The thought of a long trip with kids in the car can be daunting, but if you have a few activities up your sleeve to keep them occupied, it may give you some peace of mind, both while planning your trip and while you're on it.
Below are a list of ideas you may want to try to help you keep you kids quiet, distracted or just plain getting along with each other. Do you have any other suggestions?
When a trip stretches on and on, you may need some help keeping everyone civilised
Watching DVDs will keep kids quiet and safe from fighting for hours. However, it does require an iPad, Portable DVD Player or other method of viewing the film. It can also lead to car sickness and too much screen time is never ideal.
Suffering from the same positives and negatives as movies, apps and other portable games can keep kids just as occupied in the car as they do at home. However, some do require internet connection and they do hinder family interaction.
One of the best ways to pass the time at any age, music is both relaxing and a way to get kids away from a screen. Getting them to make their own playlists before you leave will ensure you're not constantly asked to change the station. Just don't try to talk to them when you're in the car - if they're wearing earphones, they'll never hear you.
If you want some interaction and family bonding time, I SPY is one game that anyone can play. We all know how it goes: "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ...."
20 QUESTIONS/WHO AM I?
A little more difficult than I Spy, these may be more appropriate for older kids. You just have to guess what animal, vegetable, mineral or person someone is thinking of, and you can only ask yes/no questions to figure it out.
THE NUMBER PLATE GAME
In this game, you take the letters from the number plates on cars you pass, and try to create phrases with words that start with those letters. You can also make it more difficult by choosing a theme for your phrases, like requiring them to be a description of the person in the other car. The only requirement for this game is that you travel in an area with cars around you.
HOMEMADE ACTIVITY BOARDS
Another option if you have time before you set out is to get your kids to make some homemade activity boards based on some simple car games, which may even have them looking forward to the long drive. Options include THE ALPHABET GAME, where you have to cross off every letter in the alphabet as you see it on signs or number plates, or TALLY SHEETS, where you compete to see who can see the most of particular objects out their windows (rewards work best if you want to keep these going, such as the chance to choose their bed once you get to your destination). Another fun game you can create is the CAR TRIP BINGO GAME.