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How to Keep Toddlers Busy in the Car on a Road Trip

If you’re the parent of a toddler, then you know that road trips are not always easy. It’s important to find ways to keep your little one entertained during long car rides, or else boredom will set in, – and that can lead to tantrums and frustration. Here are some ideas for keeping your toddler engaged on a road trip!

kid on the driver seat

Pack a bag of travel toys and dolls

You might think that the best way to keep your toddler occupied in the car is by playing their favorite songs on repeat and singing along with them. While this is certainly a good idea, there are other things you can do as well!

Bringing along a bag of travel toys and dolls like this L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls are an excellent way to keep your little one entertained on road trips. You can grab some from Amazon or at any local toy store, but here’s how we did it: We took some time off work on Friday afternoon and went to Target together (we have an official date night every week). We went into the toy aisle, where they sell all sorts of fun stuff for kids like stuffed animals and board games. We picked out some toys that looked interesting; I chose an airplane because it reminded me of my childhood days when I used to play with planes all day long (that was before smartphones existed!). My husband picked out a dinosaur because he loves dinosaurs! Then we headed over toward the grocery section, where they sell snacks like chips or candy bars, and voila! Our bag was complete!

Related Read: How to plan a Road Trip With Family

Use your imagination.

You can use your imagination to make up stories about the things you see on the road. Tell your child a story about the people in the car, or make up a story about what is happening at the next stop. For example: “I bet there will be lots of cows at this farm because we are driving through farmland right now.

Take an audiobook along for the ride.

Reading is a great way to keep toddlers busy in the car, but it can be hard to find time for it. If you’re driving long distances or don’t want to stop often for bathroom breaks, consider bringing an audiobook along for the ride. Not only does this help pass time faster–you’ll be able to listen while getting some quiet time yourself! You can also use this opportunity as an opportunity for bonding; if your toddler enjoys listening with you and wants more books after the trip (and they probably will), then they’ll have something else fun to do together when they get home.

Some other ideas:

  • Play music from your phone through speakers or headphones so that everyone hears it equally well, no matter where they sit in the car
  • Play games on smartphones or tablets using apps like Geotrax Tracks & Trains Set ($20) that allow kids’ imaginations to run wild as they build tracks around town/countryside scenes

Relatad Read: Essential Tips to pack for a Family Road Trip

Bring along a portable DVD player.

One of the best ways to keep your toddler busy in the car is with a portable DVD player. This can be something as simple as an old-fashioned boombox or CD player, but it’s important that you make sure that it’s compatible with your car’s stereo system. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a car charger for your child’s battery and an adapter for their DVD player (if necessary).

Be prepared with a bag of snacks.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your toddler busy in the car, then it’s time to make sure that you have snacks. Not just any old snacks, — the right kind of snacks.

  • They should be healthy and nutritious. You don’t want them eating junk all day long!
  • They should be easy for toddlers to eat with their hands (or whatever else they might use as utensils). Your kid shouldn’t have trouble opening bags, unwrapping things or getting food out of containers without making a mess all over themselves or their car seat.
  • If possible, try not to have any messy ingredients like nuts or seeds in these snacks because those can get stuck between teeth easily when kids are chewing on them; we don’t want our little ones getting cavities at such an early age!

Related Read: Road Trip Games for Kids

Have open-ended activities planned in advance

  • Have a plan for what to do when the kids are bored. If you’re planning a road trip with children, make sure that there are some open-ended activities planned in advance. This can help prevent boredom and keep everyone engaged on the drive.
  • Make sure your child is comfortable and safe before heading out on the road. It’s important for parents to make sure that their kids are buckled up correctly so that they don’t get hurt during an accident or if there is an accident while driving!
  • Have a plan for what to do if your child gets sick during travel time (such as having tissues or hand sanitizer available).
  • Plan ahead so that everyone knows what will happen if someone gets tired while traveling (such as taking frequent rest breaks).

Your child won’t have time to be bored if you plan ahead

Planning ahead is key when it comes to keeping toddlers busy in the car on a road trip. You’ll want to make sure you have everything you need before you leave so that when that meltdown starts, there isn’t anything else for them to get upset about.

Planning ahead will also help prevent arguments with your partner and kids over things like whether or not they get an extra snack or if they can watch TV now instead of later (or ever).

There are lots of ways to keep toddlers busy in the car during a road trip; you just have to think outside the box!

  • Play games. You can play I Spy or Alphabet Bingo, as well as other fun games that will keep your children’s minds active and engaged.
  • Read stories aloud from books or magazines, or even make up new ones with them! Kids love hearing stories because they give them something familiar to focus on while they’re being moved around by mommy or daddy via vehicle transportation method (i.e., car). This also gives parents an opportunity to practice their storytelling skills without feeling pressure from an audience who might not be paying attention anyway because they’re too busy playing with toys themselves.
  • Listen to music together so everyone gets into a groove together–and maybe even learn some new tunes along the way! Music can be soothing when played softly enough so as not to disturb other passengers’ conversations but loud enough so that everyone hears what’s going on in those speakers next door; plus there are many different genres available depending on whether one prefers classical music over pop ballads


If you are planning a road trip with your toddler, be sure to pack some fun toys, snacks, and drinks. Take frequent breaks so that everyone can rest up for the next leg of the journey. If possible, try to make these stops somewhere interesting so your child has something new to explore while they’re taking a break from sitting in their car seat.

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