Tips and Tricks for Screen Free Traveling

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You guys, we just got back from vacation! I want to share some tips and tricks for screen free traveling. If you’re like us, we try to limit screen time. I’m not saying we’re perfect okay, but we are very intentional about the screens our kids use, how much screen time they have, and what they’re viewing on those screens. So if that’s important to you too, here’s my tips and tricks for screen free traveling with kids.

Tip #1 for Screen Free Traveling: Fun Box

The first thing I pack is a fun box. I actually pack three total. One for the two big kids in the third row, one for the toddler, and one for the baby. Each box contains age appropriate activities. I usually don’t buy anything new for these boxes. I simply go around the house and take things from different areas. Here’s what’s inside:

child backpacks leaned against fun time boxes full of age appropriate toys, books, and snacks for tips and tricks for traveling screen free

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The Big Kid Fun Box

  • Coloring books
  • Notebook
  • Library books & books we own (we go to the library before we leave & everyone picks out their own books)
  • Box of crayons
  • Tic-Tac-Toe game
  • Connect 4 (small version)
  • Road trip deck of cards
  • Make a face with stickers book
  • Fill in the blanks for practice math problems (Target dollar spot gift)
  • Snacks (small bags of chips, fruit snacks, fruit strips)

The Toddler Fun Box

  • Coloring books
  • Notebook
  • Library books & books we own (we go to the library before we leave & everyone picks out their own books)
  • Box of crayons
  • Make a face with stickers book
  • Snacks (small bags of chips, fruit snacks, fruit strips)
  • Dry erase book of the alphabet

The Baby Fun Box

  • Board books
  • Silicone teething toys
  • Crinkle books
  • Wooden toys
  • Sound machine

I use containers from around the house and they fit perfectly in between the car seats and the kids are able to reach and get out what they need.

tips and tricks for traveling screen free with toddler girl in car seat playing with an interactive storybook

Trick #1

Buy a few new items. Coloring books with favorite characters, stickers, sticky hands, activity books, etc. Keep these up front with you, when the going gets tough, bust out a new item!

Tip #2 for Screen Free Traveling: Games

Next, there are tons of road trip games! One that we all enjoy is an “In the car scavenger hunt”. It came in this set from Target. There’s also games like:

  • License plate game
  • I spy (we have a card set that was gifted to us)
  • Would you rather

Trick #2

These games go so much smoother when the parents play too. It helps to break up the time of them just doing something on their own. And they want us to play with them!

woman holding a deck of I spy road game cards

Tip #3 for Screen Free Traveling: Audiobooks

My personal favorite tip! This is the perfect time to listen to audiobooks! So after you’ve played a few games and everyone has got their giggles and screaming out, turn on an audiobook! We love Hoopla! It’s an app through our library! There’s no waiting to get the book you want, however, they don’t always have the books we want. But overall, it’s been great! Here’s a few of our favorite audiobooks:

  • Because of Winn Dixie
  • Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall

Trick #3

Eat a meal or eat snacks during this time. If they’re eating, they’re not talking! This is also how we do read alouds at home.

woman in kitchen holding simply nature fruit strips

Tip #4 for Screen Free Traveling: Incentives

So listen, it’s a fact of life that as humans we all perform better with an incentive. Set a timer for 30 minutes (or whatever time frame is manageable for your children) and reward them if they’ve had good behavior when the timer goes off. You can use anything for a reward, candy, snacks, stickers….whatever motives your child.

Trick #4

Don’t use the incentives until the trip is almost over or if you notice everyone is starting to fall apart. Using it too soon will set everyone up for failure.

BONUS

Even though we are committed to limited screen time, we pack the screens. We save these for when everyone is falling apart (parents included)! Before we head out I make sure everything is fully charged. I upload a few audiobooks from Hoopla and a few movies. We also have a leapfrog with a few educational games. So they don’t get free range on screens, I have the Kindle set up with a few educational games, audiobooks, and a couple of age appropriate movies. That’s all they have access to, everything else is password protected. We also have a really old travel DVD player and I pack a couple of movies for that too.

I hope this was helpful! And if you have more tips and tricks for traveling screen free with kids send them my way, I’d love some fresh, new ideas! Happy traveling, friends!

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