15 ingenious ways to keep kids quiet during holiday travels

No matter how many hours you have on your itinerary, you won’t hear “I’m bored” with these ideas.

If you’ve got a long plane or car ride coming up, and you have kids, you are going to need a lot of tricks up your sleeve to keep kids (quietly) happy the whole way there.

Lucky for you, these 10 ideas are cute, quiet, and perfectly packable:

1. Indian style art

Mandala coloring books are filled with intricate designs that are sure to keep kids busy for hours. Pack a few colored pencils (don’t pack the whole box unless you like chasing down stray pencils) and let little fingers get busy.

Pick up a mandala coloring book here or here.

Another #mandala at #utsastressdownday @utsalearnassist #lovemyjob #mandalacoloring

A photo posted by Heather Menefee Frazer (@hmfrazer247) on

2. Portable playing

Play dough can get a little messy if you aren’t careful but it’s a great time-waster if your kids can resist the urge to throw pieces everywhere. The little containers are also very suitcase friendly.

#rainbow #colurfull #playdoh

A photo posted by Play-doh (@playdohmagic) on

3. Flying with felt

This craft takes a little more planning before you leave, but it does pay off in the end.

Felt books are a darling way to keep kids quietly playing for hours. This blogger has a tutorial for a “Mr. Potato Head” book, but there are dozens of other options out there.

L for #leaf no wait…lift the leaf and you also have a #lion in our #handmade #felt #namebooks ??x

A photo posted by Violet & Fox (@violetandfox) on

4. Packable puzzles

With all those pieces, puzzles would be a nightmare to pack on a plane or car, but these craft stick versions are perfect for just that. This bloghas a couple of great examples, but feel free to print off any image to glue on and play with.

5. Carry on cards

Pack up some of these cute cut outs and some yarn and you are set with a quiet activity that’s easy to pull out in a fussy emergency.

Check out this blog to find a template to make a handful of sewing cards, but once you get the concept down, make whatever shapes you’d like.

6. Paper pastimes

Origami is sure to entertain your kids. Print off a tutorialor two to take with you and have your kids try to fold their own designs (with your help).

With cranes, frogs, and flowers to play with afterwards, you all should be set for at least awhile.

Påske uden alkohol og sukker har gjort mig gammel og mærkelig. #origami #origamianimals #formegetfritid

A photo posted by Charlotte (@charlottelyberth) on

7. B-I-N-G-O

One blogger has quite the print out for a fabulous game of travel bingo.

Keep minds and eyes busy looking for all the items on their board before (quietly) declaring bingo! Use coins or candies to keep track of your wins and see who can be the first to blackout their board.

entspanntes Reisen mit #Travelbingo von #Hema – Toll!

A photo posted by Silke Ellenbeck (@bastelfieber) on

8. Passport, please!

Hold onto your child’s real passport for safekeeping, but hand them this printout versionto color, and fill with stickers on the flight.

Double points if you keep a copy for your kids to fill out on the way home with all the little tickets and pamphlets you collected on your trip.

9. Sticky windows

Perfect for a car ride or window seat on a plane, the little window stickers you can buy are a fun interactive way to pass the time without needing much else.

Because what else are you supposed to do at 5am?!? #pacman #windowstickers

A photo posted by Brendan Woodley (@meatcore) on

10. Flight or no flight finger painting

I know, I know; finger painting seems to be the least travel friendly activity ever invented. One blogger got around the mess by putting paint blobs in a heavy duty freezer ziplock for all the fun but none of the cleanup.

10. Stick ’em

A few velcro pieces and a stack of popsicle sticks is all you need to spend some travel time building and spelling the hours away. Learn how to make themhere.

11. Pipe cleaner pals

Martha Stewarthas the cutest tutorial to make the most darling little pipe cleaner animals you’ve ever seen. Print out the tutorial and spend time both making and playing with your new friends.

12. Sticky note games

A stack of sticky notes means endless fun playing mini games of tic-tac-toe, teeny drawings, making flip books, or this noun game(if you have a little room to walk around).

#stickynotes #postitaday #postitart #postitnote #postitnotes #car #balloons #city #escape #floating

A photo posted by Spencer Seastrom (@spencerthesparrow) on

13. Rivers and roads

Painter’s tape and a couple of cars is all you need for this entertaining game. “Draw” a road or river with the painter’s tape on an airline tray table and create your own little town to play with. It’s a quiet activity and cleanup is a breeze.

#taperoad #funwithmom #happybaby #momlovesmetodeath

A photo posted by stephysheily (@stephysheily) on

14. Busy, busy bottles

This blogging mamacreated a busy bottle to keep kids very much occupied. Hide little trinkets and toys in a clear plastic bottle and play a game of hide and seek that could last for an hour or two.

Of course, a laptop full of movies with a pair of headphones works well too. Just don’t pull out ALL the fun games on the way there because you’ve still got the whole way home too!

Emily Cummings

Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.