by activity and Dr. Seuss book.
35. Dessert Puzzle from Family Fun. Cut out the nine colored pieces and assemble them to form a fun dessert landscape.
36. Hidden Pictures from Highlights. Get straight to one of the best parts of the magazine by printing off a bunch of Hidden Pictures before you take off.
We hope we will prevent a few “Are we there yet’s” — as well as save you a few bucks — with this long and winding list of free travel games.