It may surprise readers of Cool Mom Tech, but I am pretty much a no-screens-in-the-car kind of a parent. Back when my youngest was still a toddler and four consecutive episodes of Dora meant¬†a needed stretch of quiet. But now, unless it’s an¬†extra extra long car ride, we have a pretty good roster of car games that do the trick. Until I run out. Which is why I’m thrilled to have a copy of¬†Amanda Morin’s¬†new On-the-Go Fun for Kids: More than 250 activities to keep little ones busy and happy anytime, anywhere.¬†

250, mamas. That’s a lot of ideas.

The activities¬†are grouped by situation like planes and trains or shopping trips, with¬†45 pages alone of car trip ideas¬†ranging¬†from variations on the license plate game, to billboard designing, making up palindromes, or¬†teaching kids how to convert miles to kilometers.¬†But I’d say plenty of the ideas are mix and match; playing Rock Paper Scissors Spock¬†isn’t just something you can¬†do while you’re¬†stuck in a waiting room.

Just know some¬†of Amanda’s¬†ideas require the actual book, like word searches or brain teasers. There are also¬†some¬†DIY ideas peppered through the book that do¬†require advanced planning like if you plan on creating¬†a DIY mandala game using an egg carton and pebbles (which is too much work for me, honestly); or packing blank postcards so kids can fill in their own drawings of things they saw on the trip (which I love).

Even her idea for coming up with¬†campfire stories requires a little prep work¬†— but¬†we can actually help you there, with our campfire story starter grab bag with free printable artwork.

Summer craft for kids: Story Starters Grab Bag for Campfire Stories |
I like that not every¬†idea is an actual game or activity in the traditional sense; the author is an education writer by background, and there is¬†definitely a strong¬†thread throughout¬†the book about¬†creating educational moments from¬†everyday situations. Like having a child figure out why she can’t tickle herself. Or having¬†her to interview the¬†servers at restaurants you visit about¬†their lives¬†and jobs.

(That could go many ways, of course. Use that one with discretion. And don’t hold up the cars behind you at the drive-thru.)

But overall I think you’ll find a ton of ideas you hadn’t considered — even you tested road warrior families. Just be aware that¬†it’s pretty much geared towards toddlers through tweens, if they’re not cynical and jaded yet. And it’s a fantastic gift for the grandparents or aunts and uncles to keep at their home, so there are always fresh ideas on hand when the kids visit.

Oh and maybe¬†the¬†best idea¬†of all: Amanda’s¬†Are we there yet? trick, which involves handing a young child a ticket for every designated amount of time or distance traveled on the road. That way,¬†when they’re all collected, your kid¬†will know just when you¬†are, in fact, there.

I would just say, let the kids hand the tickets to you. That way you can ask your own kids, are we there yet? the whole trip long. Beautiful.

Find On-the-Go Fun for Kids: More than 250 activities to keep little ones busy and happy anytime, anywhere by Amanda Morin at our affiliate Amazon or your local indie bookseller.