School's out for summer and many of us will be lucky enough to be going on holiday or planning days out with the kids. Whether you are going abroad or in the UK it will more than likely involve a long drive; either to a ferry with hours of travel the other side or you may be driving somewhere in the UK but still a considerable distance away.
Babies generally tend to sleep a lot which is easier in the car; but once they get to toddlers and above it gets more tricky and they can sometimes kick up a great deal of fuss when confined in a car for a long period of time.
A few years ago Disney contacted 5,000 British parents and more than 80% admitted to giving their kids an iPad or equivalent to keep them entertained on long journeys. That will almost certainly have risen as more and more parents become reliant on tablets and children become more fixated with YouTube.
In the same survey only 14 per cent of parents considered traditional games like I-Spy on a journey which shows how much effect technology is having on family life both at home and whilst travelling; which brings issues like iPad/mobile dependancy as kids get older.
If you are off on a long journey in the next few weeks we have 10 tips to help you entertain the kids without resorting to technology.
- Word Games – although as mentioned these have declined in popularity; they are still a great way to engage kids imaginations and younger kids love a game of I-Spy or you could try Word Association or Twenty Questions. Or for a game that will last even longer try I-don’t-Spy, so “I don’t spy with my little eye something beginning with B”. This is where the B can then be anything not visible from the car and can take a very long time to guess!
- Activity books – these are a great way to keep them busy; from drawing and colouring through to puzzles and if your kids still love a story or picture book you can read to them from the front of the car.
- Audio books – a great way to keep them entertained either played through a portable MP3 player or on the car stereo system if you can cope with it.
- Travel games – although so many games are now on tablets and mobiles you can still buy many in physical form from Connect Four, Battleship and Chess through to Yahtzee and Pass the Pigs.
- Tell a story – make a story up as you go along, get the kids to make one up or do a family story where you take it in turns to make up a sentence at a time; which will resort in a very crazy story to make them laugh.
- Snacks - an essential to any journey as most kids are constantly hungry let alone when they are sat in a car bored. Go for nutritious foods that take longer to eat like raisins or bananas rather than filling them up on sweets.
- Take a picnic rug – it can really break up a car journey to stop at a scenic location, sprawl out and stretch your legs.
- Award a Prize - at the start of the journey tell the kids that the winner of the ‘Best Behaved Passenger Award’ gets to choose the next treat.
- Cameras - buy a cheap digital one (or use an old one of yours) and get your kids to take as many photos as they can. You could prepare a list of things for them to take pictures of with a prize for the one who completes it the fastest.
- Tablets - If you really need to resort to a tablet on a long journey try and point your kids in the direction of educational apps, books, films, games and puzzles that will challenge their minds rather than YouTube or try using a portable DVD player with a selection of your child's favourite cartoons.
Have a lovely summer whatever you are up to!