three happy kids sitting in a car

How to keep the kids entertained on long car journeys

  • 8 top tips to keep boredom at bay
 

Are we there yet?

Family holidays in the UK are times for excitement, adventure and quality time together. Though when you’re travelling with the whole family, during the trip itself you will need to keep everyone happily occupied. For some, the impending road trip can mean a chorus drone from the back seat of: “I’m bored”, “I need the toilet” and the inevitable “are we nearly there yet?” If you need some help to turn what could be a tiresome feat, in to family fun-time, then we have complied a few handy tips to stop everyone from going around the bend.

1. Play I-Spy

The classic go-to that can still entertain all ages. Make it easier for younger kids to play by taking a spin on the original version and introduce colours or give wider context, for example, “I spy something red” or “I spy something in the sky”. You can offer rewards of small snacks or the next song request for the winners.

2. Listen to an audio book

Audio books are great for really long journeys. Potentially, hours can pass with the kids lost in their own literary mini-adventures. It’ll leave them excited for your own family adventure when you get to your destination. You can take a portable MP3 player, or hire audio CDs from your local library.

3. Pack a magnetic white board

Magnetic white boards are great to have to hand and much tidier than lots of pieces of paper flying everywhere. Tie a pen to the board with string to keep things even neater. With a wipe-clean board, the kids can play hangman, noughts and crosses, or guess the doodle. You can even create picture puzzles by cutting a laminated postcard or photo into interesting shaped pieces and adding a small magnet to the back of each piece.

4. Make a travel scavenger hunt

Create a tick list of things for the kids to spot before you set off. Then, equip them with a cheap digital camera or camera-phone and ask them to try and snap as many things as they can from the list. Not sure they are ready to be budding photographers yet? Draw or write the items on a grid for the kids to tick off when they spot them - travel bingo!

5. Play name-that-tune

Appoint the best singer or whistler to start by humming or whistling a well-known tune for the rest of the car to guess the song name. The winner gets to go next. Mix it up by flicking between different radio stations, with the aim to guess the song title and artist before it gets announced on-air.

6. Create DIY activity bags

Encourage the kids to make their own travel packs. Ask them to carefully select their favourite small toys, books and games to take for the trip. Puzzle books, hand-held consoles and magnetic board games are good to keep their little minds busy. Choose a bag that can be easily strapped to the back of car seats for easy access. Add some healthy snacks and let them know as each hour passes that it’s time to help themselves to a tasty treat.

7. Play the licence plate game

A simple game for every age group. Help younger ones learn the alphabet by asking them to call out the letters when they see them – the first to ‘z’ wins. Older members can make up phrases for three letters next to each other, for example, E-S-H could be “Emily’s Spikey Hedgehog”.

8. Wind down with a film

When all the snacks have been eaten, the games run dry, and quibbles are looking likely, it may be time to unveil the tablet or portable DVD player with a pre-downloaded film. Pick their favourite, hand over the head-phones and prepare for some peace and quiet on the open road.

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