Our Favorite Road Trip Activity for Kids (with Free Printables!)

This road trip activity for kids will make your next vacation drive go so much faster– and your children will love it for traveling in the car!

Fun Road Trip Activity for Kids

We are big road trippers in our family! When given the choice between flying and driving, we usually choose to drive if at all possible so we can get in some extra quality time together and see some beautiful sights along the way.

We recently returned from one such road trip, where we visited Asheville, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

Family in Smoky Mountains National Park

(Any bets on how long it will be until I’m the shortest member of my family? Not long now! 😂)

Every single time we go on a road trip, my boys always check with me ahead of time to make sure we’ll be doing one certain activity. I started doing it when they were two and four, and now that they’re 10 and 12, they still love it!

This time when I created the pieces for the activity, I made some printables to share with you as well! I hope your kiddos love this little game as much as mine do.

Fun Road Trip Activity to Keep Kids Occupied in the Car

The premise of this activity is simple. I create a banner that has the names of about five cities that we’ll pass through on our road trip. (If the road trip is really long, I’ll do more– I like to have a city every two hours or so.)

Banner in Car for Road Trip Activity for Kids

I hang the banner on the passenger’s side of the car on a simple ribbon, using mini clothes pins to hold the flags.

Whenever we get to the city listed, the boys get to take down the little flag with that city on it. They then get a small gift (think dollar store items), which is usually something to help keep them occupied on the drive.

It’s super simple, but it helps them track how far along we are on the trip. (And I have to listen to less “HOW MUCH LONGER?!” questions!) And they love getting new little games and activities to do along the way.

(I make a second 5-flag banner and have prizes for the drive home too.)

Easy, right?!

Here’s how to put it together…

Step 1- Gather your supplies.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

To put together this activity, you will need:

Step 2- Print the free printables for the road trip activity.

We went to the mountains this year, so our banner reflected our destination! There is a little box on each flag to write the name of the cities you’ll be passing through. You can download the free printable mountain banner below.

Mountain Banner Printables for Road Trip Activity

Click here to download the mountain banner for the road trip activity!

I know many of us road trip to the beach as well, so I wanted to make sure I provided a beach-y version of the banner too! You can download it below.

Mountain and Beach Banners Free Printables

Click here to download the beach banner for the road trip activity!

I printed my banner on white card stock to make it a little sturdier.

Printing Road Trip Activity for Kids

Step 3- Cut out the road trip activity banner.

I like to use a paper slicer to cut out the banner because it is quicker and makes nice, straight cuts. I still end up using scissors for the inverted part of the flag though.

Printer with Road Trip Printables for Kids' Activity

Obviously, if you don’t own a paper slicer, scissors will work just fine for cutting out the whole thing!

Step 4- Get your prizes ready!

I think the reason that the boys have insisted on doing this activity for so long is because they get so excited about the prizes! We never do anything fancy or expensive, but the thought of getting a little something every few hours along the way is still exciting to them.

I usually hit up the dollar store or 5 Below to grab some small items to give to the boys along the way.

Here are some ideas of things you could give as prizes along the way:

Road Trip Prize Ideas
  • Card games
  • Travel board games
  • Lawn games/board games that can be used at your destination
  • Art supplies– sketch pad, colored pencils, markers, crayons, stickers, coloring books, etc.
  • Sudoku, crossword, or activity books
  • Candy or snacks
  • Poppers, stress balls, or other tactile toys
  • Squirt guns, pool toys, or other water games
  • Matchbox cars, action figures, small dolls, or stuffed animals

After I have procured all of the prizes, I wrap them up. Then I mark each one with the child’s name and the number in which they should open them.

Road Trip Banner with Wrapped Gifts

I usually put them in a small bag that can sit in the back seat with the boys so they can grab the right prize when it’s time to open it.

Step 5- Hang the banner!

I just use whatever ribbon I have around to hang the banner in the car. Then I have a set of mini clothespins that I have kept and reused year after year. (I’m pretty sure I found mine in Target’s Dollar Spot several years ago.)

Road Trip Banner Hanging on Ribbon

If you don’t have mini clothespins, you could use a hole punch to create a hole in the top two corners of each flag and thread the ribbon through.

Our car has two handles on the passenger’s side that I can tie the ribbon around. The ribbon just stays up for the entire trip, even after the boys have taken the first set of flags down.

Road Trip Banner for Kids' Activity

When we’re ready to start the trip home, I use the clothespins to hang the second set of flags. (If you’re using the hole punch method, you may have to bring a second length of ribbon so you can thread it through the holes.)

That’s it! It’s such an easy activity, but it has become a fun tradition for us that we do year after year. (I swear, my boys will be 18 and 16 and still insisting on a road trip banner!!)

I hope these little printables will be helpful for you on your next road trip! If you’d like to come back to this post to print them later, be sure to pin the image below so you can find it easily!

Our Favorite Road Trip Activity for Kids

Get my best tricks for traveling with toddlers (and see what my blog posts looked like when I first started blogging– it’s kind of a hoot!) here!

And don’t forget your free printable packing list while you’re at it!

What is your favorite road trip activity for kids? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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