Vacation is a time for families to bond over fun activities, explore new places and cultures, and make memories that stay with them for a lifetime. However, this “time off” can become a source of stress for parents when the little ones start to feel restless.

They resist and refuse everything you ask them to do or plan for them, and all you can hear is, “I’m bored” or “I don’t want to do this.” Meanwhile, they have a while-away agenda of playing games or snuggling in bed. On other days, they want to fuel their already bubbling energy with new adventures and experiences, which require you to create something new and exciting every time.

6 Ways of Keeping Your Kids Engaged on Vacation

As parents, you may feel at a loss for ideas and out of creative juice when keeping kids engaged during vacations. However, if you choose a family-friendly destination and plan a few fun activities, your children can enjoy the trip as much as you would.

Gatlinburg is one of the best family-friendly vacation spots in the U.S. From outdoor activities to amusement parks, many activities and places offer entertainment for adults and kids.

Here are some of the tips to help keep your kids engaged and entertained during the Gatlinburg vacation or any other destination of your choice:

Discover the best tips to keep your kids engaged and entertained during your next family vacation! Learn how exploring local cuisine, playing board games, and letting your kids choose activities can make your trip unforgettable.

Taste New Cuisines Everyday

Exploring local restaurants and trying different cuisines is an incredible way to introduce kids to different flavors, textures, and spices. Take them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to different places every day or on alternate days. This way, they can relish their time in Gatlinburg, TN, to the fullest. Let them choose what they want from the menu and encourage them to try something new.

When in Gatlinburg, explore downtown Gatlinburg restaurants and enjoy unique smoked meats, local cheeses, and pancakes. You’ll find delicious cuisines from all over the world, including Italian, Mexican, and Southern BBQ – sure to please the palates of adults and children alike.

Read Them a Story

Whether it’s a bedtime story from a book, an interactive audiobook, or even an e-book, stories are a terrific way to help your children relax after a long day of activities and sightseeing on vacation.

While reading, encourage your child to think about the characters and ask questions about what will happen next. Make up silly voices for the characters to bring the story to life, and use hand gestures and facial expressions to keep your child engaged.

If your child is old enough, let them take turns reading the story out loud. It will help your child gain confidence in their reading skills and develop a love for books. They will also learn new vocabulary words and how to pronounce them correctly.

Play Classic Board Games Together

Nothing engages kids as much as a fun, competitive board game. Pick up a few classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Pictionary for your family to play together and enjoy quality time. You can also purchase board games for kids of different ages to reduce screen time and engage their minds in old-fashioned yet fun activities.

Playing board games is a surefire way to help kids practice math, spelling, and critical thinking while having fun with their parents. It also encourages teamwork, concentration, and communication as they work together to solve the game’s challenges.

Ask Them to Carry Their Gear

Perhaps you’re inclined to believe your little ones are too tender to tote their possessions. However, instilling your children how to manage and organize their luggage at a young age can confer immense advantages. It also makes them feel more independent and involved in the travel experience.

So, make a tote bag or backpack for your kids and ask them to carry their items, such as water bottles, healthy snacks, toys, and other small items. Additionally, show them how to pack the items in their backpacks or bags and label them.

Remember to keep an eye on their belongings. Remind them to pick up their items and put things away in their proper place. It will help promote better organization and foster a sense of respect for their belongings.

Know Their Version of “Vacation Fun”

Sometimes parents plan activities they think are fun, but their kids believe the opposite. For instance, while you may consider visiting the museum incredibly fun and educational, your kids might dread it. Or sleeping early and waking up early to take a long drive might sound fun for you, but your children may not be quite so enthusiastic.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to find out what activities your children enjoy and plan the vacation accordingly. Instead of cramming as many “educational” visits into the trip as possible, let your kids give their input on which activities they would like to do.

You could also mix and match activities appealing to adults and kids, such as an outdoor adventure or visiting a historic landmark. Or if your children are older, they would enjoy a fun night out.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

When you get to the vacation spot, turn your regular sightseeing into an exciting scavenger hunt. Give your kids a list of items to look for throughout your travels. You can also set goals and challenges they must complete during the hunt, such as taking pictures of certain landmarks or finding a specific type of souvenir.

Once you return to the hotel, examine all the items your kids collected during their scavenger hunt. You can discuss the places they visited and the things they learned and celebrate their accomplishments with a special reward.


Children are a treasure trove of exuberance and zeal but also have short attention spans. Therefore, parents must improvise creatively to captivate their kids during vacations and entertain them.

Don’t limit yourself to conventional activities if you’re searching for inspiration. Venture out to the nearby eateries, cafes, and markets to discover tantalizing food choices that appeal to everyone’s taste buds. Unleash some old-school fun by playing classic board games or setting up a fun-filled scavenger hunt. Encourage your children to participate in packing their backpacks and assign them the task of carrying some snacks and drinks to feel more responsible and engaged. Lastly, know what activities or fun spots interest your children and plan a trip accordingly. 

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