How to Entertain Kids Who Get Car Sick {Road Trip Survival Guide}

Road trips are hard enough, but throw in a car-sick-prone kid, and you’ve really got a challenge. How will you entertain your child in the car when she gets queasy reading, watching movies, or even coloring?

Car sick doesn't have to mean boring! These are some ways to make a screen free road trip fun for kids who tend to get motion sick.

How to Entertain Kids Who Get Car Sick

It is possible.
Here are three easy groups of ideas.


Once your child is preschool age, audiobooks are your biggest lifesaver. Your kid can gaze out the window, yet be entertained. If you choose stories that you’ll enjoy also, then the time will pass a little faster for you too.
You can borrow children’s audiobooks from your library, or you can buy them. We love the library, but I know not everyone has a great one nearby.
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Audible has a wide selection of children’s books. Normally, you can try out the service for a month with one free book. Right now, though, if you click this link (affiliate) you can get two free audiobooks. Sometimes several children’s books are bundled together into one “book” too!

Tips for Getting Started with Audiobooks

  •          Start with collections of simple short stories
  •          Try stories they already know
  •          Push <Play> when they’re alert and well rested
  •          Hit pause to explain
  •          If they don’t like it try a different story

We started with audio version of books we’d already read and enjoyed at home. Some of our early audiobooks were classic children’s stories:


We listened to them on a road trip to Colorado when my twins were 4. The girls could follow along without seeing the pictures because they’d already seen them plenty at home.

Once the kids could follow short stories well, we introduced chapter books. Our family has enjoyed many series books:

…and more (affiliate links).

One final audio book tip – here’s a way to stretch out the length of time each book lasts, plus increase comprehension: stop and talk. When you get to the end of a section, stop the story and talk about it. You can…
  • Check that your child understood
  • Ask what they would do if they were in the story
  • Have fun making predictions about what will happen next
  • Help the child relate what’s going on in the story to other familiar stories and to real life.

Talking games

There are tons of verbal games you can play in the car. I wrote about our favorite car trip games last year. Most of these would work for a carsick prone child. I think we’ve gotten the most mileage out of I Spy, but you can only play that for so long before everyone is tired of it.


We’ve recently started playing 20 questions – I’m not sure my 6 year old twins would have been successful with it before now. Another game we’ve started playing is “Would You Rather” based on the card game of that name. We ask silly questions like, “would you rather eat Brussels sprouts or chocolate covered ants?” and “would you rather go to school in your pajamas or sleep in your bed with your shoes on?” Everyone wants a turn thinking of outlandish questions, and we all end up in fits of giggles.


Fill up your music player with all the fun children’s music you can find. Make sure you like it too! I don’t feel as confident recommending music as I do books. I love this list of kids’ music that Nell on Rhythms of Play compiled. I can add just a few more:
(affiliate links)
Soundtracks from your kids’ favorite movies might also be a good bet.

Having a tendency for motion sickness doesn’t have to sentence your child to hours of boredom. Car trips are a great time for families to unplug and enjoy time together – and no one needs to get car sick staring at a sceen.

Road Trips | Carsick doesn't have to mean boring! These are some ways to make a screen free road trip fun for kids who tend to get motion sick.

P.S. I just found some great information from a pediatrician about motion sickness. If you want a medical perspective, you may find it helpful.


  1. We had so much fun with audio books last year and then the youngest got old enough to have his own opinion and vetoed every book the older kids wanted to listen to. The only thing that works this year are music CDs …

    1. Oh, that's tough! I'm glad they at least share musical taste. My ids agree on audiobooks a lot better than they agree on music. A few years back, though, we could only listen to my oldest's audiobooks when the (younger) twins were napping.

  2. I always got car-sick on trips as a kid and it wasn't until I became an adult and actually got to sit in the front seat for one that I realized that might have made the difference all along!

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