11 Ways to Bust Boredom and Keep Kids Busy During Holiday Travel

Whether you go by plane, train, or automobile, these picks will keep unruly passengers (from baby to tween) blissfully occupied.


Lamaze Clip & Go Captain Calamari

Photo by toysrus.com

Here’s an all-in-one for babies on the go. The plush sea animal includes a mini-mirror, teething rings, a rattle, and eight legs for grasping.

To buy: $15, toysrus.com.


Wikki Stix

Photo by wikkistix.com

Little hands will stay busy shaping and bending these wax-covered yarn pieces into animals, buildings, and more. Better yet, they’re no-mess, meaning they can be stuck on tray tables or windows and then removed with ease.

To buy: $7, wikkistix.com.


My First Airplane Ride By Patricia Hubbell

Photo by amazon.com

Prep first-time flyers (Preschool to Grade 1) with this reassuring and informative read. Children will learn about picking up boarding passes, going through security, and what to expect during the flight.

To buy: $10, amazon.com.



Photo by amazon.com

This brightly colored carry-on also doubles as a mode of transportation for toddlers. The case has wheels and a tow strap giving kids an exciting way to ride through the terminal (when you’re feeling up to it).

To buy: $55, amazon.com.


Color Wonder Marker Set

Photo by toysrus.com

Keep masterpieces on paper (and off skin and clothing) with this brilliant set—the markers only work on Color Wonder paper. Includes five markers and 18-themed coloring pages.

To buy: $9, amazon.com.


100 Things for Little Children to Do on a Trip

Photo by barnesandnoble.com

Long layovers are no match for this activity-packed set. Children can solve puzzles, copy shapes, search for words, and finish drawings on 100 wipe-clean cards.

To buy: $8, barnesandnoble.com.


Wooly Willy

Photo by amazon.com

Pack this classic activity for bored backseat riders of any age. Bring along family photos and challenge kids to re-create the hairdos (past and present) of relatives.

To buy: $7 for four, amazon.com.


Stack the States App

Photo by apple.com

Elementary and middle schoolers will learn state capitals, flags, abbreviations, and more in this stacking puzzle game. The app also includes an interactive map and flashcards for real-time learning on the road.

To buy: $2, itunes.com.


Epic Book App

Photo by apple.com

This app puts 10,000 books (audio and text) right at your child’s fingertips. The library contains picture books, chapter books, comic books, and more. There’s even the option to have your child’s detailed reading log (with progress) emailed to you weekly.

To buy: $5 per month, download on iTunes.


Brains on Science Podcast

Photo by apple.com

Entertaining meets educational on this free podcast from Minnesota Public Radio. Recent episodes include: “How Does GPS Know Where You Are?” “Your Booger Questions, Answered” and “A Brief History of Rollercoasters.” Kids of all ages (and adults too) will enjoy listening.

To buy: free, download on iTunes.


Activ Flyer

Photo by amazon.com

Tire out stir-crazy tweens at rest stops with this spin on the traditional Frisbee. The lightweight design is easier on hands and takes up minimal room in a suitcase.

To buy: $13 for two pack, amazon.com.