We all remember what we thought about long journeys when we were kids. The discomfort. The boredom. The constant need to ask if we’re there yet! So it’s probably why we find it so easy to sympathise with the little nippers now.
To help make their journey a little bit less traumatic (and your journey a little stressful!), here are five top tips on how to keep your kids entertained on long journeys, whether you’re travelling by plane, train or automobile.
Sometimes, the old ones are the best. My favourite game to use on the kids is I spy. This is an especially great idea if you’re travelling by car or train as you always have plenty to look at out the window. It’s a bit more tricky if you’re on a plane but not impossible. If you’re on the road, car bingo is another suggestion. Simply name a color, and the first person to spot a car painted that color wins.
Portable Game Console
A portable games console is another great way to keep the kids occupied. Mine can spend ages playing with them and they certainly help when you’re cooped up for hours on end. If you’ve got kids, chances are you’ve got already got one, but if you haven’t, they don’t cost too much (you can pick up a Videojet PDC for about $60). Remember to check that your holiday insurance covers electronic devices like games consoles.
A Good Old-Fashioned Book
This is a controversial one that really depends on the age of your children. My kids love reading books but some have a habit of turning their noses up at them, especially if they’re a bit older. My personal favourites for younger children are Road Trip Trivia – A Big Book of Backseat Brainteasers and Miles of Smiles. Coloring books are another great alternative, particularly for very young children.
Listen to Music or Watch a Film
Whether your kids are into the Glee soundtrack or the latest hip-hop tunes, this is an excellent way to keep the kids happy. Most of us have MP3 players either in the form of an iPod or on our phone but, if you don’t, you can pick up a simple player for a few dollars. You can fill it with fresh music for free using this little tool YouTube to MP3. Portable DVD players with a few of the kids’ favourite films are another option but they’re more expensive. A cheaper method is to download a bunch of videos from YouTube to your tablet. Now on YouTube you can find videos for all tastes and ages. YouTube Downloader is a great application for this task. If you’re on a plane, there’s always the in-flight movie. Again, it’s important to check that your MP3 or DVD player is covered on your insurance policy before you take it along with you.
OK, OK, so it sounds a little corny but you’ll be surprised how much fun sing-a-longs can be on long journeys. One good idea that my children and I came up with is to improvise rather than singing traditional songs. For example, sing about things you see on your journey – make up stories as you go. And if you can’t do that, there are always the classics, like “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?”, “The Wheels On The Bus” or “Bingo Was His Name-O”.