This post is sponsored by Chuckle and Roar, available exclusively at Target.
A few weeks ago some friends of ours were over to visit and they mentioned a recent family vacation where they drove to their destination screen-free with their two kids. To be honest, I’ve gotten so used to turning the DVD player on any time we are in the minivan that the thought of taking a screen-free trip had never crossed my mind before. But, that’s all I ever took as a kid! We didn’t have a DVD player in our vehicle. We didn’t even have any portable game systems. We had our cassette player, radio, and a bag of fun travel items for our trip.
I remember one road trip in particular where my friend and I sat in the back of her mom’s station wagon (remember the seats back there that were turned around backward?!) and played round after round of Uno the entire way. It was a blast!
It got me thinking, with our upcoming trip to the beach in a few weeks, I’d love to go screen-free for the 6-hour drive! My kids could take in the scenery and play fun car games the way I remember playing them. I went in search of the best screen-free travel must-haves for kids and wanted to share them with you today!
15 Screen-Free Travel Must-Haves for Kids
A list of the best travel items for kids so your family can go screen-free and still have a blast on your next road trip!
Move over fidget spinners! This little circle is the next big thing! My kids got one of these and I must admit, it's quite addicting. It's great for sensory seekers and adults and children alike. The bubbles really are fun to pop and you can also play a 2-player game with it. It's tough silicone as well so it would be really easy to clean if needed.
I was first introduced to the OOLY last holiday season and I have fallen in love with their art supplies. These are quality markers that are going to last for a long time, have vibrant colors and, even better, they are erasable in case you hit a bump and the marker goes outside the lines. They are perfect for your next road trip!
Sometimes the best thing to do on a long road trip is to take a nap. How cute is the unicorn travel pillow with a hoodie? It's great for older kids or tweens! It even comes with earplugs and an eye mask!
Of course, you'll need a great sketchbook to go with the markers. OOLY has adorable animal sketchbooks (a fox, a cat, and a dog) with handles. Another great thing about this sketchbook is that kids can carry it into restaurants to stay occupied when you're eating out on your vacation.
This game is the perfect game to take on vacation! Not only does it have a scavenger hunt for In the Car, there is another scavenger hunt game for At Home (perfect to play at your beach house) and another Outside pack that great to take with you when you're out and about on vacation. It's a game that lots of kids can play at the same time, so perfect for bigger families like ours, plus it encourages family interaction!
To be honest, one of the reasons I love Mad Libs is that it helps to reinforce the grammar skills we're working on in elementary school. What can I say - I'm a homeschool mom! It's also a really fun game to play and the kids always get a lot of laughs out of them!
Travel Bingo is SO much fun! This set comes with 6 reversible cards to keep the game interesting and challenging for all! I appreciate that there are both graphics and words on the kids to help my kids practice their reading skills too!
Snacks are a must-have for our road trips! I love stocking up on Slammers Snacks organic pouches because they are a much healthier alternative than sugary snacks, plus the pouches keep them mess-free! They are so good that everyone in our family loves them, from the adults way down to the youngest kid!
Your kids will definitely need drinks for the trip! We've had our Ello water bottles for a few weeks now and the kids just love them! Because the lid locks, it helps prevent spills in the car, and the bottles keep drinks cold for a LONG time.
Investing in a travel desk is a great idea so your kids can keep all of their essentials within arm's reach. This is especially helpful for toddlers who have shorter arms and can't easily reach things.
When traveling with kids, it's inevitable that one child is hot while another child is cold. One wants the AC cranked up the other is crying because it's blowing on them. For long road trips, even in the summer, we make sure we have at least one small blanket along for the ride. In the cooler months, we make sure that each child has a small blanket.
This cool set features 50 different dry erase mazes. With 3 levels of difficulty, kids are able to improve their skills over time. Since it has an easy-to-carry travel case, it's also perfect for taking into restaurants while you travel.
The first time we tried this playfoam I have to admit that I thought it would make a huge mess. I was pleasantly surprised that it's not messy at all. It really does stick together well, without leaving a big sticky residue on hands. This would be a lot of fun for kids who love to mold and sculpt. Perfect for screen-free car rides!
I hope you enjoyed my list of screen-free travel must-haves for kids! Do you have anything you’d add to the list? What do your kids love to play with in the car?
Wish I saw this blog before my son and his family moved to Hawaii last August because I definitely would have shared with them. However, I am planning to visit them in February and we will be in the car a lot so these suggestions will come in handy then and in the future. Thanks for saving me research time!
Wednesday 11th of November 2020
Really great suggestions here, it's a lot of fun to play different games in the car.
Saturday 1st of August 2020
My niece and family are headed to Ocean City this month and this would be some good stuff to have for her daughter. I think the lap table would really be good to have my great niece is almost 4. Going to share this with my niece
Tuesday 9th of June 2020
I love this! We also have DVD players in our vehicle and taking a no-screen trip sounds like a good idea. I'm loving the Chuckle & Roar Pop it! - The Take Anywhere Bubble Popping Game and Mad Libs (I remember these from when I was a kid!).
Teri A Durkin
Thursday 30th of April 2020
We have Pop It! and it keeps our kids (5.5 and 3) entertained for hours...in the car and at home!
Hi! I'm Janessa and I started Thrifty Nifty Mommy in 2010 after the birth of my first child. Over the years Thrifty Nifty Mommy has expanded to a team of 4 writers. Click the "About" tab to learn more about my family and the other writers at Thrifty Nifty Mommy.
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