Do you enjoy long trips with kids in the car? I’d be surprised if you answered ‘yes’. I dislike long car trips so much that I try to go on holidays within 2 hours drive from home or somewhere we can fly to. But sometimes driving can’t be avoided. For those occasions I’ve collected some ideas on how to keep the kids entertained without relying on technology too much.
Bring the kids’ favourite toys and activities
I draw the line at paint and playdough, but anything else goes. We bring books, craft, colouring in, building blocks, doll houses, toy picnic sets… The latest craze at our place is loom bands and they are prefect for the car – the kids can spend hours looming, it keeps them quiet and in the end they have something to show for their efforts. We find loom bands all over the floor later, but they are easy to clean up and it’s a small price to pay for peace.
Play simple games
Two of our favourite car games are ‘Spotto’ and ‘I spy’.
To play ‘Spotto’ you simply have to call out ‘Spotto’ every time you see a yellow car. We’ve tried playing it with other colours and yellow is the only one that works well – you get a few yellow cars, but not too many. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. Encourage your kids to discover for themselves (it will keep them occupied longer). If you want to complicate the game slightly, you can develop your own scoring system. For example, you can give 1 point for a car, 5 points for a truck, 10 points for a bus…
We play two versions of ‘I spy’. When the child says, ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with…’ (followed by the first letter of the word), it means they’re referring to something they can actually see. Or they can say, ‘I spy with my little mind…’ and then think of any word they like, whether the object is somewhere around them or not. In the very unlikely case that you’re not familiar with this game, I’ll mention that the goal is to guess the word your child is thinking of. It can be fascinating to discover how much your kids’ vocabulary has developed since the last time you played.
Sing songs with a twist
It’s a lot of fun to sing songs that everyone knows but with your own words. Using the tune of the song describe how you’re feeling, what you’re seeing around you or anything else that comes to mind. The kids catch onto it quickly and the lyrics they come up with are hilarious.
Bring healthy snacks
Have you noticed this phenomenon? Your kids might be completely uninterested in food at home, but as soon as they’re in the car they’re all starving. Now is the time to offer cut-up fruit and veggies, cheese sticks or other healthy snacks that they may not choose to eat otherwise.
Hopefully, these suggestions will make your next trip easier. They may even spark ideas for your own things to do in the car. Whatever activities your choose, make them fun for yourself, too, not just for your children. Wouldn’t it be nice to get there and think, ‘Wow, I had so much fun with my kids today’?
Image by Ryan McGuire/gratisography.com
By Tatiana Apostolova