7 Must Have Activities for Traveling with Kids

I love to travel. Always have and always will. I identify as a ‘homebody’ who loves to explore! Prior to having kids, my husband and I spent more weekends traveling than we did staying home. After having three babies in under two years, we traveled much less. And instead of a trip to a beach, we considered a weekend in Iowa (at our parents) as an exotic vacation. But now that our kids are 5, 5 and 7 – we have restored our days of adventure and are instilling the travel bug in our kids!

Set Reasonable Expectations

The number one piece of advice that I have (if you are embarking on a vacation with your little ones) is to set reasonable expectations… ie: DON’T PUSH THEM TOO HARD. If the kids start to meltdown, it’s time for a break. If the kids are exhausted at the end of a long day… go back to the hotel. Scheduling downtime on vacation is just as important as scheduling fun. Now for how to keep them entertained while traveling from point A to point B whether it be via plane, train or automobile!


Pixel Art: Best for ages 4+ | This is hands down one of my very favorite activities for kids of all ages. My daughters and my son all LOVE doing this. Best part? It’s mess-free and takes a LONG time to complete a page. Win/win. My daughter has this one.

Paint By Sticker: Best for ages 4-9 | We love this for the same reasons as mentioned above – mess-free and takes a long time! My son has this one and it is one of his very favorite activities.

Melissa & Doug Lace & Trace Activity Set: Best for ages 3-5 | This is great for younger kids and they have a variety of objects (from animals and cars to unicorns and princesses). We have the Disney Princess set and it has been well loved through the years! Here is an animal set that is super similar.

Scratch Art: All three of my kiddos got these for Christmas this year and they have been a huge hit. We will definitely be using them when we travel!

Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad: Best for ages 5-10 | This is great for kids who love to draw. Each of my kids has one – and so far we have not had to replace the batteries. It’s fun for travel – or for at home. We have this one.

Travel Bingo: Best for ages 4+ | Choose among four great travel themes (signs, country, town and city, vehicles) on eight double-sided cards. We have this set

Books: Sometimes the best thing is to buy some new books and save them for the trip to make them extra exciting. The Who Is (Who Was); What Is (What Was) series is amazing! They are geared towards children and are super educational, but fun and easy reads! We love this set! These are readable for 1st-5th graders; and enjoyable for kids of all ages to listen to.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention snacks. I always pack lots of snacks (non-messy snacks). Some favorites are: granola bars; popcorn; dried blueberries; fruit (grapes, blueberries, raspberries, apples); cheese + crackers.

We love using a multi-compartment container that can be reused and that’s easy to travel with! This set is very inexpensive; or we also have (and love) these.

The above items work well in both the car or for flying. We would love to hear what other must have activities you take when you travel. Bon voyage!

Alisa Sleep
Alisa was born and raised in Iowa before attending Arizona State University. She then lived in Chicago, Georgia and Florida before settling in Madison. From her nomadic lifestyle grew a love for the beach, as well as a fondness for spicy food, sushi, white wine, southern charm, Diamondbacks baseball and idyllic ocean sunsets. Alisa and her husband, Joe, are parents to Ava Mae (August 2012) and twins, Nora & Jacob (March 2014). Alisa is a work-from-home mompreneur with a passion for business, fashion, fitness, community and all things mom. When she’s not enjoying time at home with her family, you can find her sweating it out on the tennis court, training for the next big race, pinning her heart out on Pinterest and exploring Madison with her little ones (and sweet Boston Terrier, Peaches) in tow.


  1. Thank you for these awesome ideas! We are taking a road trip soon and some of these I am not familiar with so this is VERY helpful!


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