Blogs     Family Fun    

Art Supplies to Take on Your Travels This Summer

Portable art supplies for your next road trip.

art supplies for summer travel

There are only 21 days left in our school year and we can already hear the open road calling. My kids and I enjoy taking road trips to visit friends and family throughout our summer.  Keeping the kids occupied during the down time in our travels can be tricky. It’s easy to give them a screen to interact with, but it can be hard to pull them away. To keep the learning and creativity going we take our art supplies along with us. My kids will get creative while waiting for dinner, or if there is a lull between activities.

Here are some of our favorite supplies to take on the road:



Sticker books keep my kids pretty entertained. We like to get the big books with reusable stickers. This way they can reuse the stickers over and over and create different scenes. It isn’t super artsy, but it still requires their imagination and it gives me time to focus on the road.

A clipboard filled with coloring pages or blank pages for your child to draw with is a super easy and affordable art option. Kids can draw what they see while riding along, create gifts for family while on their way to visit, or journal the family adventure.


Washable crayons and markers are a must while traveling. I can typically wash away a stray stroke of the marker with a baby wipe. This assures me that there isn’t permanent damage done to the hotel couch, or the nice white bed linens. Bring along a favorite coloring book to go with your coloring instruments.

Shaving cream gel isn’t just an essential for daily hygiene, but it also makes for fun bath time art play. Before your kid gets in the tub spray the wall with shaving gel. When your kid gets in they can use it to “paint” on the walls. This is a great way for really young kids to practice writing their letters and numbers. I use the gel because it turns from blue to white and adds an extra element of fun. Shaving cream washes away easily when the fun is over.

RELATED: Keep everyone happy on a family vacation


Now that my kids are older they still pack up their favorite supplies to bring to grandma’s house. They pull out their favorite coloring books and pencils while I coordinate family plans. Or they bring along a craft kit to create individual art projects with. They enjoy bringing these out after dinner while the adults chat, or before bedtime to unwind. It’s also a fun way for less tech savvy grandparents to connect with their grand-kids.

My kids love painting any chance they get. But bringing along brushes and paint sets can be a hassle. That’s why we love washable water color pens! They travel well for mess free painting on the go. Just remove the cap and begin painting. Just remember to bring paper and allow time for your child’s creations to dry before you leave.


When my kids were very little we avoided the overcrowded chain restaurants and dined mostly at smaller establishments. It was easier to get personalized service and out the door much quicker with a kicking toddler. The smaller establishments do not always have a bunch of things to keep kids occupied. So we started carrying our own. Or rather my kids did. I gave each of them a small back pack they could fill with their own creative supplies like a note book and crayons, stickers and markers. They loved getting to use these things at the big tables and it kept them busy until the food came out.

A mini Etch-a-Sketch, or a MagnaDoodle does not have the same bells and whistles an iPad has, but they do allow my kids to doodle over and over again without the lure of the screen sucking them in. We can play and doodle together while we wait for our meal.

Dollar stores now carry coloring packs filled with mini coloring books, markers and stickers all coordinated by your child’s favorite movie/TV character. There is no shame in grabbing a few different characters and pulling out a pack at each location you need to keep your kid entertained in. Art doesn’t have to hang in a gallery to be seen as art and art can happen anywhere.

What are your tips for helping kids stay creative during summer travels?

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest.  



Other articles by The Whatever Mom