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How to keep the kids entertained on a long car journey...

We recently carried out a survey asking you "How do you keep the kids entertained on long journeys?". We received heaps of responses, and the good news is we now have the definitive top 30 'are we nearly there yet' busting list of games and entertainment. And the good news is that iphones have still not taken over from a good old fashioned game of I-Spy.

 (1) - Play a game of 'Spot the....'

'I make a list of things that you may see on the way, i.e.  Three red cars, a certain road sign, a man with a dog, a lady on a bike. Use your imagination for things that may be difficult to spot.  Give them the list and let them get on with it alternatively ask them to create their own list they can waste half an hour on the way doing that.  My son put a hot air balloon on his list on our last journey, and guess what we saw on the way, yep a hot air balloon, how odd is that.' 

 (2) - I spy with my little eye
'We always play eye spy, its a favourite as it is always so hard to guess because by the time you give up, you're 2 miles past the "thing" that you're suposed to be spying!'

 (3) - Stock up on plenty of puzzles and colouring in books
'Puzzle and colouring books are a good option as are little travel games and miniature toys so there's not too much clutter..  My kids love it if I wrap these up too, I just use some old magazines or newspaper and wrap them up multiple times so it makes it an adventure and exciting to open, just remember to recycle the paper afterwards!!'

 (4) - Invest in a portable DVD player
'An in-car DVD player (not as expensive as you may think) can quickly pay for itself with hours of "nuisance free" kids.  Bliss!!!'

 (5) - Have a good old sing along
'My children (aged 3 and ten months) are terible on long car journeys the baby cries and my little girl gets bored. What works for a while is childrens songs on CD's and we all have a sing along it is one of the few things that settles the baby.'

 (6) - Don't forget to bring plenty of snacks (healthy of course!)
'I find the larger resealable sandwich bags a real lifesaver on a journey, great for storing all manner of goodies, fruit snacks, and small chew sweets.'

 (7) - Become a number plate spotter
 'My kids entertain themselves by making words up from the last 3 letters on number plates. For example S123 RBT could be Robot or Rabbit.'

 (8) - Pick up some audio books from your local library
'My top tip is get a talking book on cd it keeps everyone amused, you can hire them from the library.'

 (9) - Stop for breaks and plenty of them
'We plan the journey so that we don't get lost, and make sure we take regular breaks for snacks and toileting.'

 (10) - Know you abc's? Play the alphabet game
'The alphabet game- choose a category (e.g girl's names) one person starts with A - says a name - annie the next person does B - betty and so on We use kids tv/film charchters quite a lot'

 (11) - Charge up those game consoles
'Older kids these days are happy to play on their games consoles such as the nintendo DS. A good tip is to make sure you have a car charger for when the battery starts to go flat.'

 (12) - Goody bags, for good behaviour
'We have a Treat Fairy who leaves things about the house if the kids  are good, when we go on holiday the treat fairy leaves a bag in the car ready for when the kids get in. I often make the bags myself out of canvas and decorate them to make them unique for each child, they  are then filled with travel games, drinks, sweets and an A4 ring  binder file full of word searches, stories, quizzes in English and  the language of the country we are to visit'

 (13) - Get your timing right
'Plan to travel during the evening. This is important on long trips in particular. It reduces the stress of the whole journey. I have found they are more comfortable if they have had a bath prior to setting off and wearing comfortable loose-fitting clothing. No sooner have you set off than they are asleep. The next thing they know they have woken up at the destination! Brilliant.'

 (14) - Have a game of pub cricket (kid's allowed!)
'LEGS = POINTS. Where my children look out for public house signs with titles with legs included i.e. THE DOG & DUCK = 4 Points for the dog and 2 points for the duck so 6 points available to the 1st child to spot the sign and shout it out. Not the best game to play on motorways!'

 (15) - I Spy? More like I Pod...
'The older one 15, well I just plug and play him with a mp3, psp or his phone and feed every 4 mins!! seems to work ; ) '

 (16) - Bring plenty to read
'Keep teens entertained by getting them their own magazines to read'

 (17) - Encourage back seat driving, or rather navigating
'We like to make the journey a part of the holiday, rather than using distractions like dvd players. We give the kids a map of the journey and get them to follow the route, look out for landmarks, make them aware of distances and try to get them to participate in planning the route itself.'

 (18) - Put on your story telling hat
'One particular games that can take up quite a chunk of the journey is a story game. It begins "Once upon a time... " then each person adds one sentence taking it in turns. Once upon a time...there was a beautiful princess...who lived in a smelly old shoe..." Daddy usually adds a little child friendly toilet humour into the mix and this is the start of much hilarity!'

 (19) - Shhhh. Play the quiet game
'Playing "who can stay quiet the longest" (gives parents at least 30 seconds of peace and quiet)'

 (20) - Comfy kids, makes for a happy journey
'Firstly start out with a comfortable car. Ensure the kids have enough room, aren't cramped in and can sit comfortably.'

 (21) - Play the guessing game
'Twenty questions is a good game to play in the car as everyone including the driver can join in. One person must think of a person, a place, or a thing. All other players involved must ask yes or no questions - apart from the first question, "is it a person, place or thing" or "animal, vegetable, or mineral". The guessers are able to ask twenty questions to help them discover what the object is, but the person who thinks up the object wins if the no one guesses the answer after the twenty questions.'

 (22) - Turn your journey into an adventure
'Plan your journey by doing a bit of research online to find local landmarks, interesting shops, good restaurants or local attractions you can stop at en route. Sometimes great discoveries and lovely memories can be made this way and a potentially arduous journey can become part of the holiday.'

 (23) - Wave goodbye to boredom
'Play the 'Truckers Tally'  Our kids love seeing trucks out on the road! Before we leave for a journey, we make a chart each, with a column for 'Happy Chappy' and 'Misery Pants' and the name of the company on the truck..... The kids wave at each truck/driver we stop near/pass by and they plot on their chart whether they were a 'happy chappy' and waved back or a 'misery pants' and didn't wave, and write down who they worked for!'

 (24) - Hold on to that hole
'The polo sucking competition - everyone pops a polo in their mouth and sees who can make it last the longest'

 (26) - Are we nearly there? Don't know what you mean...
'Don't teach your children to say ' are we nearly there yet'  it may sound funny at first but they learn soon enough!'

 (27) - Make it snappy
'Give them a camera even if it is disposable to snap at things that they pass that they like.'

 (28) - Relax and enjoy the ride
'Be relaxed and happy - it's infectious!'

(29) - How's your geography?
'I play a game of geography where each of us has to tell the name of the capital for the countries that the other player chooses. It's a great way to keep the kids entertained and we all learn something!'

(30) - Keep a record of your journey
'Get the kids to write an account of their holiday, chances are at school they ll have an assignment or homework explaining what they did over the summer holidays.'

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