Summer is here and that means the season of staycations is upon us! If you’re one of the millions of families that will be enjoying a holiday in the UK this year, then chances are you’ll be preparing for a long drive… and facing the challenge of how to keep the kids entertained during the journey.
Here are some tops tips to help make travelling with little backseat passengers a breeze – and head-off the inevitable ‘are we there yet?’s before they start!
1. Word games
It’s an oldie, but a classic. Words games come in all shapes and sizes, from I-Spy to 20 questions to the number plate game, but all of them are a great way to get your kids chatting and engaged in the journey.
While they might think some of the games are a bit silly at first, if you present the games as challenges then you’re sure to pique their interest and bring out their competitive side.
2. Road trip bingo
This one takes a bit of forward-planning, but we reckon it’s more than worth it. Prepare bingo cards with 20 or so things that you’d expect to see while on a long-distance drive and watch as the kids tick them off one by one.
A red car, sheep, a lorry, even a plane… whatever you choose to include, it’ll give your kids something to focus on while the miles fly by.
3. Backseat drivers
Another great way to involve your kids in the journey and get them chatting away is to give them a map and let them find out where you are. It also has the added benefit of teaching them some basic map reading skills on the side!
Feeling really brave? Get them to navigate for you as well – but maybe keep the sat nav running, just in case!
4. Mini DJs
If your child’s old enough to sit in the front seat, why not give them control of the music? If it’s a really long drive, and their music taste is a bit… repetitive, make sure to set up some playlists in advance on your phone or mp3 player. Failing that, set some rules about how many times they can play the same track! This will help to keep them occupied during the journey and feel like they’re helping out.
If they’re in the back, they could still get involved with the music if you have a stereo with Bluetooth or even just a long USB cable.
5. Electronic entertainment
Well, we’ve made it this far without mentioning them, but there’s no arguing with the fact that they work! If you’ve got a tablet or another device that you can put some apps on for the kids to play with, it’ll keep them entertained for hours. Add films and music (as well as some e-books) and most journeys should go nice and quick for them.
Another option is to invest in a set of in-car DVD players. They won’t need an internet connection, should stay free of sticky fingers and can be powered by your cigarette lighter. Best of all, they’re compatible with headphones so you can enjoy some well-earned quiet time while your kids are enjoying a film or TV show!
6. Exciting detours
If your staycation destination is miles and miles away, then it can be a good idea to factor in some kid-friendly stop-offs to help break the journey up and give your kids something to look forward to.
Merlin Entertainment seems to have a theme park or attraction in a lot of key geographical areas in the UK, while most bigger cities usually have zoos, museums or attractions designed for children. Our blog on 10 family attractions to visit in the UK has some great ideas if you’re looking for inspiration.
Or if you’ve brought your bikes along, why not tire your little one out with a bike ride and a picnic? Pay a visit to the Halfords Discovery Hub for details of some top UK cycling routes or check out our picnic essentials and kids’ bikes to make sure you’re kitted out before you leave.
If your kids get car sick, it can be much more difficult to keep them entertained. While different solutions work for different kids, we recommend an audiobook and a pillow to help distract them from how they’re feeling and (hopefully) send them to sleep.
We hope these tips help to keep your kids entertained during long journeys (and help to take the stress out of process for you!). If you need any staycation essentials for when you reach your destination, like camping supplies, tent, roof boxes and bike racks, then you head on over to Halfords.com.
If you want a super summer staycation, you want Halfords.