10 ways to keep kids happy on long car journeys

Tired of your bored kids killing your holiday mojo before you’ve even got there? Check out our tips for keeping them happy in the car

Tired of your bored kids killing your holiday mojo before you’ve even got there? Check out our tips for keeping them happy in the car:

Kid Car

1) Hand over control of the stereo

The golden rule. Forget about what music you like and handover to the music they like. Swap the Smiths for Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters for Frozen. The Beatles for Justin Bieber. Resistance is futile. You may even find yourself singing along. Top songs for family singalongs in the car (according to poll by Alamo Rent A Car):

  • Let It Go - Frozen soundtrack
  • Happy – Pharrell Williams
  • Bare Necessities – Jungle Book soundtrack

2) Come prepared with snacks

So what if you just vacuumed the car? A hungry kid is a grumpy kid. So pack a cool bag with some healthy snacks to keep hunger at bay. Think little packets of raisins and dried fruit; unsalted nuts, low-fat snacks like Twiglets and Snack-a-Jacks.
Top tip: Avoid anything that melts, is overly sticky or involves dipping

3) Play an old-school game

Too much Taylor? Had their fill of dried fruit? Why not play a traditional game. And show them what car journeys were like in the days before stereos, smartphones and iPads. Who Am I? is a great game to play. Decide on a famous person and then everyone else in the car asks questions until someone gets it.

4) Let them chill with a film

A film on a portable DVD player is a great way for them to chill for an hour or so. But they may argue about who gets the screen. They each get their own screen with the Logik Dual Screen portable DVD player. Mount the screens on the back of your front seat headrests and transform your car into a mini cinema. Check out the Logik DVD player.

5) Pack an Etch a Sketch

Drawing is a great way to pass the time. And with an Etch a Sketch-type drawing toy they can work on a masterpiece without you having to worry about pen marks on your car seats or their clothes, and paper and pen lids messing up the footwell.

6) Let them play games and do puzzles on the iPad

A tablet computer can be your best friend on long car journeys. Download the right apps and your kids can learn, laugh and lose themselves in puzzles and books. The iPad Air 2 is light for them to hold, has a super-sharp screen for when they’re reading text or doing spelling challenges, will load apps fast to stave of boredom and has hundreds of thousands of apps to download. Apps for kids:

  • Talking Tom is a cat that copies what you say and lets you pat him – sounds simple, but it’s fun
  • Pocket Phonics is perfect for young schoolkids who are getting going with reading, writing and speaking
  • Toca apps are great for kids. In Toca Life: City they can explore the city, customise their characters and find treasures

Check out the iPad range.

7) Enjoy a round or 2 of guess the song

Pack a few old Now That’s What I Call Music compilation CDs. Put one on, and the first person to guess the name of each track gets a point. Tot up the results at the end of each CD to work out the winner. They have around 40 songs across 2 CDs so it should keep you going for a while…

8) Turn the car into a kind-of classroom

Tired of getting yes/no answers to your admittedly generic questions? Adopt the role of resident geography and history expert and tell them interesting facts about the towns and landscapes you’re passing through. Things like:

  • ‘That’s Lake Windermere, the largest lake in the Lake District’
  • ‘A tarn is a mountain lake, the word comes from Old Norse’
  • ‘This is Bronte Country – it gets the name because it’s where the Bronte sisters (famous writers) grew up’

9) Introduce them to pub cricket

Another old-school game played in the days before tech. The name is likely to at least get their attention. How to play pub cricket:

  • You have a batter who looks for pubs along the route
  • Once you pass a pub you work out how many runs it scores
  • This is decided by the number of legs the people or animals in the pub’s name have
  • If a pub is called the William Shakespeare then you get 2 legs. If the pub is called the dog and the duck then you get 6 legs. 

10) Don’t get lost

Seems like an obvious one. But what makes a long journey even more unbearable for kids? When it becomes an even longer journey ‘cause mum or dad missed the turning, or didn’t read the directions.

A sat nav can keep you on the right track. Telling you where to go turn by turn and even letting you know how long it’ll take to reach your destination.

So when the kids go ‘are we nearly there yet?’ you can actually give them a proper answer. 

This Garmin nuvi 2599 model is exclusive to Currys PC World, comes with a carry case and full European maps.