Guest post by Sainsburys Family Blogger Network
“Are we there yet?”
“She’s pushing me!”
Sound familiar? Long car journeys with children can be difficult, so we’ve come up with some ideas to keep your kids entertained on the road.
There are a million and one car games to play; here are just a few.
• Spot the… Get your kids to spot things on the way, such as yellow cars. Alternatively, make a list of things to spot (someone on rollerskates, a man carrying shopping, an aeroplane, etc) which they can tick off along the way.
• I spy It’s classic for a reason, but don’t spy things outside the car. No one will guess what someone spied two miles back!
• Number plate game Spot a number plate and use the last three letters to make up words or sayings. For example, B113 SGT could be ‘Sergeant’ or ‘Silly Girl Today’.
• Alphabet game Choose a theme, such as first names, TV shows or animals, and think of an example beginning with each letter of the alphabet. To make it harder, think of a name, a place where that person lives and their occupation. So ‘A’ could be: Annie from America is an archaeologist.
• The story game Take turns to make up lines of a story. For instance: ‘One day, a little princess went for a walk… She suddenly saw a stinky sock… She decided to put it on…’
For young children, colouring, sticker, quiz and puzzle books are invaluable. Books and magazines are also great for teenagers. If your child gets carsick from reading, bring along audiobooks. If you don’t want to listen to their stories, give them headphones and an audio device.
Bring iPods/MP3 players
Take music to sing along with. Little ones love nursery rhymes and older kids can zone out to their favourite tunes. If you can’t stand their music, make sure they have a device that they can plug headphones into.
A portable DVD player doesn’t always come cheap, but the silence from the backseat as your children become engrossed in a film can make it worth every penny.
Bring games consoles
Again, these will keep kids quiet – don’t forget to bring a selection of games. Playing these devices for too long can bring on nausea, so ensure they take breaks.
Take along a map
To involve older children and teens, bring a spare map so they can see the your route. They could spot landmarks and then find them on the map, or even help with navigating!
Make your snacks a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy treats. The occasional sweet or chocolate isn’t so bad and will take the sting out of sitting for hours in the car. You could even use your snacks to create games, such as who can make their Polo last the longest.
Yes, stopping regularly at service stations will extend your journey time, but it might just save your sanity. Plus, it’s good for driver and passengers alike to get out and stretch their legs – and, of course, everyone needs to go to the toilet. Service stations are great places to pick up activities or music for the car if you run low.
If you’ve got time, a great way to break up a journey is to stop at tourist attractions. We’re not talking theme parks that fill an entire day, but maybe a small castle or similar place of special interest. Look out for a nice spot for lunch, which will probably be much nicer than a service station fast food restaurant or drive-through.
Drive at night
The evening can be the best time to travel, provided you know your route fairly well, are wide awake and alert and don’t mind driving in the dark. You can even put younger children in the car in their pyjamas and, fingers crossed, they’ll fall asleep pretty quickly.
Keeping the kids amused will certainly take the stress out of your journey – and so will knowing you have adequate car insurance cover.