Need free printables to keep young kids busy on a family road trip? Me, too! Here are my favorite road trip games for kids aged three to about eight.
I’m planning a four-day cross-Canada road trip with three kids between three and seven. On my own. No tablets or DVD players. Yikes! My husband will be driving the moving van, so entertainment is solely up to me. How to stay sane?
Well, I found some GREAT free printables for family road trips online. Many are for kids older than mine, so it took some sifting.
But, wow! There are some INCREDIBLE free road trip activities out there. Here I share my favorites with you.
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How to use these free printable road trip games for young kids:
- Print them out and put them into a binder. This gives your child a portable desk, AND keeps everything together and tidy.
- Slip them into sheet protectors, where it makes sense. This is an easy and cheap way to make them reusable.
- Add a zippered pouch with crayons, washable markers and dry erase markers.
And wa-la! Hours of quiet time. (Here’s to hoping!)
1. Road Trip Banner
But FIRST! Pinterest is FULL of fun ideas for family road trips, and this is one of my favorites.
A simple, visual way to “map out” your road trip for your young kids is to string it up in your car! Use string, yarn or even gold duck tape as the road, like Grey House Harbor. Include your overnight stops. Interesting landmarks you’ll see along the way. Planned stops. And then move your car along as you go.
I’m guessing my kids will still ask, “Are we there yet” a million times. But at least I have something to point to. And it’s fun for me, too!
Use my simple Road Trip Banner Printable to create your own!
2. Free COLORING MAPS Printables for Family Road Trips
For simple maps young kids can color, head to Where Exactly Maps. Where Exactly Maps provides free printable map coloring sheets perfect for inspiring your little travel wanderer.
Maps include United States, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, North East Asia, Africa and South America. Each one has two versions: simple, with only the country name, and complete with province/state names.
While there, also check out the tectonic plates coloring sheet and labeling printable! A great road trip printable for your little geologist. Can work for both older and younger kids.
3. Road Trip COLORING PAGES for Young Kids
I love the coloring pages from Doodle Art Alley. They have a fantastic variety, and appropriate for various ages and skill levels. Countries and states or provinces. National parks. Transportation. Plus so many other fun ideas, like seasons, nature, animals and princesses.
Two other great kids coloring pages for family road trips are:
- Transportation Color By Number Printables from Captain Coloring Book. Includes a ship, plane and helicopter. These are great for preschoolers because they’re color-coded.
- Vacation Color By Number Printables from All Kids Network. A huge variety, including beach, ice cream and transportation printables. These simple coloring pages have the color words for the legend so they’re great for early readers.
4. TRAVEL BINGO Free Printables Game for Family Road Trips
There are a LOT of travel bingo printables out there. Most are best for USA-specific road trips, with license plates, flags, signs and fast food restaurants only found there.
Here are my two favorite travel bingo printables for kids that work for pretty much any road trip location:
- Meander and Coast: Super cute, has a good variety of things and is mostly country-generic. The only thing is the American flag, which isn’t a big deal to me.
- Stuffed Suitcase: A fun road trip games printables pack, including four versions of travel bingo and calling cards. Because more than one kid means you need more than one version, of course! I also love the “I Spy” game. The rest of the pack is fantastic for older kids.
Open to buying an all-in-one road trip printables bundle? Check out this one from BE Family Travel on Etsy.
5. Easy Road Trip WORD SEARCHES for Young Kids
I’m a big fan of word searches. When I was young, my mom had search races with me and let me win sometimes! Good memories. And they’re great for early readers. So long as they’re easy.
Here are some great easy road trip word search printables:
- Easy Summer Word Search from Puzzles to Print. An easy, friendly word search with eight words. The longest is only six letters.
- Let’s Take a Trip Word Search from Word Game World. More challenging, with 20 words. Most words are short. The longest is sunglasses.
- Short Vowel Word Search from Teachers Pay Teachers. This word search isn’t specifically about road trips or travel, but it’ll work! It’s perfect for early readers to build confidence and have fun coloring, too.
For a small cost, you might just want to purchase this easy road trip package from Little Wiggles Design on Etsy. It’s fantastic for ages 3 to 5.
6. “I SPY” Road Trip Games for Young Kids
A fantastic resource for “I Spy” free printables is Paper Trail Design. They’re the perfect balance of easy AND challenging for young kids. How is that possible, you ask? Well, take a look!
The images are simple, but of various sizes. Quantities are all below 10, but together sure add up. You have plenty of fun themes to choose from, like ice cream, mermaids and Star Wars. Or classic options, like transportation, camping, road trip, animals and weather.
What should they pack in their suitcase, carry-on or road trip bag? Check out this Kids Vacation Packing List.
7. “I SPY ” RACE Game Printables for Family Road Trips
A fun and easy twist on the “I Spy” road trip game is Awesome Alphabet Road Trip I Spy Printable from Sunny Day Family. It’s cute, and it’ll take early readers a while to get to Z!
For early readers, they can simply cross off the letter when they see it. Stronger readers and writers can write out the word or license plate combo they saw.
8. Simple Road Trip SCAVENGER HUNT Printable Games for Young Kids
There are a lot of road trip scavenger hunt printables out there. Similar to travel bingo printables, I found many had USA-specific items that wouldn’t work that great for my young kids on a cross-Canada road trip.
But I DID find a couple of great generic ones! My favorite is from Make and Takes (illustrated by Juliann Law). The items on the list can be found on any road trip. Like power lines. Birds. Bike. And the pencil-sketch style of these drawings is beautiful. I I hope they inspire my own little artists!
Another road trip scavenger hunt printable I love is this car color search from Productive Pete. A simple concept, perfect for building confidence and working up to the tougher ones!
9. DRAWING PROMPTS Printables for Family Road Trips
My five and seven year olds LOVE drawing. We go through SO. MUCH. PAPER! So, these free drawing printables from Picklebums are perfect for young family road trips.
My favorite free printables for road trips include:
- Road Trip prompts, like “what’s in the truck” and “where does the road go.” The last one is SO Mary Poppins!
- Make a Face is a great reusable drawing prompt. Put it in a sheet protector to use with dry erase markers. I can hear the laughter!
- Drawing Challenge Cards is excellent for early readers. Plenty of drawing prompts for hours of entertainment. You could also pull a card out whenever they get bored.
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10. Road Trip DICE DRAWING Games for Young Kids
During online learning, my daughter’s kindergarten teacher had them play this roll-a-monster game from Embracing Motherhood. It’s been SUCH a hit in our household! I bought large dice for each of my kids. And wa-la! A perfect free printables road trip game for young kids.
Here are my favorite roll-and-draw free printables for young kids:
- Roll-a-butterfly from Printoteka. Because butterflies are awesome.
- Roll-a-monster (3 options) available on ARTimus Prime.
- Drawing games from Drawing How to Draw, including roll-a-face and roll-a-landscape.
Put them to work AND get them excited for your family trip! Check out this Kids Packing List with Pictures. Even preschoolers can use it!
11. PUPPET THEATER Road Trip Activities for Young Kids
My goodness, there are SO many super cute finger puppet printables on Pinterest! If your kids are into animals, fairies, princesses, or robots, just pick your favorites! I’ll prepare a set for my 2 year old, and let my oldest two color and cut out their own.
Here are three of my favorite finger puppet free printables for family road trips:
- Animal Finger Puppets from Highlights. Print in color, cut out and tape into rings. As easy as you get!
- Farm Animal Finger Puppets from Arty Crafty Kids. Kids can color before cutting and taping into puppets.
- Noah’s Ark Animal Finger Puppets from The Confident Journal. No taping involved, but you may want to pre-cut the finger holes.
If you’re open to paying a small amount, you really should check out the finger puppets from Pukaka on Etsy. They’re SO cute! Family puppets. Monsters and aliens. Monkeys and circus performers. And characters from your favorite kids book.
Note: I highly recommend printing at least two copies per child. Even if you print onto cardstock, I can see these ripping pretty quickly. And then there’d be tears. SO. MANY. TEARS. Consider yourself warned!
12. GLASSES Printables for Family Road Trips
13. Road Trip MAZE Printables for Young Kids
Mazes can be a great way for young kids to pass the time on a road trip. Choose from many different themes that your kids are interested in on Pinterest.
Here are my favorite mazes for family road trips:
- Vehicle mazes and country mazes from Muse Printables. This huge collection of easy mazes is perfect for family road trips.
- Seasonal Mazes from Superstar Worksheets. Beautiful free printables to celebrate the changing of seasons.
- Transportation mazes from Emma Pelling at Smiling Art. Elegant and unique. My seven and five year olds will love coloring them in. Plus the counting challenge, too.
14. PLAYDOUGH MATS Free Printables for Family Road Trips
Check out these playdough mats from Picklebums. Slide these into sheet protectors and you have perfect playdough entertainment for a family road trip. Add a pitstop challenge! Have them find leaves, flowers and pebbles to use in their creations.
My favorite free playdough mat printables for road trips include the bugs and pirates sheets. You can also support this shop by paying a nominal amount for the city playdough mat.
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15. TRAVEL KIT of Free Road Trip Games for Kids
Here’s one of my favorite travel activity packs for young kids, offered free from Somewhat Simple. It has a few special gems that set it apart.
Like the Made You Laugh jokes, which my daughters will absolutely LOVE. The color Slug Bug travel game, which is simple enough for all three of my young kids to play. And the Do Not Open Until tags, which are perfect for building fun and anticipation along the way. Think: Bubbles for a playground stop and glow wands when it gets dark!
16. TRAVEL JOURNAL Free Printables for Young Kids
Keeping a travel journal is SUCH a great habit to teach kids. On my first solo trip, my mom gave me a journal. And I’ve been keeping them and re-living my travels from them ever since!
The style of travel journal for young kids will obviously be different from older kids. Since my kids are new to writing and practicing their sounding skills, I want a travel journal with a blend of writing and drawing.
Here are my favorite FREE road trip journals for young kids:
- Travel Journal Printable by Dover Publishing. Simple writing prompts with images for weather and rating.
- My Vacation Printable by Five Marigolds. Cute and friendly style, with simple writing prompts and a drawing section.
- Travel Journal Template by Kids Travel Books. A cute 26-page, A to Z kids travel journal with writing and drawing prompts. Some pages are best for international travel but most work for any type of trip.
In the end, I had a specific vision for a kids travel journal to engage my early readers, and couldn’t find it. So, I built it myself. If you’re open to a small purchase, check out our Kids Travel Journal Printable for Early Readers.
What are your favorite road trip printables for young kids? Any tips for the rest of us? Share in the comments below!
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Featured photo credit (car with kids): hwilson8 from Reshot