10 ideas to keep your kids busy on long car journeys
Whether you’re en route to a far flung destination or simply travelling for longer than normal in the car, keeping kids happy and occupied is a challenge. After all, there is only so many times you can play I spy without completely losing the plot. We noticed some brilliant ideas shared by our Family Lowdown community and so we’ve pulled some of them into this list to help you (and your kids) enjoy the ride!
Keeping your kids happy on long car journeys is a subject that comes up a lot on our Facebook group and as always, our members have fantastic suggestions to help other parents. Here are just a few ideas that might help you and your children:
It will come as no surprise to see electronic devices high up on our list. When used safely and responsibly, electronic devices can be a lifesaver, particularly if you get stuck in traffic!
This can be tricky for some parents whose children suffer from travel sickness. One of the most popular responses to this is to ensure the electronic devices are mounted on the front-seat headrests instead of given to children to hold on their laps as looking ahead is usually less nausea-inducing than looking down. (We’ve heard that these Joy-Rides tablets are very effective at keeping sickness at bay).
In this case, parents suggest pre-downloading movies or favourite episodes for kids to view. Wireless headphones can make this more peaceful for other passengers and even allow multiple children to watch multiple screens.
If car-sickness is less of a concern, we have it on good authority that the following games are excellent:
Talking Tom and Friends: based on the popular TV show, suitable for ages 3 and up - there is plenty of silliness and funny noises to keep little ones entertained. TOP TIP: this is particularly good for car journeys as when you play it with the Wifi off, the ads disappear.
Pou: this is an app that tasks users with caring for a little pet potato through a variety of games that earn you points that you can spend on food and accessories for your little personalised pet. Again, an ideal one to play offline to keep children safe as this closes the messaging function.
Gruffalo game: this features 6 Gruffalo themed mini games that help kids to develop their reactions, logic and problem solving skills. It is specifically aimed at 3-7 year olds. It is £2.49 at the moment in the App store and includes 3-in-a-row and digital jigsaw challenges.
A little bit like our camping box (link here), we try to keep a car box organised for entertainment on long trips. This can include some little items to keep fidgety fingers busy, like poppit toys, fidget spinners, crayons, post it notes etc
When boredom sets in, get the whole car involved in a good old fashioned game of Eye Spy, or the ‘5 things’ game. Who can be the first to spot 5 things that are blue? Or 5 yellow vehicles? If your kids are older, maybe they could do a scavenger hunt on the journey and tick off the items as they go. This doesn’t need to be fancy - a quick scribble on a piece of paper before you leave will do the job. Give them a clipboard and pencil (you can keep these in the car box - remember to attach it to the clipboard to avoid the disaster of ‘I’ve dropped it!’) and let them focus on finding animals grazing on fields surrounding the motorway, signs for locations that start with T and so on.
MUSIC AND AUDIO STORIES
Stick on the soundtrack to their favourite movies and sing-along and utilise the free 30-day trial on Audible to listen to new or well known stories. Try to remember to download everything at home so you’re not scrabbling around for signal or wasting data.
Lastly, grab an empty bag before you leave for rubbish (if you’re feeling fancy, there are specific car bins you can buy) and bring all the normal bits and pieces you need with kids: snacks, refreshments, wet wipes, tissues and changes of clothes as needed! Good luck and drive safely.