When you’re facing a long journey in the car with the kids in the back, you really do need to initiate some activities to keep the kids entertained – both for their amusement and your sanity!
After years of long road trips with my kids, here are my tips for in-car entertainment. Include a lap tray for games and colouring, along with a small backpack to keep all the activities from rolling around the car, and you’re sorted.
Movies are a great time waster on a long trip as they can eat up a good part of the journey. If you have a portable DVD player with a car power adaptor then just pick a few favourite DVDs and you’re ready for movie time. Alternatively, download a movie or two to a digital device before you leave your home’s WiFi. Don’t forget to pop a charging cable (and an adaptor if needed) into the glovebox.
Games to play in the car go way beyond ‘I Spy’. In fact, that’s a difficult game to play when you’re constantly moving! Road trip bingo is a favourite on our long journeys, as well as alphabet number plate spotting and memory games.
- Find out more in our quick guide to road trip games
Disappear into a book
If you’re child isn’t one to get carsick then books are a great option for some peaceful driving time as they head off into their own reading adventure. If they need to keep their eyes on the road to avoid nausea, then choose an audio book.
Colouring and activity books along with some crayons and pencils will also keep them busy.
Schedule pit stops
Breaking up a long journey is basically essential when you have kids in the back. Whether you find a rest area for a quick game of catch to stretch the legs or schedule a stop at an attraction or scenic area on your way, pit stops will help to keep the little ones busy and the driver refreshed.
Our road trip itineraries include suggested stops that are great for families:
Kids will no doubt want to spend some time on their device and let’s face it, this is not the time to fight that battle! However, to break up the digital drain, a few small activities are great. Magnetic games, finger puppets, lacing cards, and other homemade activities, like those in this busy bag activity, can help to keep kids entertained. For little kids, don’t forget to bring their favourite toy or blanket for play and comfort.
Make a road trip playlist
Or easier still – use mine! I’ve put together a Spotify playlist with something for every generation with movie soundtracks, pop hits, NZ classics, and more – all picked for their sing-a-long-ability and guaranteed to get stuck in your head for the entire trip. What can I say except, you’re welcome!
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”