Travelling is fun, but we must all admit that it gets boring sometimes during long road trips. If adults get bored at some point during a long car journey, then kids must feel something worse. Keeping children entertained during these long journeys is one of the challenges that parents and guardians face. The first few miles of the journey are always fun because they get excited looking outside, playing, or even talking. A research conducted by Disney revealed that 80 per cent of parents gave their kids smartphones to keep them from getting bored. Here is a list of things parents can do to ensure long car journeys are interesting for their kids.
Of course before you start, make sure you have the best suitable car seat for your baby or child. Check out the advice from Car Seat Expert
1. Tablets and iPads
According to researchers at Disney, around 66 per cent of kids ask to play games on tablets or a smartphone while travelling for long distances. They may seem expensive to some parents but they come with a whole package designed to keep your child busy during those hours of travel. They have various options: games, books, educational applications, and movies. Some of the games they can play on their tablets and iPads include Candy Crush and Angry Birds. Always ensure that these gadgets are fully charged before the journey starts.
Studies suggest that children as young as three have the ability to follow a complex story line. With that in mind, audiobooks provide a great way of passing time during road trips. Some kids’ favourites include My Father’s Dragon and Harry Porter. If you don’t want to listen to it as a family, download the audiobooks to the kids’ gadgets so they can listen to them with headphones while you do something else.
All parents know that snacks are a must-have in any family outing. As the journey gets boring every half-an-hour that passes, children get tired and hungry. Have snacks and drinks ready for them when you see them yawning or giving that I-am-hungry look when you turn to talk to them. If there’s something they were doing like listening to an audiobook, snacks will give them the energy to continue doing it. You should avoid junk and choose fruits like bananas. They are healthier and take a while to eat. In fact, the right car snacks can have positive effects on your kids mood. For example snacks with ginger as an ingredient, are likely to help ease motion sickness in children as ginger has proven benefits for treating nausea.
4. Traditional games
You will admit that it is easy for children to be entertained by games on tablets and iPads. However, it’s not healthy to have kids glued on the screens during the entire journey. A good traditional game can do the trick. A good example is 20 Questions, where one person chooses an object and says whether it is an animal or a plant and the rest give yes/no answers to find out what it is. Such old-fashioned games are fun and might provide the perfect alternative to gadgets. A great car game is the Never-ending Story game. To play this, someone starts a story and then every member of the family in the car adds a sentence to it. Considering that each person has unique experiences, it can be fun and usually works for many families.
5. Pack activity books
When planning to go on a long journey, activity books could be what will keep the kids busy and happy. Puzzle books, colouring and drawing books can be a source of entertainment to kids of any age. For the younger ones, look for picture books and they will look as busy as their older counterparts.
Long journeys can be stressful when you have kids who seem bored and keep distracting you when all you just want is to stay calm. Why not create a reward-system where you offer prizes (can be in terms of small amounts of money) occasionally for kids who behave? It is a nice way of maintaining peace in the car while also making your children happy.
7. Make frequent stopovers
A long journey can be tiring if you don’t make frequent stops. Most of the stopovers are usually for toilet breaks. You can make it different. If you find a nice place by the road side where you can get out, stretch, and enjoy the air outside for a few minutes. It will help the kids forget how bored they were just seated in the car for long periods. Attraction sites are great places to make these stopovers.
Every kid loves cameras. Travelling long distances provides just the perfect opportunity for kids to take photos. As a parent, get them cheap digital cameras so they can take pictures to pass the hours of travel ahead. The advantage with cameras is it never becomes boring because the car races past many different objects which children can take pictures of. One way to keep them taking photos is telling them to take a photo of any building painted green.
Keeping kids entertained during a long car journey can be done by any parent. Parents need to prepare early and know what their kids like. This way, they will know the fun activities for their kids when they embark on a long journey.
Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.