15 Awesome Family Activities For Travelling in Cars, Trains, Buses and Planes!

  • 2

15 Awesome Family Activities For Travelling in Cars, Trains, Buses and Planes!

Please Note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links at the bottom of the page.

Earth based fun and learning doesn’t have to stop when your going on a journey.

The following ideas will entertain your kids and fire up their imaginations. Your journey will be a breeze!

With less squabbling between siblings and whining to parents. Earth based learning is a journey and adventure in itself. These ideas can be used during any journey and waiting time, no matter how small or long.

Although don’t feel that you have to provide constant entertainment for your kids.

Sometimes a little boredom does then a world of good! I tend to limit my son’s gaming screen time on journeys. As I feel he misses out on the experience of the journey and that experience is sometimes the best part of the trip.

I’ve included ideas and activities that are free and don’t require a lot of extra luggage.


Family Activities For Travelling in Cars, Trains, Buses and Planes!

 1.  Prepare a  small tin/tub of interesting natural materials for example pinecones, seeds,fern fronds, seaglass, little twigs, leaves, crystals, stones, gemstones,feathers,moss,conkers,shells etc.  

Include a magnifying glass, mini  pad and pencil. Don’t let your child see you preparing the box if possible so that it will be a surprise. Your child can be a backseat nature detective.

Suggest to your child that they explore each item and observed each one under the magnifying glass. Then sketch each of the items from the close up perspective. Afterwards ask your child to play detective and try and deduce where each item came from and make up  little stories of its adventures before arriving in the nature box.

It could be a relay story.

Your child starts the beginning and someone else adds the next part and so on until the story is complete. This can be as funny and as imaginative as possible!


2. Prepare an earth themed checklist for your child to spot during the journey. I’ve already created one that I have used with my son previously. Use it as a basis for your own personalised list. There’s space on the list to add your own pictures.You can find it here: http://bit.ly/2XDFN5E

3. Play the wildlife/environment A to Z game. Each player takes a turn to go through the alphabet and say something beginning with the letter they have on their turn.

A is for ant, B is for Beluga whale C is for Climate, D is for Dodo bird etc. Make it more challenging and on each person’s turn they have to recite everyone else’s comments to. Mnemonics can help with this.

This is where you think of a silly scene to do with the letter and the item.

So for D for Dodo bird you could imagine the dodo dancing and eating a huge pile of doughnuts! This helps remember the sequence. Have variations in the game. Such as A to Z of foods,animals,plants,bugs,countries,dog breeds etc.

4.Play the mediation game. Have your child mediate for 5-10 minutes. You could speak a guided meditation or play one on a CD.

A simple spoken one could be personalised to your child’s favourite nature area. Ask your child to imagine the sounds,smells,texture,taste of what you describe:

‘Close your eyes and we’ll count backwards from 10. When we get to 1  you’ll be at the beach…the sand feels warm and grainy…you slowly stroll off for a paddle in the sea…the sea is all frothy and cold…but refreshing…you kick the water and giggling splash your mum/dad…you can hear dogs woofing somewhere far away…seagulls screeching…and the sound of an ice cream van’s tinkling melody in the distance…

you look down and see a glistening object…reach down and pick it up…it’s emerald green and smooth…you wonder where it came from…your gaze drifts back towards the vast ocean… the waves look like huge galloping horses…with green glints…maybe the special emerald stone came from their bridle you think…maybe it was a gift…

you thank the sea horses and the waves crash and roll…you feel the sinking sand under your feet as you continue your adventure across the beach… and so on”

You might find that your child falls asleep but that’s OK! They’ll have had a peaceful rest.

5.Have your child look at the clouds and imagine fantastical creatures, buildings, shapes, animals, dinosaurs anything they can think of!

Was that a flying saucer cloud? What do the aliens want? To fix climate change? Save the trees? Stop endangered species disappearing?

Check out this cloud spotting guide so your child can also learn the names of different ones they spothttps://bbc.in/2MEIsuT

6. Download some plant and tree ID apps. Whenever you stop the car for a break or picnic have the kids be nature detectives and identify whatever growing things are around. 

Even when you just have time to spare during switching trains or buses, there’s bound to be the odd weed lurking around wanting to be identified.

Have a small pad where your kids can record the name of all the plants, trees and shrubbery that they have discovered during their travels. Kind of like a train spotting record. Take a photo if possible for sticking later in the pad.

I prefer book identification guides but when your travelling you don’t want extra clutter especially if you don’t have your own transport! An app for android: http://bit.ly/2R3U5KlApple: http://bit.ly/2KH5dvtand https://apple.co/2F0juQs


7.Play the guess what animal I am game. Each player takes turns making animal sounds and other people try and guess.

Have each person take turns making animal sounds as it can get unfair in kids eyes if someone always guesses and gets to go and they have a hard time guessing!

Be imaginative what sound would a unicorn make? Obviously not just a bog standard ‘neigh’ but a bit more jazzed up!

8. Learn a few songs. Check out the following link where you can print out nature and animal themed lyrics and download the accompanying  music to the songs. Have fun singing! It’ll make the journey go faster! http://bit.ly/2R1V39Vand animal songs http://bit.ly/2ICMWNA


9.Before your travels give your child a map of the area or journey. Even if it’s just a printed google maps itinerary.

It’ll help your child to feel more in control and independent during the journey. Meaning less acting up due to boredom. A compass is a good addition and your child can get experience with playing around with which way is North, South and so on.

Every so often you could ask your child for a Navigators assistance report, to make sure your on the right direction! You could give her/him landmarks/stations/mountains etc to look out for and to report when you’ve arrived at each one along your journey.

10. Gutenberg has a wide selection of free children’s books that can be downloaded onto your phone/ kindle/tablet and enjoyed during travel and waiting times. You don’t always have to spend money to access quality books for your kids. And when travelling less luggage is best.

The books are historical but thats what makes them charming and your kids will learn so much! Watch their vocabulary explode! Check out my post here for book ideas: http://bit.ly/2KExe6X

11. Play the guess what I’m thinking of game. Give your child 3 descriptions of your object and ask them to guess what your thinking of. For example a really easy one is ‘I’m thinking of something tall, wide and green and parts of it fall off in the autumn’ answer: a tree. Keep giving clues if your child asks. I spy is another child favourite. Or play 20 questions. Think of something nature themed and give your child 20 questions to try and guess what it is. 

12.Play the ‘Would you prefer’ game. For example ‘Would you prefer to sit on a spiky cactus or be stalked by a jaguar!’ or ‘Would you rather eat an aubergine raw or drink muddy water?’ Kids will have great fun thinking up outrageous ideas!

13.Play the ‘I love you to…’ game and make it earth themed! For instance try and outdo each other with ‘I love you all the way to Australia and up Mount Everest and back again’ or ‘I love you all the way through the Amazon rainforest past the Orangutans and all the way up Machu Picchu past the herd of llamas and back again 50 times!’

14. Ok its not strictly earth or nature themed. But you’ll be playing outside so I might get away with including this idea! Whenever you go anywhere or need to wait around for a while a packing of standard set of cards is a great idea.

There small, compact and provide endless games. Check out this post for 15 card games for kids: http://bit.ly/31mV7G1 Before your journey have your child learn how to play solitaire. Instant entertainment when you have no one to play with! This site explains the rules for kids: http://bit.ly/2MGjThc

15. Play the waving game. Earth based learning involves people watching too! It can be an interesting psychology lesson watching other people’s facial reactions to a happy wave from a stranger.

Some look cross, annoyed, happy, joyful and others may look stoic and ignore the friendly gesture!

Wave to other people in cars, buses and trains. In the hope that they reciprocate and wave back. Each wave is a win. Siblings can have great fun trying to outscore each other!

15 Awesome Family Activities For Travelling in Cars, Trains, Buses and Planes!


The following are Amazon Affiliate links. If you click through a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only display relevant resources that I have used previously or would like to. Thanks!

I have included a range of audio books suitable for a wide range of ages. My son loves the Rangers Apprentice audio books and he’s 14. He also loves the Hardy Boys and has re-listened to his audio books countless times! My daughters loved listening to the Famous Five and Secret Seven adventures especially in the car on long journeys. I also enjoyed hearing them again as I listened to them in my own childhood days! Have an awesome journey however small or long it is!


Welcome to Earth Cadets Education! The idea of ECE was born in Scotland and is managed by ordinary parents. It fills a gap that is usually missing from todays school curriculum. Its a hub of ideas and resources for your child's Eco-Earth Education. Everyone is welcome, home-schoolers and traditional schoolers alike.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.