The prospect of a long journey with your children or grandchildren in the back of the car can be unnerving to say the least. How on earth are you going to keep them entertained?
Thankfully, with a bit of planning - and a dash or inventiveness - you can keep the children entertained for hours. You may even manage to achieve a bit of peaceful driving.
Child car games
Car games have long been favourite travel activities for kids, and they’re free to boot.
They range from ‘I spy’ and ‘who can stay quiet the longest?’ to more sophisticated games like car bingo. For the uninitiated in car bingo, your child has a list of either the names or pictures of objects to spot while you drive. When they see them, circle or tick off the item on the list. The first child to complete a row or column wins the game. There are plenty of free printable sheets online.
If the idea of letting your child do some colouring in the back of the car brings to mind images of indelible scribbles all over the seats, fear not. There are plenty of non-marking or ‘magic’ pens available these days. Alternatively, you can just give them good old-fashioned and highly washable pencils and crayons, in case your child gets a bit too ‘artistic’ in the backseat.
If you manage to hit on the right topic for your little ones, audio books can help while away the hours.
If you adjust the settings on your car audio system so the sound is directed at your kids, you can even enjoy a bit of peace and quiet to boot.
If you’re struggling to find the right audio books and don’t want to spend a fortune, try your local library. You can often find some great audio CDs.
Of course, if you have a little book lover in the family who doesn’t get motion sickness, then print books are also a good option for car journeys.
Keep them involved in the journey
On longer trips, with smaller kids in particular, you’ll need to plan breaks into the journey and you can make this part of their entertainment. Involve children in looking out for any planned breaks that you will take along the way.
Also, kids tend to love maps. So, even if you’ve long been a convert to a sat nav, try dusting off your old road atlas and letting your kids track your progress.
Tell them a story
Just because you can’t read a book while you’re driving, obviously, that doesn’t mean you or another passenger can’t provide in-car story time.
You’ll just have to get inventive without a book in your hands and make something up. You can’t go too far wrong with this approach as kids generally love made-up stories, the sillier the better.
“Once upon a time, a family set off on a fantastic journey…”
A tablet or DVD player can be a blessing on long journeys.
Depending on your family rules on screen times, you might want to set boundaries about how long the children are allowed to play on these during the journey.
If you don’t have a spare tablet, those old smartphones you’ve replaced with updated handsets and no longer use can be great. If they’re on their last legs, delete all other applications and just keep an app like BBC iPlayer Kids, with a few choice programmes downloaded.
If your child gets motion sickness, then unfortunately many of the best forms of entertainment - like reading, watching films or using electronic devices - are off the menu.
Instead, try to distract children by talking, listening to music or singing songs. You’ll also need to ensure you take breaks, to ensure they get some fresh air, drink water or take a walk.
With a bit of inventiveness and forethought you can keep your kids entertained for hours on end.
Whether you ferry kids around, or enjoy a quieter driving experience, Rias is here to help. We provide comprehensive car insurance, so get your quote today and see what we could do for you.