Keeping Young Kids Entertained While Travelling

Tierney shares how she keeps her young children entertained when travelling.

25 ways to keep young kids entertained when travelling

Guest Post – Tierney Kennedy

We travel a lot and below is my list for keeping my kids amused while travelling.

Keep a bag or box in the car with items you can pull out when you need to travel that extra half an hour on a leg of a trip.  Zip lock bags are great for keeping it all organised so it’s easy to find different things.

keeping kids entertained when travelling

  1. Puppet for your hand, with books for the puppet to read aloud
  2. Toy diggers/trucks the size of matchbox cars with a couple of bits that move
  3. Something jangly like bells/maracas/tambourine
  4. Plasticine or play dough inside a tied balloon (or two) to make a squishy ball. Add googly eyes and a drawn on mouth for fun.
  5. Big fat beads on a piece of string (tied along the seat, thread or to hold and slide).
  6. Finger puppets made from toilet rolls (texters in a zip lock bag or pencil case)
  7. Sparkly stuff inside a plastic baby food jar with the lid glued on (glitter, sequins, alfoil, small bells)
  8. Small board books (and lift-the-flap) – assume the flaps may be all ripped off by the end of the trip
  9. Laminate photos of family and friends to hold, talk about, tell stories
  10. A wet washer to chew on
  11. Snack food (portion size) eg. crackers in a zip lock bag – sounds simple but we could get an extra 30 minutes of driving time with our cranky toddler when she could help herself to food.
  12. Straws, plastic cups or bowls, spoons
  13. Pretend phone that makes beeping noises
  14. Set of spare keys for play
  15. Small torch or electric candle – especially if it changes colours
  16. Frozen chew ring
  17. Plastic food to play pretend picnics with
  18. A few small dolls or teddies.  Bring a blanket to wrap them up with and a small spoon and pretend bottle to feed the toys with.
  19. Music CDs (Wiggles, Play School music)
  20. Juice in a drink bottle instead of just water – the interesting flavour can add 15 minutes of happy driving time.
  21. Anything with buttons to push
  22. Stretchy animals (eg lizards, snakes from spotlight for about $2 for a large packet)
  23. Small plastic animal or doll figurines (that can fit in a small zip-lock bag)
  24. Read along stories (with CD)
  25. Funny hats for you to wear then pass back and forth

Do you have any tips to share?

About the Author

Tierney Kennedy is mum to three children, a maths consultant and author of over 50 books for teachers.  She works with teachers from around Australia to help maths actually make sense to kids. Read her other guest posts here: Making Maths Fun for Kids (at home), Fun with Boys on the School Holidays.


Facebook page: Maths Matters

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

Latest posts by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum (see all)


  1. says

    Thanks! :
    We just did 12 hours each way with a 20 month old and a nearly 4 year old. Of all the stuff I had for them, the biggest wins were stickers/foam animal stickers and a notepad, pencils and crayons, and surprisingly torches (in the daytime). We had a few things: a pack of multicoloured paper, books to read, toy binoculars, letter flash cards etc. Then for stops we had balloons and bubbles.

    Just a couple of tips for travellers too:
    * We went camping and in the night we attached glow bracelettes/anklets/necklaces on the kids so we could find them easily. Worked really well!!!
    * When we went to crowded locations or theme parks, even shopping centres, I would take a mobile photo of them in the clothes that they were wearing that morning and write my mobile number on their upper arm or thigh in case they got lost. Alternatively, write the details on a label and stick it to the back of their shirt.

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