You’re going on vacation and this time you’re going on a long car ride with kids?
Long car journeys are not only exhausting for adults or the driver – for our little ones, too. Young children in particular often don’t understand why they have to sit in a car seat for hours on end before they can finally go on their long-awaited vacation or visit grandma and grandpa.
To make the time a little more bearable and entertaining for your loved ones, we’ve put together a few tips in this guide on how to keep your child or children occupied during a long car ride.
Why occupation is important for children
Keeping kids busy during a car rides a driver, you have an immensely important occupation while driving – you drive while focusing on the traffic, your surroundings, and the car.
As a passenger, you are usually listening to the radio, reading a book, or busy with your smartphone. But a child sitting behind you with no toys, distractions or things to do has few options to get through the time of the car ride in an enjoyable way.
For many children, it is quite enough to look out into the landscape during the many hours and watch as many exciting cars and trucks pass by their own vehicle. Also, many children (especially boys) are very interested in learning at a young age what dad is doing at the front of the wheel all the time anyway – questions about blue dots on navigation devices included.
However, young children or even children who are not content to just look out the window have more needs and should be kept busy at best.
This is not only a relief for your child, but also for you as the driver. The question “when are we finally going to get there?”, which could well come up every minute depending on the degree of boredom, will be delayed a little.
What things you should take with you on a car trip
It is best to take a few suitable CDs with you, which may include music for your child – at least, if your child loves songs and music does not distract you while driving. Audiobooks can also be a good way (if your child can concentrate on audiobooks and is already old enough for such stories) to make the time enjoyable for the child. Also:
- Soft toys
- Finger puppets
- Small cars
And many other things are very popular in the car. What is taken along is what is small enough for the car, cannot damage anything, and is fun at the same time.
Toys for the ride
Many manufacturers offer certain games that are designed specifically for car trips. These include, for example, memory games that can be spread out on a small table that attaches to the headrest of the passenger seat.
Magnetic puzzles are also popular for driving, as the magnets keep the puzzle pieces from falling off (at least not as quickly).
Tip: Older children also love games for car trips that involve interaction. These can be tip-toi games, for example, or games in which certain puzzles have to be solved and solutions clicked on with a stylus. In addition, if your child is a bit older, you can use an iPad with a child case to keep them occupied, as long as there are children’s apps on the device and all other apps and settings are protected.
Employment possibilities in the overview
In the following table, we have prepared an overview for you, which contains different game variants for car trips. We have sorted these game ideas by type so that you can find the right game for your child.
|Game type||Game possibilities|
|Silent occupation if possible||Small books, sticker books, metal games, braided ribbons, blocks with sinking ships (for siblings and older children).|
|Employment for painting||Paper (small pad), stencils, crayons, eraser|
|Role-playing games||Figures made of fabric, wood or plastic, stuffed animals, dolls, cars, construction worker material, toy cell phones, and many more.|
|Creative games||Adhesive tape, beads, stickers, slips of paper, origami, ribbons (creative games are more appropriate for older children who can handle the toys appropriately during the ride).|
|Games to explore||Magnifying glass, magnets, quiz games, music games, and the like.|
Especially the games that stimulate creativity and brainpower are often more suitable for older children. Role-playing and quiet games, on the other hand, are also suitable for very young children. Activities involving painting and handicrafts, on the other hand, are also suitable for toddlers who can already handle these things appropriately.
Best travel toy for toddlers
Put together a travel kit
It has been our experience that children – especially toddlers and school-age children – respond very positively when some sort of travel kit is put together specifically for the car trip.
This is a small backpack or bag that is filled with special toys that are either specifically chosen or even just for the car ride. The child, along with the parent, packs everything they want for the car ride. From this alone, you can already see where the trip is going and with what things you can best keep your child busy.
Tip: If your child is already a little older, announce to him that a travel kit is now being put together. He or she gets to choose three toys and pack them – these things go with the trip. Now send the child out of the room and promise to put together a unique and special kit that your child will get to unpack and use during the trip.
Excitement will be high, curiosity will grow, and so the first hour of the car ride will already be well filled with the child discovering all the little toys you’ve put in the kit. Often, especially toys are suitable for these kits, which may have been forgotten for a long time, but actually fit your child very well or have simply disappeared from sight. Even the little ones will be amazed when they suddenly find their beloved toys in a travel kit.
Toddler’s Toys For Car Trip Review
Toddler’s Travel Toys
LilGadgets Kids Volume Limited Wired Headphones
It is a beautifully designed, high-quality, volume-limited wired children’s headphone for children aged 3-7, featuring the integrated SharePort to make sharing a little easier between kiddos. The Connect+ is foldable and durably constructed out of high-quality polycarbonate and covered with comfortable SoftTouch Fabric. No additional cost or pieces of which to keep track!
Melissa & Doug Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads
No-mess painting for kids! This exciting paint-with-water coloring book includes three reusable pages and a refillable water pen. Simply use the pen to color in each scene–details and vibrant color appear with every stroke! Then let the page dry to erase the pictures and fill them in again and again. This safari-themed book includes three scenes to color and a search-and-find activity for each scene. The chunky-sized water pen is easy for kids to hold and stores neatly right on the front cover, so Water WOW! Books make ideal travel activity books and travel toys for kids.
deMoca Quiet Book Montessori Toys for Toddlers
Pleasant soft baby cloth book touch and feel, yet durable and sturdy sensory toy. Ideal for long car journeys & plane ride activities travels toys for toddlers to keep your kid busy. Toddler travel activities, soft & easy to carry while exploring the world.
Montessori Sensory Activity Board for Toddlers
Features a variety of fasteners to stimulate your tiny tot and develop essential life skills, and at the same time can recognize ABC at back. Including shoe ties, zipper, buckle, snap, lace is an educational tool for children to learn to dress by themselves. Let kids learn and practice essential dressing skills at their own pace while playing.
Wallxin Travel Tangram Puzzle
This is teaching mathematics in a jigsaw puzzle, this puzzle has 176 questions, each topic has an answer, offers different skill levels, it’s great to exercise your child’s brainpower and focus can develop the child’s observation, imagination. The tan gram can help them to know various geometric shapes, cognition to color. It’s a great way to get the kids away from using the tablet, but still, keep them from being bored.
Tips & ideas for fun games in the car
Children love to be on the move all the time and everywhere. Strapped in the car, of course, this is not possible, and they quickly become restless and impatient.
Children’s games in the car are therefore a great way to keep the little fighters busy. Play fun against boredom is the motto – no matter whether the trip goes to the sea, to the mountains, or to grandma and grandpa in another city.
There are many game ideas for the car: The selection ranges from classics like the guessing game “I see something you don’t” to funny travel games out of the box to modern learning games on the smartphone or tablet. Puzzles are especially popular as car games – the more players, the better.
It’s best to choose your car games so that they vary in difficulty and length, that way it stays entertaining.
Most importantly, prepare well in advance for the car ride with your kids, so you have your tricks in store before the long drive to your vacation. In addition to simple play instructions and an exciting story or two, it pays to have practical travel aids in your luggage.
Fill useful accessories like storage bags and boxes with games and snacks for in-between, and place them within easy reach for little hands. That way, your kids can grab whatever they’re in the mood for on their own.
Support technology & media
It has long been no secret that children like to keep themselves occupied with the help of modern technology such as tablets and smartphones. So it’s natural to take advantage of this entertainment option during a long trip on vacation. But is this really a good idea?
As always, decide what works best for you and your kids. If you’ve been puzzling and talking for hours, and it’s time for a few quiet minutes, for example, using educational games on a tablet is a good idea.
Short videos or films also generate enthusiasm among the little ones. When dealing with media, it’s important to stick to clear agreements and set specific times. This will help you avoid dissatisfaction and frustration.
Also, make sure that your device is protected from shocks. In the car, it can easily happen that children’s hands let go of the tablet or cell phone when braking or in a curve. So put it in a secure case or in a car bag with a tablet holder, so nothing can break.
By the way, the activity ideas around cell phones and tablets work best when they are not used frequently. True to the motto “less is more,” half an hour with an electronic device becomes a special experience – and your kids enjoy this time even more intensively.
So that the family fun doesn’t fall by the wayside, you can alternate between fun games and the use of tablets and other devices.
More tips for relaxed road trips with children
With lots of play ideas and practical travel aids, you can create great conditions for a casual car trip with your kids. Would you rather be on the safe side? We have even more tips for your trip by car.
- Take plenty of breaks along the way. Even though you might reach your destination faster with just a few breaks, it’s time well spent. If your children get some fresh air in between, they will use up more energy and won’t get restless so quickly in the car.
- Set milestones along the way. Divide your entire trip into smaller stages and consider which sights are interesting for your children.
Extra tip: Write the individual milestones on a long piece of tape and stick it to the ceiling in the car. Attach some Velcro to a small toy car and place it in front of the first milestone. As the car travels, it can be moved along the track.
- Pack a surprise bag. Small toys and candy hidden in a paper bag work wonders. For the winners of a game round or as a reward in between – with a lovely surprise, your children’s spirits will rise immediately.
- Drive late in the evening or at night. Of course, it’s especially quiet in the car when all the kids are asleep. On long journeys lasting 7 to 8 hours, it’s worth taking advantage of the little ones’ bedtime and leaving the miles behind in the dark. Use neck pillows and cozy blankets to keep them snoozing in their car seats.
- Dress your kids in comfortable clothes. In loose sportswear like sweatpants or even pajamas, kids feel much more comfortable right away. Breathable fabrics and soft materials like cotton ensure that they are neither too hot nor too cold.
Driving In My Car | Kids Songs – Video
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