How to Keep the Kids Occupied While Sightseeing

Alamo Chief Travel Mom and founder of Vera Sweeney shares her advice for keeping the kids occupied while traveling.

One of the best parts about family travel is the in between. Sure, it’s great to get to your destination, to eat the local cuisine, to absorb the culture and the history of the place you’re visiting, but your kids can have a blast on their vacation before they even leave the door! I’m going to show you how.

As a mom of three, I’ve learned that it’s critical to get the children involved in every aspect of what you do. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or making travel plans, your little ones want in on the FUN. And trust me – it can all be fun if you keep the right attitude.

Do Your Research

Do Your Research:

When planning your trip, have the children research the surrounding area for landmarks, visitor centers, National Parks, and overall fun destinations. If you are crafty online, make a sightseeing checklist sheet or a bingo card and have the kids create a fun kit that they can use as you drive around your vacation city. Think outside the box! Look for statues, buildings, famous eateries. You name it – add it to your list. For younger kids, consider printing out some coloring pages, as well.

Unplug As A Family

Unplug As A Family:

Once you are en route, traveling from one fun adventure to the next, prohibit any tablet or phone use in the car. Staying away from technology will get your children exploring the outside world again. We live in a day and age where everyone is looking down! How can you embrace the beauty of the morning sun if you are busy checking Facebook statuses? It’s a great lesson to learn and hopefully keep all year long.

Remember, we all survived without these luxuries as children. They will, too.

Car Games:

Car games that require no pre-work are always a “nice to have” in your back pocket. Need some help remembering the ones that saved your sanity when you were a child? Here’s a quick list:

  • The License Plate Game: Try to find a license plate from every state. Make sure you have a checklist or paper on hand to keep track.

  • I’m Going On A Picnic (ABC Game): From “The Ultimate Camp Resource” - The first person starts the game by saying, “I’m going on a picnic and I'm taking..." That person starts with the letter "A".  The second person repeats the first part of the sentence and what the first person is bringing, and then adds something starting with the letter "B".  This continues with everyone starting with the first part of the sentence and repeating what the previous people brought and adding the next letter of the alphabet.

  • Storytelling: Everyone tells one sentence and you go around in a circle until your adventure is complete (or until you get to your destination).

  • Punch Buggy (Or Hug Buggy): Every time you see a particular car (history dictates that you start with a Volkswagen Beetle), you perform an action. The person who finds it must shout out, “Punch Buggy,” and taps his or her competitor. Of course, you can do Tickle Buggy, Hug Buggy or any other kind of “Buggy” the family decides on!

  • I Spy: “I spy with my little eye something…GREEN!” Everyone takes turns finding things inside and outside of the car. They offer up just one clue and then the rest of the crew takes turns guessing until they run out of answers.

  • 20 Questions: Think of a noun and allow your family just 20 questions to guess what it is! SO much fun!

Have A Real Conversation: This is the time to have a real conversation with your family. How often do you get a chance to get uninterrupted, quality time with your little ones? When you aren’t on vacation, you are probably running around getting everyone where they need to be, plus dealing with your own agenda. Use these moments when you are all sitting in your comfy car to actually talk about the day. Talk about what you hope will come out of this current vacation and what memories have been your favorites so far.

Little Documenters:
Once you visit a fun destination, have something set up in the car for the kids to use to draw and write on to document their experiences. Each child should have their own little kit. Consider purchasing a notebook so the kids can have all their drawings and writings in one place. Talk about the perfect vacation keepsake!

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About the Author

Vera Sweeney

By: Vera Sweeney, Alamo Chief Travel Mom and founder of

The Alamo Chief Travel Moms are a council of lifestyle bloggers and mothers who have partnered with Alamo Rent A Car to inspire and celebrate family travel while sharing their personal experiences and tips they’ve learned along the way