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Best Devices to Entertain Kids on Long Trips
If you haven’t got a tablet for your kids, we’re all very impressed and everything, but it’s time to bite the bullet. Imagine back to when you were a kid on those long car trips, wouldn’t you have given anything to watch movies for those long hours in the car? We parents might be a little self-conscious when our kids' eyes are glued to a screen, but let’s throw that shame out the window for our long trips.
Now that we’ve calmed down our parental anxieties, let’s talk about why devices like the Amazon Fire Kids tablet and the Nintendo Switch work so well for long car trips.
Amazon Fire Kids Tablet
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can get Amazon Kids+ for just $2.99 a month (or $4.99/month if you’re not a Prime member). Only a few bucks a month for thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows (including Dora the Explorer, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Cocomelon), games, and education apps makes for a pretty good deal. Rest assured that all of the content your kid can access with Amazon Kids+ is much better than the random (and sort of creepy) videos they find on YouTube Kids.
Perhaps the best part about Amazon Kids+ is that you can download all this content for offline use. That means your kid can play and watch as much as they want without a Wi-Fi connection, as long as you remember to download everything at home before you leave on your trip.
I was so impressed with Amazon Kids+ that I actually sold our iPad in favor of the Fire Kids tablet. It helps that the Amazon Fire Kids tablet is hundreds of dollars cheaper than an iPad.
You can buy a Fire HD 9 Kids tablet for $139.99 from Amazon.
Amazon gives you a free two-year warranty when you buy a Fire Kids tablet. I already took advantage of the warranty after my son poured a bowl full of milk straight on the tablet. That particular tablet did not survive the incident, but it was replaced with a brand new tablet, for free, a few days later.
Kindle Paperwhite Kids
Speaking of Amazon, you get a year of Amazon Kids+ for free when you purchase the Kindle Paperwhite Kids device. With that subscription, your kid gets access to thousands of kid-friendly books and hundreds of Audible books. Before you ask, yes, the entire Harry Potter series is available with the subscription. Amazon has every genre that could possibly interest your kid, from classic literature, like The Hobbit, to books about Alexander Hamilton.
If your kid likes to read, you can find an endless supply of books to keep them occupied for however long the traveling takes. Just make sure to download all the content your kid will want while connected to Wi-Fi, so they can read on an airplane, bus, car, or wherever.
Even if you don’t have access to public Wi-Fi, you can use your mobile hotspot in a pinch to download a few books. If you have unlimited data plans with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon, you likely have enough hotspot data to download a gig or two of content before your data speeds throttle.
Currently, the Kindle Paper White edition costs $159.99 on Amazon
This is one of those situations where you can buy something for your kid, but it’s actually for you. A Nintendo Switch has such a massive catalog of games, so you can easily find something for your kid and something for yourself after they go to bed. You can also play games together during a long flight or in the back seat of a car.
Currently, you can get a Nintendo Switch for $299 from Amazon, which is saying something because not too long ago you either had to get very lucky or pay an exorbitant amount of money on eBay to get your hands on a Nintendo Switch.
You can also save $100 and go with a Nintendo Switch Lite. The only catch with the Lite edition is that you can’t dock the device and play it on a bigger screen. If you expect you’ll only use it while traveling or for your little ones, you won’t really need to worry about docking your Switch anyways.
As for games, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalk Saga just landed on the Nintendo Switch, which will absolutely entertain both you and your kids during the downtime on your trip. You play through all nine movies on this single game cartridge. As for you, dear reader, Hades is one of the best video games we’ve ever played, and it would make a perfect traveling companion for any length of trip.
Writing Tablet/Doodle Board
This writing tablet/doodle board from Amazon can keep kids occupied for hours, and it only costs you $12.99 on Amazon. It’s super easy to throw a doodle board into a backpack wherever you travel and use it to draw pictures, make lists, or play a classic game of hangman.
Granted, it will likely take more involvement from the parent for kids to get the most use out of a simpler device like this one. If you have time and space while traveling, you can teach your kid all the silly games we played on paper to pass the time. We still play Dots and Boxes on long, boring trips.
Recap: Best devices to entertain kids on long trips
Every parent dreads the long car trip or flight with a young one, but these devices can certainly make things a whole lot easier. All of these devices will keep your kid engaged with positive, kid-friendly content that shouldn’t make you feel guilty about indulging. Honestly, you work hard as a parent, how about you get some personal time during a flight rather than having to desperately wrangle your kid for the entire time.
Whether you’re going on a long road trip with your kid, or taking a cross-country flight, these devices can make both your lives way easier:
- Amazon Fire Kids Tablet: The Amazon Fire Kids tablet costs way less than an iPad, and comes with built-in software made for kids. If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can get Amazon Kids+ for $2.99 a month, which gives them immediate access to great kids shows, books, apps, and activities. You can buy the latest Fire Kids Tablet from Amazon for $139.99 on Amazon.
- Kindle Paperwhite Kids: Your Amazon Kids+ subscription also works for this kid-friendly e-reader. With the subscription, you can download thousands of books and hundreds of Audible books for your kid to enjoy during your travels. You can get the latest Kindle Paperwhite Kids for $159.99 on Amazon
- Nintendo Switch: The Nintendo Switch is an utterly delightful device that both you and your kids can enjoy separately and together. You can get the standard Switch which you can play on the go or plug into a TV for $299 on Amazon. Or you can get the cheaper Switch Lite from Amazon for $199.99 on Amazon, but it only works on the go and can’t be plugged into a TV.
- Writing Tablet/Doodle Board: If you don’t want to spend big money on a piece of tech for your kids, you can pick up this writing tablet/doodle board for $12.99 on Amazon. Your kid can draw pictures, write stories, and make lists as much as they want without ever running out of paper.
Hopefully you can make it to your destination without any kid-induced headaches on the way.
To find the best devices to keep kids entertained on long road trips, we pulled from personal experience and customer reviews. I’ve personally tested all of these devices with my two-year-old son, and they’ve made a huge difference while traveling.
In fact, the Amazon Fire Kid tablet kept him occupied enough to actually wear a mask while flying in an airplane. Reading a book to him with a Kindle Paperwhite Kids didn’t have as much of a positive impact, but will make a lot of sense for older kids.