This is a guest post by Debbie who blogs about traveling with kids at Delicious Baby. She is the expert when it comes to travel, so I highly recommend visiting her for tips for your travels.

I travel frequently when my kids, and I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to keep them entertained that don’t cost a lot of money or require me to carry a lot of heavy gear. We all know to take the free crayons with us when we leave a restaurant, but I have some other clever ideas about items you can pick up on the road and use as on-the-spot entertainment

  1. Use restaurant sugar packets and coffee mugs to play a quick game of three-card-monte (or mark a single sugar packet with a dot and mix it up with two unmarked sugar packets)
  2. Free magazines can be a lot of fun – go on scavenger hunts, find the strangest looking home in a local “for sale” magazine, or check out all the crazy products in the Sky Mall catalog.
  3. Empty shampoo containers are great for filling an pouring in the bathtub (just be sure to wash them well first)
  4. Use an empty matchbox to make a “bed” for a handmade paper doll. Have more than one? Stack them up and blow them down, or line them up like dominoes.
  5. Save that used kids menu to make a paper airplane during a park visit. Better yet, bring along a piece of paper from the hotel room pad and compare which airplane flies further, faster, and straighter.
  6. Pick up a free map from the rental car agency and let a younger child trace the roads, put stickers on the lakes, and otherwise decorate the map. For an older child, ask them to find the attractions you will be visiting or even help you navigate.
  7. Three words: “Barf Bag Puppets”

Want more ideas? Check out my post on keeping a child busy on a plane.

Reader Question: What are your favorite (Free) ways to keep your kids busy when you travel? Please leave a comment.


Debbie Dubrow is a mother of three (ages 4, 2 1/2 and 3mo) living in Seattle, WA. Her blog, is about traveling with babies, toddlers and kids, and is filled with personal travel stories, family-friendly city guides, and lots of tips and advice for traveling with kids.


And don’t miss 10 Tips for Finding Travel Freebies, another guest post by Delicious Baby, my favorite expert on traveling with kids.


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