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How to keep kids entertained on long car journeys

How to keep kids entertained on long car journeys

largetwo boys travelling in car playing

1. Technology

Nowadays technology is everywhere. You may see it as the lazy option, but it has been shown that limited screen time is beneficial to children’s learning and can keep them occupied for long periods of time. Before you go, make sure there are some apps/movies downloaded that you approve of so they can access these without the need for wifi. If you have more than one child, you could even encourage them to play together with the use of some earphone splitters to prevent arguments.

2. Snacks

Before you set off, make sure you pack a good supply of snacks – a fast way to get quiet in the back! You could even be creative and put together snacks that will entertain the kids, like making your own snack necklaces or hiding some sweets for those moments an apple won’t do

3. Toys

Pack a stash of toys, crafts and things like puzzles in the middle so they are easily accessible, and it might be a good idea to stash some extras away until they’re needed. You could even get some cheap magazines and colouring books before the journey so they have something new to keep them entertained

4. I-Spy

A traditional game of I-Spy can buy you some limited time, although there’s not much to go at on a motorway so make sure you have some other traditional games up your sleeve for when this one wears out!

5. Number plate Game

A classic for adults and kids alike. There are some different variations on this – we used to make up words for the last three digits on a number plate, or you could count how many you see of a particular model year.

6. Bribery

Good old fashioned bribery should work in the most stressful situations. You could use money as a bribe and give them a certain amount if they’re good for a period of time (for example, 20p every 20 minutes) and then let them spend it at the service station, or have some rules before you set off which forfeits money given at the start of the journey

7. Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great way to keep the kids quiet. Choose a long one like Harry Potter if you want some long-term respite from playing games

8. Pub Signs

One for older children, Take it in turns to look for pubs – the name and sign will determine how many points are scored by the number of legs and arms there are - for example The Black Horse will score 4 and the Crown will score a paltry 0

9. Overtaking Game

This works by splitting the car so one team counts up the number of times you are overtaken and the other team counts the number of times you overtake to see who is the winner.

10. Drive at Night

This may seem like an obvious one, but it could mean a very peaceful car journey. Get the kids ready for bed before you set off and look forward to your choice of music and uninterrupted (quiet) adult conversation

11. Make up a story

Take it in turns to think of a line for a story. So for example, the first person might say something like ‘Once upon a time, there was a princess trapped in a tower….’ And the second person has to add a sentence to this, and so on. With younger children, this could go off in a seriously strange direction, but it all adds to the entertainment value!

12. Break up the journey

An important one, not only to allow the kids to stretch their legs and let off some steam, but also for you to recharge and make sure you are well rested for a long journey. You don’t want to risk driving tired when you’ve got the whole family in the car. It might be a good idea to allow extra time and look for family friendly attractions not too far from your route so you can get out and see things on the way to your destination rather than just stopping at service stations.

13. Counting games

These can take numerous forms - either you can set a time limit to spot as many road signs etc. as you can or set an amount of something to find, for example, the first person to spot 10 blue cars wins.

14. Musical Alphabet

A good one for ending arguments about music in the car! Take it in turns to choose a song or artist beginning with A right through to Z. You’re guaranteed an eclectic choice!

15. Car Bingo

You issue each child with pictures of things to spot (if you’re lacking inspiration google it for some free printable sheets). As they see them, they tick them off or circle them and the first to complete a row or column wins the game. There is another version of this where the child has to find an object from each letter of the alphabet and write it down.

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24th of June 2020

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