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How to keep your kids entertained on the road

By  AAMI

It’s all about the journey, not the destination, but sometimes kids need a little nudge to stay engaged during a long drive. Here are some ideas that will keep the kids occupied and the parents happy when you’re on the road.

‘Are we there yet?’ It’s the four-word phrase that every parent dreads, especially when it’s muttered before you’ve even reversed out of the driveway. Keeping the kids busy on a long road trip can be hard. After all, there are only so many hours that can be spent playing “I Spy”.  Fear not - we’re here to help. Here are our favourite ways to keep the kids busy while enjoying the sights of our beautiful country.

Introduce car karaoke

On road trips, music can be a parent’s sweet salvation. Take things a step further by introducing car karaoke. Get everyone involved by encouraging kids and adults to pick their favourite songs, and add them all to a dedicated road trip playlist – here’s one we made to help get you started. And don’t forget to warm up those vocal cords!

Listen to an audiobook

Kids love it when we read to them, and listening to an audiobook as a family is a great way to come together and create discussion. Audiobooks can turn driving time into story time. Try downloading Harry Potter or entertain them for hours with the fun rhymes of Dr. Seuss.

Hold a family photo challenge

Dig up all your old mobile phones and digital cameras and watch as your kids become photographers and filmmakers. In the style of Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project, create daily challenges associated with the places you go. Set tasks to find objects or interesting concepts and give rewards for each challenge to ensure kids of all ages enjoy the challenge.

Make your own activity books

Activity books can be a great way to keep the kids busy – but they can also be expensive, especially if your kids are prone to avoiding certain pages. Try customising an activity book for each of your kids according to their preferences by printing activities online such as colouring sheets, find-a-words, and mazes. Then clip them to a clipboard to make a collection.

Bring portable whiteboards

Don’t fancy wasting all that paper? A DIY portable whiteboard might be the solution. Simply laminate a piece of white cardboard and bring along some whiteboard markers and an eraser and you’ve got yourself a portable whiteboard. Now your kids can draw, write, play Noughts & Crosses and whatever else they can think of – the possibilities are endless.

Try travel bingo

Bingo can be a fun way to bond as a family, so why not try taking it on the road? Start by creating a grid of different objects, animals or sites you’ll see along your proposed route. Then encourage the kids to cross them off as you go. For a deal sweetener, give prizes for different achievements and a grand prize for the first person to cross everything off on their list.

Play a storytelling game

Unleash your kids imagination with a good-old-fashioned storytelling game. Start off with a simple phrase, such as ‘Once upon a time’ and then let each family member add a sentence to the story and see how it grows. Introduce characters, name heroes and set the scene. Who knows? You might even come up with a bestseller.

Pack a portable play kit

Kids have great imaginations and playing with toys is the perfect way to keep them busy. Pack a little kit full of things they love. Think plastic figurines (wizards, animals, dolls, fairies,) and other little toys like cars, beds, and sheds that they can play with. Buy a stable table for them to keep on their lap that they can play on top of. They’ll create endless scenarios with their characters. Store it all in a little box (Tupperware works well) so they can pack it all away and keep track of it easily.

Start a scrapbook

If you have kids in the car, it’s inevitable that you’ll accrue a collection of knick-knacks, leaves, rocks, pamphlets, feathers and all manner of other interesting things. Commemorate your kids’ creative curiosity with a scrapbook dedicated to the family trip. Pack paper, glitter glue, markers and pencils and encourage them to design a layout after every stop.

Take screens

While we know cutting back on screen time is important, a portable DVD player or iPad can be just what you need when everyone is tired and cranky after a long day. Whether you download a few favourite movies or sneak in a little bit of learning with educational apps and games, technology is a fool-proof way to keep the kids busy. Just remember to pack headphones so you get a break from the noise, too.