Ideas for keeping the kids entertained on a long drive

For some parents, a long drive with the kids isn’t always a walk in the park. Some children will nod off as soon as you pull out of the driveway, but others need some entertainment to get through a long and tedious car journey.

So that your next journey can be smooth sailing, we’ve put together a list of top tips to keep your kids (and you!) entertained on a long car journey.

Use a tablet

Although some parents prefer to restrict their children’s electronics use, for long journeys they can be a huge lifesaver.

“My children are 8 and 5 and like to watch films and cartoons on their iPads during a long drive,” says Honest Mum blogger Vicki Psarias. “We have the iPads fastened to the back of the car seats or they play games on them too (as well as educational games of course!).” Just make sure you have a car charger or portable charger though to prevent any meltdowns!

Digital Motherhood blogger Sarah agrees. “We can often be in the car for an hour or so when we go out on adventures at the weekend, so taking some kind of entertainment for our 7-year-old daughter is a must-have.

“We have a DVD player in the car and my daughter has a tablet with books, games and movies on it. Headphones are also essential, so you don't have to listen to the film yourself!”

Play a good old-fashioned car game

You can’t go wrong with a classic game of I-Spy! We have a wealth of car games (some which you’ll probably remember playing as a child!) which you can find here, which include 20 Questions, The Category Game and The Alphabet Game.

If you’re feeling creative, blogger Lauretta from Home and Horizon also recommends having a bit of fun with your kids by creating a fake conversation that they won’t be able to resist joining in with.

Here’s one that she recommends: “Without naming names, start slating someone you both know. Your kids will want to eavesdrop and will ask who you are talking about – but don’t tell them. Make up crazy stuff that the person does or how they behave. Your kids will be fascinated to listen in and will want to know who their parents are so disgruntled with. You could even turn it into a game by asking them to guess who it is you are talking about. And then watch their faces when you tell them you made the whole thing up.”

coloured marker pens

Create a masterpiece

If your children get a bit nauseous when looking down and focussing on car journeys, washable window markers are a great solution that will keep them highly entertained.

Expert Home Tips says they are sure to be a winner with your little ones. “They can draw all over the window and to keep them entertained for hours, give them themes which they have to follow - for example, 'Farmyard' or 'Space'. You can judge the winner!”

Listen or sing along to something

Listening and singing along to your childrens’ favourite kids’ CD is a sure-fire way to pass the time. “A Mr Tumble CD can make the journey just fly by, particularly if you get the whole family singing along,” says Whinge Whinge Wine blogger Fran.

Alternatively, if your family have a favourite band or artist, why not put on their album and belt your hearts out? If singing isn’t for you, you can also invest in a good audiobook. The soothing tones may also be enough to send your children into a slumber, which is great if they’re already a bit sleep deprived from the journey.

Car-friendly travel games

There are plenty of games out there that are designed for travelling in mind, such as magnetic board games, handheld puzzles or card games. But if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, Jen recommends free printable travel games, which was a big hit with her kids. “I would laminate them and then give them to the kids with a washable felt tip. Alternately, slip them into a clear folder and they can write on that, making them usable again and again!”

The printable travel games recommended by Jen include a car model word search, car badge bingo and travel bingo, where the kids cross off a range of things they come across on their journey such as a tractor, horse, caravan and more. If you’re looking for more, Minitime and In The Playroom both have a great range of printable games available on their websites.

looking through windshield and driving at night

Plan car trips at night

If your children bicker with each other or struggle to settle on a car journey, it may be worth giving Vicki’s go-to tip a chance: “We try and plan our car trips where possible so that we travel at night. The boys get into their PJs and sleep for most of the journey all being well, only momentarily waking up at the destination.”

It’s a great idea, particularly if it means you don’t have to waste a day travelling. Just ensure you aren’t too tired to drive and take frequent breaks.

Ensure everyone has enough space

Of course, this isn’t always a luxury for some families, but The Mad House blogger, Jen Walshaw, found driving a spacious car to be one of her top tips when driving to France with her two boys. “We were loaned a really spacious estate style car, which ensured that the boys had enough personal space for the long journey.”

Is it time you looked into upgrading your vehicle in preparation for a family holiday coming up? Why not find your nearest Ford dealership today?