U.S. Markets open in 1 hr 24 mins

Avoid a Road-Trip Meltdown with These Kids’ Toys & Games

Madison Medeiros

Family road trips always sound like a great idea. After all, what’s better than listening to your favorite tunes as you hit the open road with your loved ones? In reality, though, going on a road trip with kids can turn into an utter nightmare if you don’t have toys and games to keep them entertained. We’re talking screaming, fits of tears, and more “are we there yet” questions than you ever thought possible.

But there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to packing the perfect road-trip activity bag for kids, starting with how portability and ease of use. Sure, tossing a coloring book in the back seat may seem like a no-brainer, but do you really want to risk getting marker stains all over your leather seats? We didn’t think so.

Related stories

Toys R Us Is Set to Relaunch -- but There's a Twist

Play-Doh Is Releasing New Popcorn & Pizza Play Sets Your Kids Will Be Obsessed With

These talking dolls may be spying on your kids

In addition to educational apps (if your kids are allowed to use tablets) and a collection of the best kids books, you’ll want to pack puzzles, interactive games, and mess-free doodling materials. That way, you can focus less on freakouts and more on how to make your family road trip enjoyable. Below, we’ve listed some of our favorites.

License Plate Map

Whether you’re road-tripping with kids across the U.S. or just driving for a few hours, you’re bound to see plenty of out-of-state license plates. Encourage your kids to look outside the window by giving them this wooden game from toymakers Melissa and Doug, in which they’ll match the license plates they see to a map. The best part? Your kids will learn about state locations and capitals!

Melissa and Doug children’s license plate game, $19.97 at Amazon

Boogie Board Writing Tablet

If you want to encourage your little Monet to create masterpieces without trashing the interior of your car, you’ll love this innovative LCD writing tablet. The Boogie Board was designed to feel like a paper notepad and includes a stylus for doodling and writing; it even syncs to an app so you can save, edit, and access all of your kid’s work once she’s finished.

Boogie Board Jot 8.5 LCD eWriter, $23.74 (was $29.99) at Amazon 

AquaDoodle Travel Doodle

While the Boogie Board is excellent, it may be more difficult for younger children to grasp the concept of saving and erasing their work. Thankfully, there’s another product that removes any intricacies: the AquaDoodle. This nifty travel set has a fabric exterior with two plastic panels, which house different colored sheets of paper, on the inside. To use, kids simply take a pen, which parents can fill with water, and doodle straight onto the panels, where their artwork will briefly come to life. Once the water dries, the artwork will disappear. It’s as simple as that!

AquaDoodle travel set, $21.99 at Amazon

Coggy Brainteasers

Puzzles are great, but you always run the risk of losing a piece (or ten) while you’re driving. The Coggy brainteaser puzzle, on the other hand, won’t go anywhere since its chain of gears is connected. Each set comes with a booklet of 40 challenges, varying in difficulty, for kids to recreate in either bright neons or black and white.

Fat Brain Toys Coggy brainteasers, $14.95 at Amazon

Magnetic Town Maze

Mazes are another great way to keep little ones’ minds active and engaged on long drives. With this STEM toy, kids will use a magnetic stick to navigate metal balls through town to align each ball with its matching garage. They’ll have to think critically as they encounter roadblocks and other obstacles.

HABA magnetic town maze, $20.99 at Amazon

Wikki Stix

You may be tempted to buy PlayDoh or putty before your road trip. Don’t! While these activities keep small hands busy, they’re sure to make messes and end up in every nook and cranny in your car. Spare yourself the mess and opt for Wikki Stix, which are straw-shaped items made out of wax and yarn and are much easier to clean. This travel set includes 144 sticks in a variety of bright colors, as well as an activity book to inspire little artists as they mold countless creations.

WikkiStix Traveler set, $14.01 (was $19.99) at Amazon

Etch a Sketch

Sure, there are dozens of brand-new toys on the market, but don’t discount the classics! Introduce your kids to one of your childhood favorites, the Etch-a-Sketch magic screen, and watch as they spend hours drawing.

Etch a Sketch, $12.95 (was $14.99) at Amazon

Magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe

While we’re on the subject of classic games, why not bring Tic-Tac-Toe into the mix? This transportable magnetic version will keep kids entertained while not wasting a ton of paper. And, because you don’t have to worry about the pieces flying off the board, you can even join the fun and pass the game to and from the back seat and the passenger seat. Why should kids get to have all the fun?

Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere Tic-Tac-Toe travel set, $9.99 at Amazon

Paint by Sticker Kids: Zoo Animals

The Paint by Sticker Kids book series is a fantastic choice for kids who want to create works of art while also doing puzzles. Kids will have to match sticker shapes with their corresponding numbers to create ten different zoo animals, including a peacock, elephant, giraffe, and koala bear. Once your kids have finished, you can tear out the pages to display their masterpieces.

Paint by Sticker Kids: Zoo Animals book, $7.96 at Amazon

You Gotta be Kidding!

Get to know your kids better with this interactive tell-all game, in which kids of all ages (yes, including parents) reveal the silliest, weirdest things about themselves by answering hundreds of family-friendly “would you rather” questions.

You Gotta be Kidding! book, $6.98 at Amazon

Happy travels!

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. 

Sign up for SheKnows' Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.