Keeping the kids buckled in and entertained during a car journey can be challenging; they have boundless energy, and need a safe, fun way to expend it during the ride. Having a few creative activities planned for the journey—or making up your own games along the way—can save you a lot of headaches while you’re in the car. Here are my favourite ideas:
Play a Game as a Group
This tip will probably take you back to your own childhood car rides, before the days of the digital age. “I spy with my little eye” is always a great game for the road, as the game will get all your passengers engaged. Other games of this nature include “20 questions,” “Name that Tune,” and “Scavenger Hunt,” in which you would print off a list of things you might see on your journey and have your kids check them off the list as you spot them along the way.
Give Them Gadgets
Of course, there’s no harm in embracing digital gadgets to keep kids entertained during the journey. In fact, keeping your child happy (and quiet) may be as simple as handing over your smart phone for a little gaming or letting him listen to kid-friendly music on your MP3 player. Younger children can play educational games on a LeapFrog LeapPad, while older kids can listen to audio books along the way. Just make sure your gadgets are properly charged before the trip!
Let Them Play and Create
This option requires some planning, but is especially useful on long car trips. Grab a few colouring books, crayons (no markers!), sticker books, and favourite toys for the ride. You can create a “work and play” station in the backseat simply by handing your kids a baking sheet, chopping board, or another flat surface on which they can spread out (and have easy access to) these playthings during the trip.
Don’t Forget about Snack Breaks
Everyone gets a little fussy when they’re hungry. For longer trips, plan a snack break during which your kids can nibble on sandwiches, fruits, chips/pretzels, and some water or juice. You may even want to pack a special goody bag filled with their favourite treats to reward good behaviour along the way.
Important Safety Tips
While it’s important to keep your kids entertained during your car trips, games, gadgets, and snacks should never compromise road safety. Always pull off the road before looking for toys, helping children with electronics, or distributing snacks. If you do get in an accident, exchange insurance and contact details with anyone involved in the wreck, collect evidence of any damages to your car, and file a report with the police and your insurance company. Injuries to passengers may not be evident right away; you’ll want to have well-documented evidence on your side in the unfortunate event that you need to make a brain injury claim or whiplash claim later on.
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