Adventure Travel

How To Keep Children Entertained On Long Car Journeys

To keep children entertained on a long car journey, be imaginative. When they are bored of playing I Spy and spotting cars in different colours, suggest some original games and pass times that have been prepared beforehand. A little thought and preparation are all that is required to keep them happy.

Magnetic board games such as Snakes and Ladders, puzzle books, wipe clean card and board sets, magazines and word searches are useful to hand out when the children are feeling bored, but often made up games are more successful.


Make up games which don’t involve any drawing, writing or accessories to avoid travel sickness and frustration in a moving car. To exercise their brain, devise a quiz composed of questions relative to their topics at school, or test them on the twenty four hour clock or alphabet (depending on their age). Award points or hand out raisins for correct answers.

Play the ‘’yes/no’’ game whereby a question cannot be answered with ‘’yes’’ or ‘’no’’, or an alphabet game where players take it in turns to name a noun within a category with each letter of the alphabet.

For example, each player must name an animal beginning with the letter ‘‘a’’ then ‘‘b’’ and so on. Categories could be ‘’animals’’, ‘’boys’ names’’, ‘’countries’’, and so on. This can be successful if the children are different ages, as the youngest child takes the first turn so that it becomes more difficult for each player that follows.


Another fun game is to ‘’guess the animal’’ asking questions which can only be answered with yes or no, for example ‘’is the animal you are thinking of smaller than a rabbit?’’, ‘’does it have fur?’’

The element of surprise can be used to advantage in preparing a lunch or snacks for the journey. Shop in advance for suitable variations on their favourite snacks and keep the chosen items especially for the journey.

Be imaginative: choose crisps in a slightly different variety to your usual brand, cut sandwiches into strips or shapes, try crackers packed with slices of cheese or ham which can be layered by their own little hands, or breadsticks.

Pack sticks of carrot or celery or grapes into little pots, look out for little boxes of raisins or packets of nuts, slice fruit into strips or chunks and package them in tubs with lids, foil or cling film. Avoid anything vastly different to their favourites to avoid any tantrums, and don’t pack sweet or sticky food items in case of sickness or mess.

It is not necessary to provide an endless stream of entertainment. Take along a pillow and blanket and encourage the children to snuggle down and be cosy.

Put on their favourite DVD, a story CD or take electronic games consoles such as a Nintendo DS, or an iPhone. Musical CDs can be useful to play ‘’name that tune’’ or for a family sing along. With a combination of the old tried and tested methods, some new modern toys and games, and lots of imagination, travelling in the car on a long journey with children can be great fun.

This article was brought to you by Direct Car Excess Insurance.

(photo credit: 1 – 2)

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