Learning Activities for Kids in the Car, Plane, and Hotel

Educents Blog (7)With summer on its way, many of us will be taking advantage of the warm weather. This means road trips, hotel stays, plane rides and more! If you have kids, you have the added joy of finding ways to entertain them. I have recently had to do this quite a bit and being a homeschool family, I like these activities to be educational as well. Here are my tips:

In the Car

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Scavenger hunts, finding all 50 license plates, reading, workbooks, etc., can make car trips more pleasant for the whole family!

Now that we’re a family of six, it’s easier and actually cheaper to drive rather than fly. Who wants to lug four carseats and all the other stuff needed to travel on a plane? The down side to that? There is more time to fill and keep them entertained.

One my kids’ favorite car activities is a scavenger hunt. I make my own but I’ve also found freebies on Pinterest. I include pictures so even my 2-year old can play. The kids look for things like motorcycles, limousines, road signs for food and coffee, police officers, cars with bumper stickers, traffic cones etc. This encourages my kids to be observant and enjoy their surroundings.

To work with ABCs, I print out a worksheet to have them find license plates from all 50 states. They are determined to find all 50 but at most we find about 45 -47 a trip. We have yet to find a Hawaii one…

I also try to include some new books to encourage reading, and new workbooks on subjects I want them to work on more. Keep in mind, it’s all how these things are presented. If you are excited, they will be too.

On the Plane

For flights, you want to lean towards things that will keep your kids quiet. Books are always at the top of my list; coloring books and sticker books for younger kids and work books for those that are in school. But, those activities don’t normally last long. Then what?

For younger kids, if you have a window seat, gel clings will entertain kids for hours, they can move them around and the pictures changes depending on the scenery. I always bring a Windex wipe to be courteous and wipe the window clean after my kids mess it up.

Doodle pads are a big hit with my kids. They can either draw, practice writing or practice math. I had to get each their own because they fight over them.

I also downloaded several educational apps on my phone as a last ditch effort! These apps are for kids that worked their way through everything else and were getting cranky.

In the Hotel Room

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Extra blankets, tape for tic-tac-toe, gel clings for the windows, etc., are all great ways to keep kids entertained while traveling.

When kids are cramped into a hotel room, things can get ugly very quickly. The first time I had kids in a hotel room, there were three and I was VERY unprepared. So unprepared that I allowed them splash around in the tub because there was nothing else to do. I thought, “Oh, I’ll turn on the TV or put in a DVD”… Well, the TV had only Nick, and guess what? No DVD player! The kids were tired of the toys from the car and sadly, they screamed about going to bed at 9pm (later than their normal time). I had nothing to show them on TV so they were not calm. We actually had hotel security called on us to make sure everything was OK! I learned my lesson! 

I now bring masking tape or paint tape and paper plates. I tape a Tic-Tac-Toe board on the floor and make Xs and Os on the paper plates and they play Tic-Tac-Toe. We can use the same stuff to make a connect-4 board. The tape can also be used to make road path for hot wheel cars.

Like I suggested for plane trips, we bring gel clings to decorate the windows in the room. The kids go crazy! We also bring a few balloons and let the kids toss them across the room. They love breaking the no-throwing-things-inside rule.

I bring extra blankets. We normally request with two queen beds. So, we put a blanket on the floor between the two beds and use the others to make a fort.

Remember: Educents has many printables you can take no matter how you are traveling. New activities will always catch a kid’s attention, even if only for a little while.

What do you do to entertain your kids on the road?

ME airbrush2Danielle is a homeschool mom of 4, Navy Wife and Blogger. She has a passion to help others save time, money and their sanity. She blogs at The Frugal Navy Wife. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.