In this age of convenience, it’s all too easy to load up your phone or iPad with games for the kids, placate them with drive-thru food and head to your destination as fast as possible. Or you can relax a little – after all, holidays are as much about the journey as the arrival. With help from Good’s sister magazine, Little Treasures, here are some great car trip tips.
Entertain them in the car
- If possible, time your journey for when they’re naturally tired and more likely to fall asleep. Try and get them to expend a bit of energy beforehand too, at the park or with a game of chase in the garden.
- Stop the squabbling by having them use their voices in a singalong instead.
- Listen to talking books.
- Pick a colour and count the cars of that colour – first one to get to five wins.
- Devise a simplified version of 20 questions. Tell them you’re thinking of a type of animal/food/one of their toys and get them to guess. ‘Does he have a long tail?’, et cetera.
- I went to the shops and I bought…
- Print off a card with some pictures on it and get them to tick or draw a line by each one when they see it.
- Magnet books and magna doodles.
- Sticker books!
- Buy some novelty items from the $2 shop, put them in a bag and let them draw something out at regular intervals, e.g. on the hour.
- Driving with screaming kids is stressful and dangerous so take some food bribes to quieten them down quickly when necessary.
Other useful items for car trips
- Fold-up picnic rug with plastic backing.
- Screens to attach to the kids’ windows so they don’t have the sun in their eyes or get burned through the glass.
- Lunch boxes brimming with healthy food, plus water bottles.
- A ball so when you do stop they can burn off some energy kicking it around.
- Pop a nappy on your toddler if he’s still mastering toilet training.
- Bags/buckets and wipes for spills and accidents.
Three great car games for all ages
Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment – Dame Evelyn Glennie
Perfect for under-fives. Find a fabric bag and fill it with a couple of small toys, a four-pack of crayons and colouring book, a magnifying glass, a small safety mirror, pipe cleaners, some large beads and thread, and a couple of finger puppets. Let your children delve into the bag and have a go at each activity in their own time.
Going on a trip
Your school-age children will love this memory game. The first player starts with “I’m going on a trip and I’m packing a…”, then the next player repeats their sentence and item, adding their own item afterwards. If a player forgets an item, they’re out. The last player wins!
Take the iPod off the teenagers and get them thinking instead. Each players picks a number between one and nine. As each car passes, players need to spot a pair or set of three of their number. They can add up the other numbers on the plate as well, e.g. if a player picked the number four, then TZS134 could count as a pair of fours. Score two points for a pair and three points fro a trio; the first to 25 wins.
For more wonderful advice on babies and parenting, subscribe to Little Treasures magazine here.