In today’s post: Make your next road trip a little more fun with road trip goodie bags. Let kids open one each hour to count down the trip! Find 25 ideas for road trip goodie bag fillers.
Aaaah, road trips. You can say that phrase to a hundred people and half of them will tell you how much they love road trips and the other half will tell you they’re a necessary evil (and a few will tell you they’d rather poke their eyes out than spend 20 hours in the car with the entire fam). Compared to the road trips we all took growing up, we’ve certainly come a long way: most of our cars have great A/C, there are plenty of places to stop for lunch, and electronic devices make spending that many hours with a toddler in the car a little less like torture. But it’s still hard to be stuck in the car for a long time with little kids.
So today’s idea is one you may have heard before: prior to the trip, gather coloring books, small toys, and other fun things to do in the car and wrap them up as road trip goodie bags. Each hour, the kids get to open a goodie bag. It helps them count down the hours on the road and gives them something new to play with when the iPad battery dies 😉
Road Trip Goodie Bags
I’ve made a sheet of printable goodie bag tags for you. Click here to download the tags. Print them out on 8.5×11 paper at 100% or full size.
Cut the tags apart and decide whether you want kids to open the bags based on distance traveled or time spent in the car. If you’re going based on distance, look at a map of your route and choose cities that are somewhat evenly spaced apart. If you’re going by hours, just fill in the times!
You’ll want to wrap and tag each item separately. I just used lunch sacks for most of my items because it’s a whole lot quicker than wrapping them.
25 Road Rrip Goodie Bag fillers
So what should you put inside each goodie bag? Well, you can find lots of ideas at the dollar store:
1. Wood travel games
2. Small lego set (yup, the dollar store has fake legos now!)
3. Elastic strings and beads to make necklaces (grab a plastic container to keep the beads in)
4. Dice and a small notepad to play the dice game
5. Wordsearch book
6. Coloring book: my dollar store even had some nice mandala coloring books! grab colored pencils as well
7. Small notepad + pens so kids can write stories
8. Flash cards: younger kids can just look at the pictures while older kids can work on sounding out words and doing math problems with you
9. Dry erase boards: check the teacher section – sometimes you can find a dry erase board with lines to practice words and letters
10. Snacks + small containers to put them in: you might want to add a little container in a few different bags
11. Post it notes: you’d be amazing how long kids will play with a pack of post it notes!
12. Candy necklace
13. Brain teasers
15. Pipe cleaners (fun to make creations with and no mess!)
16. A roll of scotch tape: tell kids whoever can make the silliest face using scotch tape on their features wins
17. Small sticker mosaic packs (check the arts + crafts section)
And here are some ideas from Amazon that cost more than a dollar, but are worth the investment. These are items your kids will use long after the road trip is over! Please note the links below are affiliate links.
18 Mad Libs: These are a classic travel game for a reason! The one I linked to is a junior version, so even younger kids can play along.
19. Window Markers: Window markers are the brightly colored Crayola markers you love, specially made for glass surfaces! Kids can color a scene on the windows while you drive, and the markers wipe off easily with a wet paper towel or window wipe.
20. Wikki Stix: Wikki stix are a bit like pipe cleaners, but way cooler. They are pieces of yarn that have been coated in wax which helps them keep their shape and stick to each other. That means kids can create really fun sculptures and structures with no mess.
21. Water Wow! books:
Melissa & Doug Water Wow! books include 4 reusable coloring boards and a water pen. When a child paints with water the colors in the pictures appear, but the coolest part is that when the boards dry, the colors go away, leaving the boards ready to be painted again. The small size and lack of mess makes this perfect for little hands and great for car travel as well. You can find lots of different varieties, including princess books and ABC learning books.
22. Dot to Dot Books:
We LOVE these Extreme Dot to Dot books! Each picture has between 500-1400 dots and some span two full pages. These are great for older kids (and adults) who’d be bored by easier dot to dot books. My kids easily spend an hour at a time working on these books, and they’re great for car trips too. You can find Extreme Dot to Dot books with lots of different themes, and since each one has around 32 puzzles, one book will last for hours and hours! For younger kids, we really like this 1-100 dot to dot book.
23. Tape Activity Book:
The 20 pictures in this tape activity book are purposely not quite complete: things like the laces on a shoe or the stripes on a zebra are missing. Kids can use the included tape to add in the missing details or otherwise decorate the pictures. The tape is easy for kids to tear and it can be removed and repositioned. Probably best for kids under 6 and fantastic for car or plane rides.
Mindware Color Counts books are color by number pages on steroids. These are perfect for older kids who still like to color. The intricate designs ensure a beautiful finished product, which makes kids feel like they’ve completed a masterpiece. I find working on these really helps calm my kids down when they are getting a little rambunctious. Check out all the different versions and stock up on colored pencils!
25. Me Readers:
I’ve mentioned these “Me Readers” before on the blog because I LOVE them! Each set comes with 8 storybooks and a reader. Kids push a button to hear one page read to them, then turn the page and press the next button (each page has a colored symbol on it so it’s easy to know which button to push). These are so much easier for little kids to follow along with than books on CDs, and pre-readers love being able to “read” to themselves. These are perfect for in the car, at bedtime, or any other time you want a little one to calm down with a story. My daughter started using them when she was 2, and my son still looks at his even though he’s 6 and can read to himself now. There are lots of different story sets available (Mickey, Disney princess, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora, etc).
More Road Trip Hacks
If you’re looking for even more great road trip ideas, visit this post: Best tips for road trips with kids for tons of ideas on how to prepare, what food to pack, and plenty of fun things to do in the car.