Road Trips With Kids
It’s an age-old problem on long-distance road trips to your favourite holiday destination. How do you entertain the family along the journey and make the experience enjoyable for everyone?
While iPads and similar devices are the obvious choices when going on a road trip, below are some alternatives to engage the whole family.
Maps old school or new?
You can do either but why not go old school, purchase a set of hema road maps and get the kids to plot the journey, they can highlight the towns along the way and depending on their age you can ask them for the distances between towns. On our last big trip Teagan was just 3 years old and had a great time sitting down with Dad at the end of each day figuring out where we had been that day and how far we still had to go. This can be done at lunch time or any stop along the way as well. There are endless ways to teach them map reading and Australia’s geography.
Don’t be limited by the route you’re taking, make it enjoyable by looking for towns on the map that start with the letter ‘W’. The possible questions are endless but don’t overdo it, like all good things they come in moderation. Even combine new & old technology by researching facts online about some of the towns you will travel through. If you don’t think that your kids would be interested in the old school method, you can plot trips on google maps and play all the same games but with the Ipad or tablet. Don’t forget that maps don’t just show the roads that you are travelling on, most will have information about the region and they will show interesting stops and sites of significance. So they make a great reference when planning out your trip.
Popular games like Connect Four, Battleship and Monopoly, have been made into road trip versions. Contained in sleek portable cases, that allow you to stop mid-game, store and reopen exactly where you left the game, without losing any pieces all over the car. We also love a kids version of Celebrity heads where they can guess animals, types of transport, and types of food. Which you can get here for just $5.
Colouring books are a great quiet occupier for kids and adults alike. Budding artists can bring the pages to life. Just make sure that you have plenty of rests as even the toughest of kids can get carsick from these types of activities.
Other favourites include ‘I Spy’, which engages everyone in the car and can be great fun.
‘Number Plate Bingo’, where you list all the letters of the alphabet and the first player to spot and cross off each letter wins.
‘Never-Ending Story’, one person starts a story with a single sentence and the next person adds a sentence to make up an adventure, you will be amazed where this goes, there are some very creative children out there and this helps pass the time.
Check out the printable games below!
Audiobooks & Kids Music
Audiobooks bring books to life and can be immersive and entertaining. Plus, they can also help improve literacy for young listeners! They are also an excellent option for those who suffer from motion sickness. We have gotten each kid a set of headphones so that they can listen to their own books and music. Our kids each have their own play list on spotify that they can listen to that has all the music they like. That way mum and dad don’t have to listen to endless runs of Baby Shark.
Every road authority encourages rest breaks every hour. Even the latest model cars have warnings that appear at set times or at distance intervals. But don’t limit the stop to a walk around the vehicle, make it a real stop. Pack something to eat for these pitstops, do some form of exercise, make it a photo marker that signifies a point in the journey that you can look back on years later. Or find a point of interest ahead the makes the stop worthwhile, a short side trip off the main route can uncover some real gems along the way. Whilst we schedule in toilet breaks and things for the kids along the way we always try to make our lunch stop something fun. Its amazing the parks and playgrounds that you can find in small country towns like this one in Miriam Vale QLD that we just happened to find when looking for a lunch stop.
Another tip for those with a young family is to make an early start. Make sure that the driver gets adequate sleep prior to the early departure. Pack the night before, bundle them into the car while they are sleeping just before dawn and get a good 2 -3 hours up the road before they wake and need a rest stop. Be careful, leaving the city is ok for an early start, but in the country be alert for wildlife, particularly when driving out at dawn and dusk. This works brilliantly for some families but I know that the best thing we can do when travelling with Teagan and Hailey is to just go with the flow. We have to remember that we are on holiday and while sometimes it is important to get to the destination on a specific day and or time if you can just remember that holidays are made for fun everyone has a more relaxing and fun time on the holiday.
Everyone has their own ways of surviving a road trip, but one last tip, make sure that you have your car serviced and check that your caravan or camper trailer is in good shape, this will hopefully avoid a breakdown that can add to the frustration.
The journey to your holiday destination is part of the holiday, plan and make it enjoyable for everyone.