Travelling with children can be difficult at the best of times and long journeys can often lead to bored, grumpy kids. But as long as you’re prepared, travelling with children needn’t be a pain. There are a few things that are essential to take along with you but, as long as you have a few of these great tricks up your sleeve, you’ll find it easy to entertain your kids on long journeys.
Get The Right Apps
If your child loves to play with your touchscreen device (who’s doesn’t?) then loading a few children’s apps on before you leave is a great way to help keep kids entertained on long journeys. Apps such as CBeebies Playtime and Disney Storytime (iOS free) are great for younger children, while TV show viewers and games such as Candy Crush (iOS free, Android free) will help to amuse older children.
Make Sure They Have Their Console
If your child has their own tablet or games console then double and triple check that they’ve got it with them before you leave. A child without their favourite game will get easily bored on long journeys and irritate you with the dreaded ‘are we there yet?’ routine. For young children, an educational LeadPad tablet from LeapFrog such as the LeapPad 3 $69.99 will keep them entertained and help them to learn too on long journeys.
Simple Pictionary With Pen And Paper
There are countless games you can play with an old fashioned pen and paper but one of the most entertaining for children on long trips is a simplified version of Pictionary. Choose a category such as movies, TV programmes, books or music and then draw out a picture to symbolise what you’ve chosen. Everyone has a guess at the TV show or song that you’ve drawn out, and if no one guesses then you get the points!
Magnetic Board Games
It may seem slightly old fashioned in this modern world, but magnetic board games such as this 2 In 1 Magnetic Chess and Checkers Set $12.99 can go a long way to keeping kids entertained while travelling. The magnets provide hold to stop the pieces flying off the board while you’re moving, and the physical nature of the game can be a great change to staring at a screen. Physical games also tend to be better than playing games on a tablet or console for children who suffer from travel sickness.
Play 20 Questions
This game can keep a child entertained for ages, especially if you change it from 20 questions to 40 questions (or beyond). The idea is to choose something that you’re going to be, then have everyone else ask you questions that can be answered with yes or no answers to try and find out who or what you are.
Invest In A Portable DVD Player
Any parent will tell you that portable DVD players go a long way to keeping children entertained on a car, train, boat or plane journey. Bring along a few of their favourite movies as well as some new releases to ensure their enthusiasm. If you’re travelling in a car you can also purchase a Headrest Mount Holder $21.99 which will make for easier watching while keeping the screen and controls away from little fingers.
Agree On A Radio Station
Agreeing on a radio station will not only create some conversation but allow you to listen together to something that everyone wants to hear. Whether through your car’s stereo or a radio app like TuneIn, a bit of light music never goes amiss on a long journey with kids.
Audio books can keep a child easily occupied for a few hours and making sure you have a few loaded to a tablet or MP3 player before you leave will save you trouble on the way. Listening through headphones is your best bet to entertain your child as this will help to block out background noise and conversations. For more than one child you could invest in a headphone splitter which will allow two or more headphones to be plugged into the same jack. Multiple splitters such as the Belkin Rockstar Heaphone Splitter $9.09 can allow up to five children to listen at once.
Food and Drink
Finger food and bite sized snacks are great to take on long journeys, and you can never overpack them. Eating gives children something to do that will keep them busy and they’ll be less grumpy if they’re not hungry. Bags of treats can also be used as a bit of a bribe by promising one item from the bag for every half an hour or hour of good behaviour. Just remember to pack tissues and wet wipes for sticky fingers!
Depending on how you’re travelling, allowing children to move around can help to occupy and tire them out. Even performing dance moves with their arms in the back of a car to music can go some way to entertaining kids on a long journey and keeping them out of trouble.