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Georgina Kent

Your top 10 ways to keep kids entertained on a road trip

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We showed you our top tips on car journey games and keeping the kids happy. Now it's time to see the top tips you shared with us.

A collage of different illustrations for kids

If you’re a parent and you’ve taken your kids on a trip further than the local supermarket, you’ll know just how hard it can be to keep the little ones entertained.

We asked our wonderful Confused.com community for their ideas for games to play in the car, and tips on keeping the kids happy on a road trip.

We were absolutely amazed at some of the brilliant suggestions and just had to share them with you.  

1. Secret trails by Alison

An illustrated kids treasure map

“Plan your route with the kids, so they can have their own map in the back as you wind your way through country lanes or mountain passes.

“Make up a treasure trail along the way, getting them to set some of the clues, where they want to stop and have rewards along the way, like an ice-cream stop or toe-dipping in the sea.

“It avoids the ‘are we there yet’ cries from the back, and keeps everyone focused on the beautiful places you actually pass through too."

2. Backstory bingo by Sam

“Get the creative juices flowing and help the kids make up backstories for other drivers on the road.

“The old man in the VW Polo has just come from his final day at work. First night of his retirement, he’s driving up the country to visit family.

“The little terrier on the back seat is called Tom, and once saved a stranger from drowning.

“As they invent new stories, the kids – with a bit of luck – drift off to sleep.”

3. Different letter iSpy by Clive

“Start suggesting silly alternatives by replacing the initial letter, eg 'I spy with my little eye, something beginning with W! Is it a Woad? Woundabout? Wabbit?'”

4. Lucky dip activity bag by Victoria

Illustration of crayons, sweets and stickers

“For long car journeys we can’t head out without an activity bag, it’s our saviour!

“I'll pack stickers, books, toys, colouring pads, edible treats and the bit my daughter loves… I try to fit in a trip to a £ shop and buy little toys/treats, wrap them up and put them in the activity bag.

“My daughter loves digging through the bag and discovering these parcels, and gives her something new to play with to pass the time!”

5. I spy with a twist by Sam

“Instead of the kids spying their own objects, they have to tick everything they see from your list (a sheep, a yellow car, a postman, etc).

“If played correctly, this is substantially quieter than the regular game!”

6. "Once upon a..." by Gillian

“My kids’ favourite game is 3-words. The first person starts a story with three words, eg “Once upon a”, then everyone takes turns at saying the next three words in the story.

“It's hilarious and when it gets out of hand, you just start again with a new story. Keeps them occupied for hours.”

7. Alphabet game by Leanne

A colourful abc chart

“We play the Alphabet game, taking it in turns to name a fruit, animal, colour etc, starting with A, then B, C and all the way to Z.

“It’s a great learning game as well. Amazing how much time it takes up and they always end up laughing!”

8. How many legs by James

“… we would each chose a side of the car and when we went past a pub we counted the legs of the pub name. So The King and Queen, for example, scored four, but the Kings Arms counted as zero.

“This game kept us busy on all the cross-country road trips”

9. How many motorbikes by Adrian

“Get the children to look out for and count motorbikes on long journeys. That way when they’re older and driving themselves, they’ll be more likely to see bikes.

“Helps with counting, passes the time and improves road safety.”

10. Raspberry cows by Chris

An abstract illustration of a raspberry cow and a river with a bridge

“Agree a list of different sounds for different things you’re likely to see, eg blowing a raspberry for a cow, clapping for a bridge etc. Can be noisy if you have a big list, but great fun!”

For the mums and dads

We also had lots of other great tips that didn't quite fit into 'keeping the kids entertained', but are still totally worth sharing:

  • Putting together a summer sound track/playlist - not exclusive to long journeys ;)

  • Plenty of treats to reward good behaviour. You can make them as healthy as your kids allow.

  • Plan stops in advance and plenty of them to accommodate smaller bladders.

  • For very long journeys, driving overnight means often the kids will sleep and the roads will be quiet.

    Of course, this does mean you having to get a night's sleep in the day before when the kids are awake...

Thank you for taking the time to share so many great tips and ideas with us. If you have any other tips, tweet us @confused_com and use the hashtag #journeyswithkids.

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