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25 Road Trip Car Activities For Toddlers (2, 3, and 4 year olds)

Heading on a road trip with your toddler can be so exciting and a great adventure. But long periods in a car with a toddler can also be very daunting even to the most experienced parents amongst us. 

But do not worry we have gathered together all the top tips of activities that will help while away those long car journeys and keep your toddler calm, happy, and entertained.

25 Road Trip Car Activities For Toddlers

1. Travel Journal

This doesn’t need to be complicated and can just be a simple notebook or it could be a special book with prompts and spots for pictures. There are a wealth of options out there for older kids but this is one of the best for preschoolers.

2. Flashcards

These are perfect for helping your child learn sight words, numbers, simple math problems, and shapes. But they inevitably get dropped all over the floor of the car.

The way to solve this is to pop them on a giant ring binder. Or you could purchase a set that comes with its own ring binder like the one below.

3. Felt Boards

Felt boards are a great opportunity to let your little one’s imagination run wild. But they are mess free and travel friendly.

4. Window Markers

To be perfectly honest there is no way I would let my preschoolers lose with markers on my windows.

But if you are one of those super laid-back parents and you trust them not to destroy your car or write on each other – then let them create till their hearts are content.

These fun window markers can easily be wiped away with a damp paper towel or baby wipe.

5. Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring

If your toddlers are prone to coloring on anything but the paper provided you can understand why these are such a fantastic idea. 

The Crayola Color Wonder Products are awesome because they only show up on the special paper that comes in the set.

6. MagnaDoodle

This recommendation may make parents reminisce over their childhood car journeys. This is a classic toy for road trips that have been around for decades.

You can now get a small travel-sized version that comes with stamps and a pen so your little artist can create their very own masterpiece.

7. Boogie Board

This is an LCD writing board and it comes with a stylus for writing. These are great for keeping the kids entertained in restaurants and work perfectly for road trips.

8. Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Bundle

Most toddlers are obsessed with stickers, I know my boys are. On-road trips, we love these reusable sticker pad bundles from Melissa & Doug because it means that they can not get stickers all over the car seats and windows.

9. Magnetic Cookie Sheet

Pick up a cookie sheet or two just for your road trip. Stock up on plenty of cheap magnets such as alphabets, numbers, shapes, animals, and their favorite characters.

Give them spelling challenges on popsicle sticks, have them make patterns, or just let their imagination run wild. You could also purchase a complete set that comes complete with a magnetic board, magnets, and dry-wipe markers.

10. Book Collections

Books can help to promote some quiet time for the whole family. could bring some favorites from home, borrow some new ones from the library or you could surprise your children with a new book for the trip.

Here are some of my favorite books suitable for toddlers.

11. Workbooks

These are a great inexpensive option for a long car journey, kids love to work through the activities in a workbook.

The only downside is that if your child can’t read then you will have to read the instructions to them if they want to do the activity correctly. My toddler doesn’t care he just likes to scribble away!

12. Wikki Stix

These are bendy, sticky little sticks and they can seriously provide hours of entertainment for both adults and children alike.

They allow your children’s imagination to run wild and it truly is amazing to see what they come up with all on their own. You can use them to create motorbikes, planes, trains, flowers, letters, and even people.

They are perfect for use on a road trip as they are sticky and stay in place rather than all ending up on the floor. You could also check out the wikkistix blog for some great inspiration.

13. Movies

Sometimes on a long car journey, a little screen time is good in order for everyone to keep the little sanity they had at the beginning of the journey. There are a few different ways that you can do this.

But the easiest way is to just download movies and shows from Netflix or Disney to the iPad and strap it to the back of the headrest with a tablet holder like the one below.

The one problem that you may have is ensuring that your iPad can stay charged, so to solve that problem we use a super long charging cable like the one below.

14. Music

Kids love music and singing along to their favorite tunes will help to keep them entertained. You could purchase a CD or put a playlist on your phone – our favorite is Disney songs. But there are plenty of options available on Amazon.

15. Nap Time 

On every long journey, a nap is going to be required. Let them bring a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or pillow in the car.

When it is time for a nap, stop at a rest spot and get everyone cozy and comfy. They may not sleep but at least you are sticking to your normal routine.

16. Create An Activity Binder

Why not print out some educational worksheets and put them in a binder for your child to work on throughout the trip.

You can add a three-ring binder pouch for pencils, pens, or crayons. You could put the worksheets in plastic page protectors and let the kids use a dry wipe marker to use over and over. 

There are plenty of websites where you can download these types of worksheets for free.

17. Seek And Find Books

You could check out your local library for some search & find books. These will keep the kids entertained for hours as they scour the pages looking for the hidden items.

There are also some great options available to purchase.

18. Snacks

My favorite part of a road trip is the food! Finding the perfect snack for your little one for a road trip is an art form in itself. It has to be somewhat healthy or a mix of healthy and not so healthy.

Something that your kids will actually eat and like. Not too messy, nothing that is going to melt and it must be easily portable.

The best snack ideas I have used are dry cereal, bananas, cheese cubes, homemade cereal bars, homemade muffins, fruit leathers, and animal crackers.

19. Paint By Sticker Books

This is a great activity but it is going to definitely require some adult help. Help your child create amazing creepy-crawlies using stickers. Simply find the sticker you want, peel the sticker and then place the sticker.

20. Mosaic Pegboards

Another fantastic option for a long journey and can help children learn a range of different things such as colors and shape recognition.

21. Busy Boards

Busy boards are a brilliant option if you can get one that is suited for traveling such as the one below. Who would have ever thought that a board covered in buckles, zippers, and buttons would keep your toddler busy for hours.

22. Scratch Paper Art Sets

Sometimes you just do not want to chance fate and let your toddler loose with crayons or pens in the car.  This is where the scratch paper art comes into itself.

Your toddler just scratches the paper with the sticks included revealing a colorful picture underneath. No mess, no fuss!

23. Magnetic Jigsaws

Jigsaws are another activity that can keep kids busy for a good while. I know what you are thinking – all those pieces flying around the car – no thanks! 

The good news is that you can purchase magnetic jigsaws which are perfect for road trips.

You can also turn a favorite jigsaw from home into a magnetic one by placing magnets on the back of each piece and using a cookie tray to stick them to.

24. Educational Apps

This could be used as a last resort when you have run out of energy to entertain the kids. But if you do turn to electronic devices make sure that the apps are educational.

There are some great educational apps available for children these days.

25. Audio Books

Why not head over to your local library and get out some free books on CD to listen to as a family.

Remember that children have a far greater level of understanding when listening to a story than they can actually read – don’t be afraid to go with a chapter book!

There are also some great apps that you can download audiobooks from such as audible and audiobooks.

The Final Thought

I hope that we have given you plenty of top tips to help you keep your toddler entertained on your next road trip adventure.

Try to remember that even though long car journeys can be stressful for everyone, that they are a huge part of the adventure – embrace the time you get to spend with your toddler and have fun!