The dreaded “are we there yet?” A phrase far too familiar to every parent. What starts out as a grand adventure can often end in tears without inventive ways to keep the kids occupied. If you’re planning a long car trip these school holidays, don’t tempt fate! Plan ahead and ensure that it’s smooth sailing (or driving) all the way to your destination. Get creative with these 10 road trip remedies.
1. Books on-the-go
Audio books and car trips are a match made in heaven - especially when kids are involved. Avoid the usual complaints of carsickness after reading a hard copy book and hit play on an audio book instead. Download a collection of their favourite stories and relish in the uninterrupted peace in the back seat.
2. Sack of surprises
Spend a few extra moments packing the car, put together a DIY travel activity pack and delight the little ones with hours of amusement. Picture the little bags kids are gifted staff on long haul flights – think crayons, sticker books and puzzles. Simply fill old canvas bags with supplies from around the house, hang one on the back of each of the front seats and you’re in business.
3. Movie magic
Grab the popcorn and prepare for a movie marathon right in the comfort of your own car. Charge your laptop and either pre-download a series of movies, or pack a range of DVD favourites. Complete the cinema experience by tacking towels to the windows, layering the seats in cosy pillows and blankets and keeping popcorn on hand, of course.
4. No-mess fun
Board games are often the source of endless smiles. But on car trips, a single twist or turn can cause the entire game to topple, leaving you to search hopelessly under seats for every tiny piece. Instead of ruling out games during transit, pick up a magnetic board game! Portable and spill-resistant, you can’t go wrong with a round of magnetic checkers.
5. Snack packs
It might seem self-explanatory, but packing the right snacks is essential. Avoiding crumbs is, of course, a consideration, but it’s also important to remember to get creative. Think like a kid – an apple doesn’t sound super enticing, does it? Instead, why not create an *apple turtle? A little creativity goes a long way with the little ones. So, why not keep them entertained and their stomachs full all at once?
6. Old-school solutions
It’s an oldie but a goodie; there’s no denying the success of ‘I Spy’. Start by spotting colours and letters, moving through license plate bingo, scavenger hunts and math games to calculate the time to your destination.
7. An app for everything
In fairness, there’s only so much ‘I Spy’ parents can take. After the 50th tree has been pointed out, there’s no shame in looking to your gadgets for some much-needed down time. Download a range of applications onto your iPad or tablet prior to your trip – both educational and not - provide sets of earphones and let the kids snap, click and slide away!
8. Window whiteboards
Did you know that you can use whiteboard makers on car windows? Keep your markers and cloth in the glove box and hand them over as requested. Show the kids how to draw on the window and then wipe it away (ensuring they’re aware that this is the only place the pens are permitted). From hang man to colouring competitions, your windows will provide hours upon hours of enjoyment.
9. Some healthy competition
While a running race and bomb-dive tournament aren’t on the table, there are plenty of ways to keep the kids entertained through car-based competitions. Play your own version of trivia, or better yet, tell them that the one that stays quiet the longest gets a treat – win, win!
10. Music to their ears
Remember the good old days when all you needed was the open road and the radio? Take a trip down memory lane, roll down the windows and sing along. Given, the music might be courtesy of a smartphone playlist and the songs might be by The Wiggles, but there’s no denying the appeal of an old -fashioned family sing-along – the kids are sure to agree.
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