The holiday season means a lot more time spent with family far and wide, which for many can mean long car journeys and road trips.
For anyone who has attempted a long car journey with young kids before knows that it’s not always smooth sailing.
Bored, tired, or restless kids can make for a difficult road trip; not the mention the constant “Are we there yet?”. But it doesn’t have to be a trial.
The key is keeping kids occupied and distracted. That way the trip will fly by for them and you can enjoy a calmer, quieter, and less stressful journey.
Here’s 7 ways to keep kids occupied in the car this holiday season:
1. Animal Spotting
This is a fun way to keep kids distracted by using the changing scenery around them. Get them to list the number of animals they see out the windows, with the aim of spotting the widest variety of fauna. As an added incentive, you could have a snack or toy prize for the kid who can spot the most.
2. I Spy
There’s a reason this is a classic car game. I Spy is a bit like animal spotting, but it allows the kids to be a bit more creative. Take it in turns to “spy” something outside the car and tell everyone the first letter of that thing (I Spy something starting with A). The first person to guess what it is, wins!
3. License Plate Game
This is another creative game that helps kids experiment with words and build their vocabulary. Look at the letters on the number plates of passing cars and get the kids to come up with a phrase of what the letters mean. For example FTH could be short for Folding Tent Horror. This one is pretty fun for the adults as well.
4. Cartoons & Movies
This is the go-to for many parents when it comes to keeping kids occupied. Make sure batteries on phones or tablets are fully charged before you set off and have plenty of shows or movies downloaded for them to watch. If you want some extra peace and quiet, you can give the kids headphones.
5. Interactive books
Reading in the car may not be for everyone, but bringing books along for the car trip can provide a great distraction. Better yet, interactive books that kids play with (and maybe even learn something from). Here’s a list of great interactive and activity kids books from Booktopia.
Another classic for car trips is the sing-along. Wheels on the Bus is an old favourite, or anything from Frozen is sure to win them over. Here’s a great list of 97 family-friendly songs to sing in the car.
7. Toy bribes
Ah yes, bribery. While this might not be the best option to start with, it can help if you get really desperate. Give kids an incentive for good behavior, rather than trying to reprimand bad behaviour. Offer them something they like (say a toy or favourite snack) if they can keep the good behaviour up for the rest of the journey.