Are we there yet? Keeping the kids happy on long trips


The bags are packed, the route is planned and the sandwiches have been cut into neat little triangles – it’s time to start the car and head off on your next big family day out.

This half term, thousands of families will be hitting the road in search of a new adventure. Whether this adventure manifests itself in yet another visit to Auntie Pat’s or a fun day at the seaside, who knows – all we know for certain is that if you’re travelling with small children, it doesn’t take long for a few minutes on the motorway to feel like a heck of a lot longer.

This holiday, why not make a few small changes to help make even the longest of journeys a doddle? Who knows, you might even be able to get the kids to Auntie Pat’s without kicking up a fuss!

Modern solutions

With your eyes fixed on the road while your brain tries to work out whether or not you should take the next left, it’s not always safe to take your attention away from the road. With this in mind, car games such as ‘I spy’ soon become more of a hazard than an enjoyable game – which doesn’t always suit those sitting in the back seat.

Thankfully there are plenty of nifty gadgets and electronic gizmos to help you keep the kids entertained while you concentrate on the road ahead.

Audiobooks are a cost effective solution for any parent embarking on a long road trip with young ones. The best bit about audiobooks is that they can be downloaded onto a smartphone – so you won’t have to pay for any techy gadgets, only the price of the book. There are plenty of classics to choose from too, so you can be sure there’ll be a story to match even the most eclectic of tastes.

Stepping things up a notch, a portable DVD player could prove to be a really savvy purchase if your youngsters are the types who prefer visual stimulation. Where once portable DVD players required a small loan in order to buy, nowadays a decent piece of kit can be picked up for under £50.

The best bit is that these beauties come with a headphone socket built-in, so you can still enjoy listening to your favourite radio station while they kick back with the latest Disney flick.

Keeping it creative

Providing you opt for some non-messy options, creative arts and crafts can be the perfect things to keep your kids busy on long car trips.

Even a simple notebook can provide hours of entertainment, whether you’ve got an only child who loves nothing more than writing their own stories, or a set of triplets who enjoy a competitive game of Hangman.

Whiteboards are a great option too – just make sure you’ve got a set of tissues in the back in order to prevent your kids wiping the boards clean with their little hands.

For little bookworms, try taking a selection of books for them to get stuck into while you’re out on the road. You might find that reading even tires them out, which is handy if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet as they rest their weary eyes.

One final thing that’s worth remembering is that regular stops are really important whenever you’re heading out on a long road trip. Not only do they provide you and the family with a chance to get some fresh air, a nice stop allows you to stretch your legs and re-energise – which is really important when sitting behind the wheel for hours at a time.