5 things to keep children entertained when travelling that don’t involve screens

As you can probably guess from some of my latest posts here on the blog, we really do like to travel as a family! Whilst we have a car and get out and about using it pretty regularly, we are also pros when it comes to travelling on public transport too, with trains being particular favourites. 

Whenever I know that we’re about to embark on a long journey, I do some serious prep and think to myself “Now what would the children like to keep themselves occupied on a long journey?” Both Freddie and Sasha have Kindles now that they like to read on and play their weird and wonderful games on (Dr Panda ones are always given a massive thumbs up!), but Adam and I don’t like them to play on them for too long due to eye/neck strain. 

So what do we pack to keep them busy on journeys this summer where we’d otherwise be clock-watching and spending our time answering the inevitable “Are we nearly there yet?” questions with a resounding “NO!”? 

Here are 5 things that I’ll be packing for my 5 and 6 year old children when we travel to keep them entertained:

Word Search Books

A new one here! Now Freddie and Sasha can both read, these types of puzzle books have really come into their own, and they are both really proud of themselves when they manage to spot a word they recognise, especially if it’s a tricky backwards or diagonal one!

Card Games

After a rather rainy holiday in Italy earlier this year, we became rather au fait with a variety of card games that the children could play too. From the simple ‘snap’ to ‘Happy Families’ and some Peppa Pig ‘Pirate George’, we spent hours in our mobile home playing these games (and actually enjoying ourselves!).

Fidget Spinners

Fidget Spinners have been a big craze at my children’s school this year, and the obsession is showing no signs of waning any time soon. My two are mad about their’s, and I find they’re great for them to fiddle and play with on long journeys, when they might get restless and fiddle with other things that they’re not supposed to! They love to collect them in various colours, and swap and share with their friends. 

Story Cubes

These are something that I only recently discovered, when Sasha’s Godmother bought her some as one of her birthday presents. Each cube has different pictures on it, and by throwing them all they then have to create a story out of each picture that faces upwards. Great for the imagination and can be really funny too!

Eye Spy Checklist

I love to make these up for each of the children- a laminated picture list of things to spot on a journey. Perfect for when on the train, mine like to see how many tractors, horses, wind turbines (yes, really) they can spot on any one journey and put a mark next to the picture each time they spot one. The list can then be wiped clean and then used again on the return. Keeps them quiet for a surprisingly long time!

Do have any screen-free ideas for long journeys with children?

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  1. Emma
    July 28, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Good ideas Becky, thank you! I’ll be doing an eye spy checklist for the kids on our journey down to Devon at the end of August 🙂
    We like to play ‘I went to the shops and bought.. ‘ adding an item as each player takes a turn and remembering what the others added. The kids have changed the themes to things we found in the wood, at the beach etc. I’m also making travel tins to occupy them in the car and in restaurants… magnets, mini blackboard, lego etc. Hopefully a project I get done in time! xx

  2. Gillian
    August 13, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    We love our story cubes, so my 3 year old can play we reduce the number of dice in play to make it easier.
    We’re also loving the mini orchard games at the moment our fav, “theres a gull about”.

  3. August 15, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    Love these ideas – I need to use some of them for a holiday next week!

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