How To Survive A Long Car Journey With Kids

How To Survive A Long Car Journey With Kids

A car journey with kids can be exhausting.  Boredom can set in.  Patience wears thin.   Tempers flare.  Hunger pangs take hold.  And that’s just on a 15-minute trip to the supermarket!

The real test is on a long journey stretching hundreds of kilometres with a lot of nothingness between home and the final destination.  And with Covid putting a stop to long-haul holidays involving airplanes and border controls, more and more people are doing road trips to explore their own backyards.   But if you live in Western Australia which has a landmass of over 2.5 million square kilometres, that can mean you’re covering a lot of ground! 

Extended car journeys with energetic young kids are always going to be a challenge and even if you know that the end result will be worth the stress of getting there, you often have to dig deep to get through it.  But don’t stress.  We’ve got a whole lot of boredom busters that will keep your family entertained for hours on the road and make the journey less drastic – and more fantastic.  

Check out these useful tips and hacks to add some fun and excitement to your long car trip and help make it an experience to remember rather than one to forget.   You can always adapt the ideas to suit the ages and stages of your kids – the idea is to pass the time while having some fun.

Sips and nibbles

Kids are always hungry on long-haul trips and it’s a good idea to have a variety of healthy snacks and drinks on hand.  Bottles of water, juice, fresh fruit, pretzels, tiny sandwiches, carrot sticks, cheese, cold meats and crackers are just a few suggestions – and remember to make them bite sized to keep mess and waste to a minimum.

Edible jewellery

Give the children a piece of string and a small ziplock bag of cheerios or froot loops.  Kids can thread the string through the bits of cereal to make an edible necklace.

Road trip bingo

You need to do some preparation for this game, but it’s worth it!  You will need to make several different boards displaying a variety of things that you may come across on your travels (eg a red car, a windmill, a flock of sheep, a tractor, a cow, a billboard etc).  The kids will have fun marking them off as you travel along.

Scavenger hunt

This is a great activity for entertaining older kids – although you can adapt it for little people too.  

Licence plate checklist

Print out a list of licence plates from various towns and states and get the kids to check them off.  You could do a similar thing with different coloured vehicles, different makes of cars etc.

Car cricket

If your kids love their cricket, you can make a game of it in the car.  Set the rules (for example a car that you pass can be one run, a motorbike can be a four, a road train can be a six and a red car can be ‘out’).  Someone keeps a tally of who is batting and how many ‘runs’ they make.

Good behaviour stars

Encouraging good behaviour with positive reinforcement is parenting 101 and you can continue that model on your long car journey.  Make some special stars – one for each child – put some blue tack on the back and stick them on the windscreen or the visor.  If there’s bad behaviour, the star comes down.  Good behaviour and the star stays up.  It’s a great way of motivating positive behaviour – and you can always add in a reward along the way.  

Audio book

An audio book is a great way of entertaining the kids and passing the time.  The added bonus is that you don’t have to do the reading!  Choose a variety of short age-appropriate books which will hold their attention.

Creative story telling

A parent starts off the story by introducing a character/s and setting the scene.  Speak for a couple of minutes and then ‘pass the story on’ to the next person who will add the next ‘chapter’.   There don’t have to be any rules about the story – just let everyone’s imaginations run wild and enjoy the creativity!

Alphabet game

Get the kids to look for things along the way that start with the letters of the alphabet.  ‘I spy’ is another time-honoured game that always helps to pass the time.

A good tip for making a ‘table’ for the children is to use a cookie or baking tray which they place on their laps.  These make an ideal hard surface for colouring in or drawing on, using as a base for building with playdough etc.

Long car trips may be a reality, but with a little creativity and forward-planning, grumpy bored children don’t have to be part of that reality.  It takes a little commitment – and a healthy dose of patience – but a hassle-free car journey is always worth the effort in the end.

Should you have the misfortune of getting a chip or crack in your windscreen from a stone thrown up by a passing vehicle during your road-trip, you should have it seen to as soon as possible.  This is a simple job which will prevent the damage from spreading, and if you need windscreen repairs in Perth or the greater metropolitan area, we can help!

Our mobile unit will come to you and get the job done quickly and professionally at very little (or even no cost) to you, depending on your insurance.  So, if you need your windscreen seen to, get in touch with Jason or Xavier at www.autoscreens.com.au and we will have you ready for your next road trip in no time!

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