This has been the summer holiday for car travel for us…we went to Wales and then on to Cornwall, and finally back to Somerset and home.
In total we have spent a stunning amount of time in the car, as other than the holiday, we have taken the kids for day trips out. All of this has resulted in me dreading hearing the immortal phrase:
“Are we nearly there yet?”
However, despite it being true that two thirds of us will hear that within an hour of setting of in the car, according to a recent Parkdean Survey, I don’t actually remember hearing it once! Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Some of it certainly rings true for us. We have found that the secret to having great car journeys with the children all boils down to two key tips:
- Get prepared, and
- Take breaks.
If you have entertainment, food and ideas well in advance of the trip then there is less of a chance that the car journey with the kids will turn into carnage.
For food, its best to take healthy snacks if you can as you don’t want too much of a sugar rush – the kids can’t go anywhere after all! Fresh fruit is great, as well as nuts and raisins.
For the entertainment, this usually consists of:
- Audio books; both my kids get travel sick if they read in the car. While many would take a book, this just doesn’t work for our children. However, the audio book is perfect and can keep them entertained for a good couple of hours on a journey
- Card games; anything from a pack of playing cards, to top trumps and Uno work brilliantly
- Pen and paper for some car ride games; this is great for hangman, which is always a great game to play with the kids in the car. some car games don’t need a pen and paper at all though, just a little bit of creativity and a lot of thought. Our five favourite paperless car ride games are:
- I-Spy – I know its an old one, but its still one that my kids love to play, though my patience tends to wear thin on it a lot sooner than theirs ;-)
- Guess the country or character – this is a variation of twenty questions or Who am I. Someone things of a character, and you get asked questions in turn by all the passengers within the car. No limit on the number of questions at all. This is a good way to increase children’s general knowledge believe it or not. You can also really pick anything here to be “guessing” For example, we also play “Guess the Number” as well, which my boy in particular seems to love
- Registration games – there are lots of games to play with car registrations on the road. From thinking of words which have the letters of the registration numbers near you in the same order, to spotting cars with the registrations from A to Z, and even picking a group of things, such as country, and coming up with something that fits into this group for another of the registrations near you
- The name game – This is a simple but effective game too. Someone thinks of a name, or something within a group again, so perhaps a food, or a country again. The next person thinks of another think within the same group starting with the last letter of the first item that was thought of. So for example, if the first name is Ella, then the next could be Annie, the next Ellie and so on…., and finally
- Rock, Paper, Scissors – the time honoured game that kids love to play everywhere, If you aren’t sure of the rules, look it up on Wikipedia!
- Music; the kids have managed to gain their own iPods…both are actually old iPhones that we no longer use due to free upgrades. We have the wonderful Spotify, which enables us to listen to pretty much anything on our mobile devices. The kids can now listen to their own choice of music, though a Spotify playlist, in the back of the car. This helps us to manage the difference in musical tastes between the adults, and the children and typically saves us from too much of The Vamps in any one car journey…
- Portable DvD – generally we don’t need to use this too much, but if it is a long journey we sometime exhaust all other avenues. That is when the DvD comes out, usually Tom and Jerry – but that is probably just our kids. Make sure it is charged up, and you are away. Some of you might want to use a tablet, and upload with specific applications for the kids. Again, we can’t do this as the looking down has caused all manner of car sickness chaos with our children in the past.
As you can see, car rides with kids need not be hell if you have the right stuff in there with you all. You may find that when you get to your destination you won’t just want to crawl to the kitchen and reach for a bottle of wine ;-)
In fact, the kids may even find your car trips to be fun, and you might even do so too. That is, as long as you don’t mind playing endless rounds of Top Gear Top Trumps, or having to guess the character too many times with you children….
Do you have any other top tips for us for travelling with kids in the car, or car ride games that you can play with them. We would love to hear them, so do please tweet with the #arewenearlythereyet hashtag and copy in @parkdean and @kiddycharts as well. The more help we all get for next time we are off the better!
This post is published in association with Parkdean