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Traveling With Children

Angie Fletcher, South Central Region, Human Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension


All of us have heard the familiar phrase, "Are we there yet?" from children who are bored from sitting for what they perceive as an endless amount of time in a vehicle, or are so excited about their destination they just can't wait!

Parents often overlook travel time as an opportunity to interact with their child(ren). What better opportunity to spend some quality time? For most, it is a question of ideas for what to do with their children during drive time. Following is a list of suggested activities for traveling with children. (These activities should only be done with the adult not responsible for driving.)


  • Bubbles: Keep some bubbles in a non-spill container in the car, and blow some for baby (even the other children like this!) when someone else is doing the driving. This calms a baby down. Tiny bubble containers sold for weddings are fun too.
  • Read a good picture book: Even very young babies will respond to a good book. You don't have to read the entire story (especially if you yourself are prone to car sickness) simply hearing your voice as you point to objects in the pictures in the book will occupy the time.
  • Play classical music:  Studies have indicated that classical music may boost baby's intelligence.
  • Peek-a-boo: This classic game is perfect for the car.
  • This Little Piggy: As long as you're stuck in the car, might as well kick your shoes off!
  • Where is your nose???: An older baby can practice learning all the parts of the body. Ask them to show you where they are starting with their nose. Then help them find their head, mouth, cheek, ear, chin, hand, foot, tummy, etc.
  • Surprise packages: Prepare ahead with paper bags of items to be given out every 25, 50 or 75 miles-marked on a map with the location, it takes a little bit of prep to do this but it really helps young children. In each bag put a wrapped item-usually a small toy. Then in some of the surprise packages you can add juice or a snack, stickers and a piece of paper, or something pertaining to the trip you can talk about.
  • Aluminum foil modeling:  Give everyone a sheet of aluminum foil. Have them mold it into anything they want: animal shapes, balls, jewelry, crowns, etc.
  • Pipe cleaners: Pack a new bag of multi colored pipe cleaners and let their imaginations run wild!
    Cookie sheet magnet board:  Use an old cookie sheet and a collection of ABC magnets. Children can work on putting the letters in order or identify beginning sounds.
  • Name the clouds:  What do they look like??? Find as many different shapes as you can.
  • Tell Jokes:  Take turns telling silly jokes.



Last Updated 05/05/2009









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