Keeping minds busy while travelling

Have you got a long journey planned this summer or maybe lots of journeys planned to visit family and friends. Travelling together can be a great time to connect with your children. It’s easy for them to get absorbed in watching movies on their devices but why not break it up with some other games that could be played together in the car, train or plane.

Educational travel games to play with your kids

Talking games are perfect for any method of transport. They’re great for developing English language skills and challenging your memory. 

  • “I spy” - it’s a family classic and my brother and I could go on for hours when I was young. Have you played it with your kids yet? You can adjust it to their ability using phonic sounds rather than letters or try colours e.g. “I spy something that’s purple.” Remember to choose something that you’ll still be able to see in a few minutes time!

  • 20 Questions - think of an object, person or place. Then allow each person to ask a question. You can only answer ‘yes or no’ and see if you can guess it right before the 20 questions are up. For younger children you might make it more specific e.g. I’m thinking of an animal and then give them 10 questions to ask. 

  • Alphabet game - Start with the letter 'A' and take turns finding objects around you that begin with each letter of the alphabet. For example, "A is for aeroplane," "B is for buckle," and so on.

  • Memory game - Turn your alphabet game into a memory game. How many objects can you remember?  Begin by saying, "I'm going on a trip, and I'm bringing..." followed by an item that starts with the letter 'A.' e.g. apple. The next person repeats the sentence, includes the 'apple’, and adds an item starting with 'B'. Continue the pattern and see how long you can keep going. 

  • Storytelling - Start with a simple story opener e.g. Once upon a time there was a… the next person adds a line to the story. Take it in turns and keep adding to the story. It’s bound to get silly. Get creative and have a giggle!

  • Chain games - Choose a theme e.g. animals. Say an animal word and the next person needs to follow with the letter the first word ended with e.g. Elephant - Tiger - rabbit etc.

Perfect family games for the plane or train

Dobble - we love a game of Dobble at Explore Learning. Fast paced and flexible matching game that is ideal for popping in your hand luggage and can be played on a tray table.

Sock game - a simple game to test your sense of touch. You need a long clean sock and some small items that you can put in it. Playing pieces from board games are ideal like Monopoly, chess, scrabble and then include other items such as a hair band, dice, marble, lego piece. Make a list of everything that goes in the sock then challenge each other to find an item from the list. Make two socks with identical pieces and see who can find the items first.

Noughts and crosses - draw out a simple grid of 9 squares 3 by 3 and take in turns to place a ‘0’ or a ‘x’ in each one. The first person to get a row of three wins. Why not make it a slightly trickier game and draw a larger grid and try doing 4 in a row.

Uno - another simple card game that can fit in a pocket. Easy to adapt to different numbers of players and suitable for all ages.

Hangman - a great way to improve vocabulary and spelling and you just need some paper and pen. 

Pictionary - choose a word or phrase and try to draw clues as to what it is. Perfect for stimulating creativity and laughter!

Tangrams - Travel tangrams are small and light, with plenty of scope for creativity. Some are even magnetic which is very handy to reduce losing any of the pieces. See how many different pictures/ shapes you can make with a set of tangram pieces. 

Categories - Write down a list of categories e.g. fictional character, fruit, country, TV show, song and then agree a letter. Each person in the family needs to write down a word that fits that category. Who can do it the fastest?

For more ideas check out the Explore Learning resources hub. Wherever you travel this holiday, have an amazing time and remember summer is the perfect time to grow in body and mind.

netmums recommended
mumsnet rated
Education Investor Awards 2019 Winner Private tutoring company
Sunday Times best big companies to work for 2019
Cyber Essentials Certified Plus
2019 Business Excellence Winner - Best After School Tuition Provider - UK - Explore learning

Your nearest centres

Sorry, we don't have any centres within {{distance}} miles

image alt text from CMS

Explore learning online tuition

We also offer online tuition to flexibly fit into your family’s life.

Results from outside {{distance}} miles

Please select a centre

Showing {{count}} closest to '{{postcode}}'




{{distance}} miles

Select this centre

Search again

Please enter a valid postcode or location