Top Tips for long car journeys with kids

Top Tips for long car journeys with kids

There’s nothing worse than a long car journey and the never-ending question from the backseat of the car… “Are we nearly there yet?”

Our eldest suffers from travel sickness, so keeping her occupied and not looking down is key to a drama free car journey.

Here are some of our top tips to help pass the time and make long car journeys with kids as stress-free as possible.

Top games for long car journeys with kids

Here are some games we play to pass the time on long car journeys:

I Spy

Big sigh… yes I know, I Spy can be terribly tedious, but kids love it (well ours do). This classic game can be played with children of all ages because you can make it as easy or difficult as you like. It’s simple, you choose an object that you can see, say the words “I spy with my little eye… something beginning with ?”, and everybody else has to guess what it is. The winner takes their turn next.

It gets your kids engaged with the scenery and surroundings and you can always give clues if proving tricky to guess what it is.

Add some humour to it by changing the words to something funny, like “I spy with my ??? eye”. Or if it’s too easy and you’ve run out of objects, pretend that you’re somewhere else like at the zoo or the beach.

The Minister’s Cat

This is a great educational game that apparently dates back to Victorian times. Each person takes it in turns to describe the minister’s cat using an adjective (describing word) beginning with each letter of the alphabet. The first person starts, choosing an adjective starting with the letter ‘A’. So for example, “the minister’s cat is an adventurous cat”. Each person takes their turn, using the next letter in the alphabet. When you get to the end, you can start again but use different words this time.

We find this game really good for developing children’s vocabulary.

Memory Game

There are many variations to this game, we either use a trip to the supermarket or a picnic. Each person chooses an item that they bought from the shop or took on their picnic, but before sharing their item, they also have to recall all of the previous items mentioned first.

So for example, the first person might say “when I went shopping, I bought an apple”. the second person takes their turn by recalling the previous item (an apple) and then chooses their item. As the game continues, each turn becomes harder as the list of items you have to recall gets longer.

This is a great game for memory and also becomes quite competitive to see who can remember the most.

These are just a few of what I imagine to be lots of possible games to pass the time and keep kids entertained on a long car journey. We’re always looking for more ideas, so please leave a comment below with your top games for long car journeys.

Other tips for long car journeys with kids

Take sweets to keep them sweet

I try and keep the number of sweets my kids consume to a minimum but there are definitely situations where they are useful and long car journeys is one of them.

You can drip feed them sweets slowly to keep the moaning at bay, they don’t create any mess and sucking on a sweet can also help with car sickness. We tend to take wine gums because they last longer, especially if you suck them instead of chewing them.

Try having a competition to see who can make them last the longest.

Encourage them to sleep

What better way to pass the time than to sleep (if only I could get comfortable in the car, I would definitely take the opportunity to grab some sleep). We always try and encourage our kids to sleep, promising them a later night if they bank some sleep on the journey.

Try travelling at natural nap times (if they still nap). It makes for a more relaxing journey for us because we don’t have to listen to the moaning, constantly trying to entertain them or worry about travel sickness.

Enjoy the journey

I’ve not yet caved into tablets or in-car DVD players and I’m trying to hold out as long as possible. I know some parents may say they are a godsend, but I like to use the opportunity to talk about where we are going, what scenery and sights we might pass on the way and have fun playing games together (before we know it they’ll be teenagers and won’t want to talk to us!).

Some journeys have incredible scenery and it would be a shame to miss it all.

Listen to audiobooks

Listening to audiobooks on long car journeys is great because they can keep you and the kids occupied for hours without any effort from yourself. You might not be thankful if your kids are young (how many times can you listen to Goldilocks and the Three Bears!), but as they get a little older, you’ll start getting into them yourself.

It’s also more interactive and social than tablets or in-car DVD players because you are all listening and can talk about it together.

We are still exploring with audiobooks but if you want to learn more, Audible is a great place to start and they offer a 30-day free trial.

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