On the Road: Toys for Fun Family Trips

If "Are We There Yet?" questions are as much a part of your family's vacations as disposable cameras and suntan lotion, consider changing the way you plan your children's traveling entertainment. If you're reluctant to go the DVD route, plenty of activities abound for car and plane rides for children of all ages. With their concentration confined to the backseat, maybe you'll even be able to sneak in some of your new book — or, if you're lucky, even a mini-nap.

Learn As You Go:

Leapster, Leapfrog Videogame meets classroom in this sleek handheld device, with games that include Dora the Explorer, Shrek and Spongebob to teach skills such as reading, math, vocab and critical and creative thinking. Kids will love its snazzy videogame appearance, and will be able to stay sharp on what they learn during school with the educational games. Also available from Leapfrog are slightly larger LeapPads, which are less videogame and more skills-focused.Ages: Depends on games or books, range from 4-10 for Leapster; 4-8 for various model LeapPadsPrice: $80 for Leapster, $20-$25 for game software; $40 for LeapPads, $15 for most books

Kids Travel: A Backseat Survival Kit, Klutz The myriad of activities included in this survival kit practically guarantee there is something to keep anyone occupied and entertained. Dollar bill folding tricks? Check. A palm reading guide? Perfect for precocious siblings. Endless puzzles, dot-to-dots, crosswords and mazes? Got it. Activities geared for both boys and girls as well as gender-specific ones, such as drawing comic book heroes or making string bracelets, allow for a wide range of interest and use.Ages: 6 and upPrice:$20

Road Trip Trivia, Klutz This book is a great time-killer for the curious-minded tween. Supplying answers to questions ranging from: "What is the most common broken bone?" to "What is a baby mule called?"; true and false factoids, flower species IDs and historical trivia, this FYI-filled book will spark some fun conversations for your whole family.Ages: 9 and upPrice:$13

Arts and Crafty:

Travel Turtle Lap Desk, Crayola Super-soft plush turtle on one side, firm plastic drawing surface on the other, this lap desk is ideal for drawing pictures or for playing other games on top of. It even comes with a coloring book and crayons to get started. When all that creativity wears your child out, the plush turtle detaches from the "desk" to become a great window-side pillow for sleepy-time.Ages: 3 and upPrice:$20

Travel Lite-Brite, Hasbro With other 80's favorites such as Cabbage Patch Kids and Rainbow Brite making their way back onto the pop culture radar, it is no surprise that Lite Brite is back too. In travel-size, this mini screen allows for creating artistic designs fast and easy—with built in storage space for the pegs. From a cat to a house to a sailboat, Lite Brite is an instant canvas for re-creating great sight-seeing spots from your trip.Ages: 4 and upPrice:$6

Game Time:

Travel Scrabble, Yahtzee and Boggle, Parker Brothers The games you loved growing up are better than ever in their mini formats. With soft zipper cases, these games have great travel-specific features. For example, Scrabble's tight-fitting tiles easily snap into place, allowing for pit-stop pauses that let you pack up and start again. Yahtzee has a felt-lined dice cup and rolling tray that softens the noise and keeps it contained to the backseat. Boggle also has a special letter cube grid and dome cover that make for a quieter game. Watch out though—before long, you may want to jump in and partake in a round with your tweens.Ages: 8 and upPrice: approximately $20 each

Zigity, Cranium This brand-new strategy card game is fun because it utilizes a different skill sets, allowing any kid—or adult, for that matter—to shine. You'll use different cards to either combine letters to create words, add up numbers to 11 (a la Blackjack), complete a puzzle from miscellaneous images or match up like images (think Vegas slot machines). Different action cards tossed in ensure the game stays interesting.Ages: 8 and upPrice: $13, available at Starbucks nationwide

Entertain This:

VideoNow, Hasbro If you're still waiting for prices to plummet on portable DVD players, consider treating your kids to VideoNow, a portable personal video player that plays special mini discs. The disc collection includes episodes of American Idol and I Love Lucy, as well Rugrats and SpongeBob, ideal for families with kids who range in age. The pocket-sized player fits easily into any kiddie backpack, and since discs run only a half-hour long, you can make sure kids have time to sleep and read as well.Ages: 6 and upPrice: Player: $50; discs: $8 each

Gameboy Advance SP, Nintendo This sleek, pocket-sized version, complete with a front-lit screen, a flip top and a cell phone-esque rechargeable battery, is a far cry from its 1989 ancestor. Just one year old yet immensely popular, Gameboy Advance SP will most definitely keep children smiling and occupied for endless amounts of time. Check out kid-friendly games such as Scooby Doo Monsters Unleashed, SpongeBob's Battle for Bikini Bottom and this summer's brand new Sonic 3. The size of a small makeup compact, Gameboy Advance SP fits easily into your handbag for safekeeping—great for snatching it away for a quick game of Tetris for you!Ages: most games 6 and upPrice: Gameboy Advance SP $100; most games $30