Did you know that travelling with kids can actually be fun? Truly! If the whole idea of taking your children on a long car journey fills you with trepidation, relax and take a look at some of these suggestions to make fun and imagination help pass the long miles.
The Shopping Game
This is an old favourite but one that still stretches the memory of even the oldest player. One person starts with the premise that they’ve been shopping and says, “I went to the shops and bought an apple.” Player two repeats this but adds their own ‘purchase’ to the sentence, so the list grows. “I went to the shops and bought an apple and a banana.” And so on. A good tip for little ones is to ask them to make a mental picture of everything that’s been bought along the way. Try this with animals at the zoo for a variation. Both these games are great for memory and vocabulary.
The Car Registration Plate Game
Each player in turn looks at a car registration plate and has to make a three-word sentence with the letters they see. So PRF can become ‘Pounce Really Fast’ or ‘Pretty Red Flower’ and so on. It must be a coherent sentence, though, not just a list of random words!
An old favourite but one that still needs clearly defined rules to prevent squabbles. The most sensible suggestion is to limit your objects to those either inside or outside the car, but not both. For younger children try a variation which asks them to guess something red or blue.
First and Last Letters
Decide on your theme – it could be animals or places – and get the ball rolling with one noun. The next player has to name a place beginning with the last letter of the first word. You can play with three lives each if you like, with a wrong answer causing you to lose a life.
The Yes/No Game
This is a great way to encourage kids to really think about the words they use and to promote concentration. One player chooses a category, say animals, and the other players take turns to ask them questions about it. The fun is that the answers can only be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and it’s up to the questioners to get the answerer to say the forbidden words.
When you need some quiet time, children can get lost in a DVD or a tablet and give you some much-needed peace. If you have a large family, travelling in a spacious 7 seater 4×4, you may need a couple of DVD players or tablets to ensure everyone gets to see the screen. A great place to look for suitable content without accessing the internet is the kids’ podcast section on the BBC’s website. Make sure you pre-load the shows you need.
Of course, pens, pencils, colouring books and stickers are ideal portable amusements too, and a deck of cards will keep them happy for as long as it takes to get to the next comfort stop.