The Best Kids Travel Games for Passing the Time

Whether on the road or stuck at home, these timeless activities will kill time and keep things fun (and even educational).

kids games
From classic word games and puzzles to handheld video games, your kids have plenty of options to keep them entertained.Shutterstock

Part of the challenge of any family trip is keeping the children engaged and amused. Sure, you can put on Netflix, but if you’d rather make it family time, or simply don’t want them to veg out on a rainy day, here’s what to look for with travel games for kids.

Throwback Everyday

Gamie Game Set
Gamie Magnetic Board Game SetAmazon

The classics never go out of style, and it’s particularly easy to cram them into a small board that folds into your pocket. Look for a kit that can go into any bag, and stick with you on any vehicle, whether you’re playing chess in the backseat or killing time with some backgammon on the tarmac. Also keep an eye out for games that will grow with your kids; there’s only so much Chutes and Ladders you can plan with a tween, after all.

The New Style

Dr. Biscuits
Dr. Biscuits’ Radical Road TripAmazon

Don’t forget that games don’t have to be played with boards and pieces. Look for books of games that require more creativity, or paying attention to certain rules, and keep those rules handy for everybody to enjoy. Look for games that require the whole family to play along, and check rules to see whether the adult behind the wheel can participate as well.

Switch Things Up

Switch console
Nintendo SwitchAmazon

Video games don’t have to be entirely out of the picture. The main knock against many games is that they’re single player only; kids focus on themselves, not others. But increasingly tablet and portable consoles are family-friendly, coming with multiple controllers and multiplayer options. You should check to see which games will best fit your needs, and keep spare chargers handy, but they can be a blast as well.