Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Are you one of the many families choosing to holiday in your home country this summer instead of travelling by air?
Does the thought of endless hours in the car with the kids fill you with dread? Are the words “are we nearly there yet?” already ringing in your ear!?
Don’t panic, we’ve compiled this list of tried and tested activities for all ages that will make the time on the road fly by making stress levels virtually non-existent, from the kids anyway. Now, if only we could do something about roadworks and traffic – we’d really be onto a winner!
Plus, as the activities are without the use of screens, they’re a great way to start the holiday as you mean to go on – with some proper family bonding time.
1. Who Am I? /What am I?
You just need some post it notes and a pen for this one. One person writes a famous person or it could be a cartoon character, animal (anything goes) on the post it note and puts it on another person’s head. The person with it on their head then has to ask yes or no questions to try to find out what/who they are.
It’s best to set a theme at the beginning for younger kids but you can make up any rules you like for this one.
2. Count Them
We always played this one when we were kids. Usually cars and you can tell what era it was, when I tell you we counted red and yellow cars. Yes, it was the 80’s! Great for longer car rides as it really gets your kids focused on what’s outside. Just ask them to start counting anything: buildings, silver cars, types of cars, cars from a certain town etc. You can make the winner whoever counts to a particular number first.
3. Would You Rather?
A great way to get to know how your kids minds work, and your spouse’s too! Depending on the ages of your kids in your car, the questions can be as simple as, “would you rather be a cat or a dog?” or as complex as, “Would you rather live without legs or without your sense of taste?”
4. Have a Sing Along!
Stick the radio on full blast or put on your favourite CD and get everyone to join in with singing along. This really raises the spirits and cheers up flagging kids (and parents) after hours of driving.
5. Car Number Plate Lingo
A simple yet fun game which relies on the imagination. Again, a great insight into what’s going on in your children’s heads! Best to set a rule that no rude words allowed or you may get a lot of bum and poo references.
In this game, players take it in turns to explain the meaning of the letters on selected car number plates. For instance, “LJ" might stand for "Lemon Jelly" or "Lonely Juggler." You can make it a competition with the winner being the person who makes up with the funniest or most ridiculous from the initials.
6. Where Are We?
This activity lets the back-seat drivers answer the question "Are we nearly there yet?" themselves. Armed with a map, they use their skills to observe the city names on motorway exit signs and perhaps look at the GPS navigation system, they then know at all times how much farther there is to go.
A great way to get them even more engaged is to either print out the map from a site like Google Maps and encourage your kids to mark off the various cities you pass and fill in the route with coloured pencils or crayons as you continue your drive.
Or you could prepare cards with landmark, city and town names on, in order of the journey. Then attached string around the back of the car with these pegged on. They can then remove them from the pegs as you pass these places. Allowing them to chart the progress of the journey.
7. Foil Sculptures
A roll of aluminium foil goes a long way in the car, and it’s fun even the adults can get into. You could even recreate something on the journey or ask them to sculpt something they are going to see or do on their holiday. Giving them excitement about why they are stuck in the car for hours on end in the first place.
8. I-Spy road Trip Bingo
A new take on the age-old game of I-Spy. We’ve prepared one especially for you to print off, with blank sheet so you can make up your own game too. You could even ask your kids to prepare the blank one themselves beforehand – to really get them motivated to play the game. Just click on the pdf and print off as many as you like.
Have you got any activities you do with your kids on long journeys? Leave a comment and share your favourite. Happy holidays.