Eco-Friendly Travel Activities For Family Road Trips

Keeping kids busy in the car!
family sitting on back of open hatchback
© Can Stock Photo / GekaSkr

Travelling season is upon us and you’re sitting at a table planning your family vacation.

Planning the fun at your destination is easy! But sometimes the travel can take it out of all of you. Keeping everyone in sight, in control, entertained, and happy can be a lot of work, and no one wants to start a vacation with a cranky-pants!

So today, we are sharing four eco-friendly activities you can do with your children while travelling to your destination!

Choose rest areas that are surrounded by nature

The health benefits of the outdoors are well known.  The Canadian Pediatric Society states that unstructured outdoor play is critical to the health of children. It assists in preventing obesity by giving child ren the opportunity to run, jump, climb, swim, dance and more, all of which provide aerobic exercise and strength training. Studies also report that contact with nature can help reduce stress levels and positively impact conditions such as anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Outdoor play also encourages learning and problem-solving skills and promotes social development by learning how to work in groups. Choosing rest areas near parks or surrounded by nature provides you with the opportunity for your children to play, learn and grow in nature.

All you need to do is accompany your children for a walk and let them do their thing! They can let out some energy, absorb fresh air and sun, and be in better spirits for the rest of the journey. 

Crafting Animals

The title says it all! But arts and crafts in a moving vehicle? Yes it’s possible!

You'll need a cookie baking pan, pipe cleaners, photos of animals, buttons and anything else you'd like to bring along. Show your child an animal picture and ask them to recreate the image with the pipe cleaners and supplies they have. They will use the baking pan to make the animals and hold the supplies. 

As your child participates in this activitiy, they will use their creativity and imagination. They will also utilize their problem-solving and fine motor skills making this activity a great opportunity for their development.

small boy in a red Thunderbird

Find the recyclable products

It's important that children know how to reduce, reuse and recycle to help the environment. This little activity is great to help children become more aware of the items they can recycle AND stimulates their creativity in the process.

  •  Point to objects that you see from your car windows while driving or when parked at a rest area.
  •  Ask your child if they think that item can be reused or recycle.
  •  Listen to their comments and provide information if a teaching opportunity presents itself.
  •  You can also assist your child in recycling products in the appropriate bins while travelling (ex: finding a bottle on the ground or recycling your own plastic wrapper).

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Make travelling into a game!

  • Before you leave from home, create a little “bingo” card with pictures of trees, flowers and animals you might see along your travels (you can even make a card specifically for trees or a card specifically for flowers, etc.).
  • As you’re driving to your destination (or stopping at rest areas), ask your children to try to spot some of the objects on their cards.
  • As they find these, they can place an (X) on the photo they’ve found.

Tip 1: You can even get a little creative and laminate the cards so you can reuse them. By laminating them, you can use dry erase markers for the X’s.

Tip 2: You can also create a scavenger hunt with physical objects. Example: Instead of just crossing off the images they find on the paper, they can collect them to put them in their own bags until they have found everything they need!

These activities can be a great way to discuss the environment and to create learning opportunities for your children. Happy children means happy parents!