Are we there yet? (Activities for the car)
Do you remember those long boring car journeys as a kid with one of your siblings (never yourself) pestering your parents with that universal question “Are we there yet?” It was tough to be a child in those days. The only in-car entertainment system consisted of three and a half rounds of Eye Spy followed by ‘I went to the Market and bought a…’ and finally ended with a slap after your own pigtails were kindly provided for your bother’s personal amusement.
This would be repeated for hours on end as we traversed the length of South Africa. Honestly, our children have no idea how easy they have it nowadays.
As as result of the arduous nature of our own childhoods, when we road trip now we have our own children sitting silently in the car, their necks bent to their laps, eyes glued to what ever flickering device offers up the latest YouTuber or video game.
Non electronic options
If you are uncomfortable with that eerie silence and hanker after the bygone days of inter sibling animosity, here are a few alternative ideas to help keep your kids occupied while you travel. Some of these items we have used ourselves and have found them to be ideal for car journeys with our own children.
1. Portable Card Games
Usborne keep coming up with fabulous books and games for kids. We have played this game on countless journeys. It consists of a small box of activity cards, each one containing a different task or challenge on cards that are strong and durable. 50 Things to Do on a Car Journey (Usborne Activity Cards) (Activity and Puzzle Cards)
They also have this one which is suitable for younger children. The set comes with a pen and the cards are wipeable: 100 Things for Little Children to do on a Journey (Usborne Activity Cards) (Activity and Puzzle Cards)
2. Books to Read
I try and keep a selection of books (you know the old fashioned ones made out of paper?) in the seat pockets just so that the kids can be encouraged to read a bit more. I can’t admit to it being entirely successful but any extra reading is considered a bonus in my opinion.
Failing that, the smell of books in the car makes for a comforting air freshener above child induced odours, and it makes you look a bit intellectual.
3. Audio Books
As a family we agree that listening to audio books is one of the best ways to pass the time when we travel. I try and borrow a few different options from our local library. The only tricky part is trying to decide which ones to pick that the whole family will enjoy.
4. Colouring and Activity Books
~ Learning Bugs produces a wide range of educational colouring books for both children and adults. You can download a free printable sample below in order to try them out before you buy them down. Or visit their website to find out more.
~ Filled with handy pre-travel tips for parents, as well as games and activities for all ages, Backseat Boredom Busters is a free down-loadable book. This 10 page book as been compiled and provided by Allianz.
5. Lap tray
These are extremely useful at home as well as in the car. We use them for when kids are sick and need a tray on their laps for their chicken soup or gruel (yes we’re diverse). But they are also handy in the car, especially when colouring-in books need to be coloured in.
And finally, after you’ve had enough of the bickering, and you’ve just said “Still Not Yet” for the hundreth time to the “Are we there yet?” questions, you might find these items handy for those screens!
1. Flexible Screen Holder
There are a whole range of different options available nowadays for clipping tablets onto the back of seat headreasts.
We recently used a lazy arm while travelling as this enables more than one child to watch the same screen. A lazy arm is a flexible piece of equipment that can be manipulated to change the angle of the screen.
2. Good Head Phones
We bought these headphones for the kids, each in a different colour so there’s no confusion, for Christmas in 2017 and they are all still going strong! They are foldable so they are easy to pack and they do a great job of blocking out other sounds. Which is extremely annoying for me when they wear them at home and I’m calling them to lay the table.