Surviving a road trip with children can be a stressful experience, no matter how much experience you’ve had dealing with your little ones. Preparing for the unexpected is the ultimate way to ensure that your journey goes as smoothly as it can, with as minimal disruptions as possible.
It’s a good idea to pack the usual and familiar toys that they kids are comfortable with - games consoles, iPads, iPhones – and making sure they’re charged up for the journey. Installing your kid’s favourite TV shows and films onto any tablets and laptops you have will help to keep them entertained for a few hours of the journey, as well as new programmes and films they haven’t seen before.
Depending on how long your road trip will be before you reach your destination, one or more of your electronics are likely to die on you, and when that happens, you need to be prepared.
Here are just some of the things you can do to pass the time and ensure that you and the children aren’t going to be bored.
What’s Yours Called?
This game requires nothing but the imagination. Look at the nearest number plate and make a note of it. Afterwards, decide what you would call the car, based on it! This game can last a while, especially with kids with big imaginations.
Number Plate Bingo
Print out a bingo board full of numbers and letters and give everyone one before the journey or halfway through. Just like the usual bingo, whoever can match the numbers and letters first wins. The kids will be distracted looking out for their winning numbers and letters and you’ll be able to enjoy a somewhat calm journey. (Until the inevitable shout of ‘BINGO!’)
If you know your kids are going to squabble, then this game will help keep them at bay. Before you begin your journey, give the children a certain about of sweets in each bank. They will be allowed to eat their bank when you arrive at your destination. Every time they argue or fight, charge them a sweet from their bank. If they’re good all journey, reward them by giving them extra sweets. Keep the bank for the way back home and you’ll have well-behaved kids.
‘I Pack My Bag’
This memory game can go on and on – depending on just how good your family’s memory works! Simply start by telling the others one item you would pack your bag with. The next person must repeat it and include another item. Repeat until someone messes up – and it will happen. Items get more obscure as they go on!
Guess the tune
An oldie, but one that never fails to entertain. Someone simply hums a tune, and the others must guess what the tune is. The person who guesses the most tunes correctly, wins! Plan in advance by taking a CD full of karaoke tunes to get the entire family involved.
Six Degrees of Separation
You might know this game as ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ but it doesn’t stop with him. This game is ideal for older children. Start with two celebrities who have never worked together. You must then name how they are connected by association, and you only have 6 connections to do it through. This game can go on and on depending on how far apart your celebrities are. Have fun trying to connect as many people to each other as possible!
Putting your trust in electronic devices is fine, but being ready for an occasional malfunction or failure can be the difference between a happy child or a miserable one during a lengthy trip on the open road. Remember, a family holiday starts from the moment you leave the house!