Because there’s only so much “I Spy…” that you can play!
With the holidays just around the corner, the prospect of getting through a long-haul flight or a road trip with kids might seem a little daunting. It can often feel like an impossible task getting them to sit still and quietly for long periods. However, a little bit of preparation can make for not only a stress-free road trip or journey, but a fun one too. From old-fashioned family competitions to small and portable games, here are some ideas to help keep kids amused on the roads or in the skies.
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For Babies & Toddlers
Create Your Own Travel Toys!
If you have the time, a little DIY can go a long way for this age group. Put an old water bottle to good use and turn it into a baby entertainment device! If you fill the bottle with water just halfway, drop in a few cents and screw the lid back on extra tight, your baby has a new shaking toy! Entertainment comes from watching the cents splash about inside. You could also add in beads, buttons or glitter which creates a mesmerising effect. Do be sure to screw the lid on extra tight to avoid any mess or choking hazards! Another word of caution – if your toddler is in the smash-on-the-floor phase, avoid the water and use coloured, raw rice instead.
Babies and toddlers love to doodle, and thanks to The Banne Magnetic Drawing or the ELC Super Scribbler, they can do so mess-free! These boards are lightweight and perfect for travel, allowing young ones to doodle to their heart’s content. The sliding eraser also allows them to wipe all drawings clean! With an attached pen to avoid anything getting lost, they’re perfect to slot into a bag and take on the go.
Audiobooks And Podcasts
An audiobook is a great way to entertain babies or toddlers. A Winnie the Pooh or Peppa Pig story, for example, can lead to hours of fun and brings stories to life in kids’ minds, with voices and characters they perhaps already recognise. You can download audiobooks from many places, including Amazon’s Audible and Apple’s iTunes. Podcasts are another excellent option and are also completely free to download. Podcast options are endless and range from sing-a-long songs and stories, to an introduction to science concepts. Do try CBeebies Radio or The Story Home Children’s Audio Stories or Circle Round. These podcasts provide hours of entertainment for younger children.
Read more: Podcasts Your Kids Should Be Listening To
For Kindergarteners & Pre-Schoolers
If you need something that is simple, mess-free and requires minimal supervision, Imaginetics is a great idea. From Enchanted Forests to Train Stations, Imaginetics has every child’s interests covered. The folding magnetic board is great for imaginative play (since most kids love creating pictures and stories!) and its small and compact design makes it perfect for long car rides or flights.
Scavenger Hunt Lists
A little like a road trip I-spy, but with added independence. The internet is full of free Scavenger Hunt Lists that you will keep your kids happy and engaged during your trip. Simply search for Road Trip or Airplane Scavenger Hunt Lists and plenty will show up on Pinterest (like these). Print a couple off and take them on the go. See how many of the items can be spotted along your route!
The “What am I?” Game
The What Am I Game is a family favourite! One at a time, someone thinks of an animal, a famous movie character or maybe someone in your own family, and everyone else must take turns to ask yes or no questions that help you to guess their character. Ask questions such as “Are you an animal or a human?”, “Are you a boy or a girl?” and so on, until you narrow it down and eventually guess. You can make it harder by putting a limit on the number of questions you can all ask before you have to take a guess. It’s great fun and often takes quite a while to guess right! Without realising it, children also learn how to frame questions correctly (getting them ready for big school!). Of course, you will have to restrict it to animals and characters that your kids know!
For Young Kids
An excellent portable game is Travel Blurt!. Kids take turns reading clues aloud and all other players must blurt out the answers when they think of them. Travel Blurt comes with a magnetic scoreboard and the first player to reach the top of the board wins. It includes 450 words on 75 double-sided cards and is fantastic fun for this age group. Designed by Educational Insights, this is often recommended by teachers.
Last letter is a great game to get kids’ brains working and keep the noise down to a minimum. The game involves saying a word that starts with the last letter of the word that came before. Mum or dad can start with something simple, such as apple, and the next person must say a word beginning with E such as egg or elephant. The game begins again when someone is unable to think of a word. You could add a time limit for a bit of extra competition!
The Never-Ending Story Game
This is a great one to pass the time and allows kids to get their creativity muscles moving. Someone starts a story about anything they like, and one by one everyone else adds on one sentence. This game, as the name might suggest, really has no end so it can go on as long as the story allows!