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How to Entertain the Kids on Long Drives

A family road trip always sounds like a great idea; pack up the car and head out to the countryside or the beach for a little piece of paradise. What you don’t always anticipate for is when your kids decide to disrupt the trip from the back-seat. The endless questions of ‘are we there yet?’ and complaints of being bored make the road trip seem a far distance away from paradise, ultimately forcing your holiday or weekend mood to come crumbling down.

Mother and Child Planning Road Trip

Your parenting skills are put to the ultimate test thinking of fun and creative ways to keep the kids safely entertained during long  drives. From playing guessing games to pass-the-parcel to in-car karaoke, see our top ten ways to entertain your kids in the car.

1.Creative drawing activities

There are many ways to keep your kids occupied on a drive. When chaos starts to brew it is usually because their little creative brains are confined to the box that is your car, and this can often cause both frustration and boredom. So why not take some of these creative activities on board and have some fun with them:

Laminated pictures of parent’s faces

If your kids love drawing, then what better way than to let them draw on your faces? Print off life-size images of your faces and laminate them, then provide them with some whiteboard pens. Your kids will love colouring in and creating silly animated pictures of their family members.

Whiteboard and dry erase pens

A simple drawing activity that will keep them amused is to give your kids a small whiteboard and colourful pens. They can play drawing games with each other, write stories or even just scribble away at their hearts content without the fear of being told off for making a mess!

Draw a monster surprise

This ‘monster surprise’ game is great to keep kids and adults occupied in the car. One person will start by drawing the head of the monster on a piece of paper, then fold the paper over and hide it from the next person. The next person then draws the neck and shoulders and folds it to hide from the original illustrator. Repeat until you have both drawn up the whole monster from head-to-toe, then unfold and see what you have created! The kids can then colour in the monster and have fun making it their own.

Colour in templates

Print off templates of their favourite thing; if they love cars, print of templates of cars for them to colour in, if they love horses print of pictures of horses… you catch our drift.

2. Car books for kids

If your child loves to read, then books can be the simplest way to amuse them on a road trip. For toddlers, picture books and pop-out books keep them happy. For older kids, why not find books about the destination you are travelling to or books about kids in a car. This way they can relate to the story or get excited about their trip. You can ask your child to read out loud or read to them if they prefer; you never know, they may even fall asleep.

3. Car karaoke

Who doesn’t love a good singalong in the car? Your kids will love singing along to their favourite songs, so make a playlist of their ultimate favourites to keep them happy during the whole journey. If your child loves to take the spotlight, you can even find karaoke versions of their favourite songs, so they can show off singing skills. For younger children, you can buy singalong CDs or make playlists online of classic nursery rhymes.

Child playing with toys for car trip

4. Wrap up toys

One of the best ways to keep a child entertained at any time is to give them a present. What better way to keep them happy in the back-seat than to provide them with an array of gifts wrapped like a pass-the-parcel. Buy them a new toy they have been pestering you about for a while.

If you are on a budget and you have noticed that your child has seemed to forget about some of their once-much-loved toys, then why not take them and wrap them up a number of times to keep them occupied. Ask them to guess which toys are inside and treat them if they guess correctly! They will be thrilled when they reunite with a toy that they used to play so much with.

5. Child friendly games

Of course, classic games like I Spy are the perfect road trip time-passers. If you’re driving in the countryside, ‘spot the animal’ is a great way to keep the kids looking out the window and searching for the animal you ask them to find. Other games like the ‘Alphabet game’ are good to get the kids thinking and keeping their creative brains ticking for the whole road trip.

Snack and Fruit for Road Trip

6. Snacks

Snacks keep kids amused at the best of times, but how about using them to entertain them during long car journeys? ‘Make your own’ style snacks allow your kid to use their imaginations while satisfying their hunger. Take kebab sticks and Tupperware filled with different sweets, fruit and treats that they love and ask them to make sweet and fruit kebabs.

If your child loves to mix things, why not ask them to make trail mixes for the whole family? Provide them dried fruits, nuts and chocolates to create different versions of trial mix for each member of your family. Remember, if you’re driving with children that aren’t your own, be sure to find out if they have any allergies to certain snacks!

7. Stickers and magnets

Stickers and magnets are often a cleaner and neater solution to drawing and painting; kids still get to use their imagination and entertain themselves by making magical scenes or creating stories. Use a magnetic bored with alphabet magnets for kids who enjoy writing and making up stories or invest in some sticker books that allow your little loved one to be creative whilst avoiding the mess in the back of the car.

8. Puzzles

Travel-kit puzzles are another great way to help your child feel entertained in the car. You can find all sorts of games online for all ages, such as miniature jigsaws and classic games such as UNO and snakes and ladders. For the mini ones, miniature picture games can help keep your little one entertained and switched on at the same time.

Child with camera

9. Disposable, digital or polaroid cameras

Is your child obsessed with getting behind the lens and pointing in your face? Then a disposable, digital or polaroid camera, depending on their age, could be the perfect distraction while they are sat in the back-seat.

A polaroid camera is great for kids who love to see an instant result. This is not only a perfect way to entertain them, but you could also put the polaroid pictures in a scrap book as part of a holiday memory album. This way your child will feel included they are contributing to making memories on the trip. You can also get all sorts of digital cameras that are suitable for a range of ages. If you have an older kid who is genuinely interested in photography, they could have all sorts of fun taking pictures of their journey.

Disposable cameras are cheap ways of letting your child take pictures and see the outcome later. They can take pictures of whatever they want from the backseat whether it’s out the window or inside the car. A disposable camera is a good idea for those who are already familiar with them and not those that will expect instant results like that of a polaroid.

10. Electronic entertainment

If you know your kid only stays quiet when he or she is on the iPad or playing a videogame, sometimes it really is the best option when travelling. Even though we all like to think the kids would be more than happy to read a book or sing karaoke with the family, we all know that electronic equipment and games will never fail to keep them happy. You can buy tablets that are specifically designed for younger kids, or, if you know you will be travelling frequently, why not go all out and have a games console installed into the backseats of your car!

So, whether you’re heading down the road or going on a long road trip in the UK, always be prepared for the eventuality that your little ones might play up in the back of the car. The safest way to drive is to have as little distraction as possible, so keeping the kids entertained and focused will ultimately help to provide the most peaceful and safe journey in the car.