For me, long journeys are inevitable with both mine and my husbands families living 250 miles away in opposite directions!! As well as all the weekends away and summer breaks, we do a fair bit of travelling around in the car. With two young children of 5 and 2 years old we’ve definitely learnt to plan ahead in ways to amuse and keep them occupied on a long journey.
They are always so eager to get in the car knowing they are going somewhere exciting but get bored so easily once the journey starts. They love to help packing the car and always sit on the door step watching and waiting in anticipation to get going.
Firstly we like to plan a few stops on the way – always good to give the little ones a break to stretch their legs and run around. The fresh air really helps the from feeling sluggish and getting grumpy and gives them the energy to do things again to pass the journey.
We love to take a pile of CD’s in the car either to sing along to when we start out – e.g some nursery rhymes or Justin Fletcher tunes etc and then further into the journey we move onto some story book CD’s – of which we seem to have quite a collection and they love to take turns picking the stories.
When we are driving through the countryside we love to play Spot the Animal and even better is Animal Sounds where we make the noise of the animal we see. It gets us all laughing and giggling as we moo, oink, neigh and baa to each other and is so easy to do and allows little ones to join in who are just recognising their animals and the associated sounds.
We are just moving into the realms of I-Spy with 5 yr old Miss M, although what she spys with her little eye is not necessarily something we can relate to a few minutes later but an excellent game to get playing to help her with learn the starting letters of words.
An important must have on a long journey is a little stash of food – preferablly non messy. I try to big dry foods so even if they leave a few crumbs they can be easily hoovered away rather than a gloopy, smeary mess. We like to try raisins, grapes, breadsticks or a little pack of chewy sweets as a treat.
I try to pack a little bag of activities for each of the to play in the car. Miss M has her Leappad which she can sit playing independently and also some magnetic fairy books with a few magnetic pieces she can move across the pages. Mister B who is 2 is a bit harder to entertain as he tends to drop things on the floor but he does have a little magnetic drawing board which is handy to take along with a couple of chunky cars which he can drive up and down the side of his car seat.
An important thing to remember with little ones is that they will get tired and drop off on a long journey so make sure you pack any cuddlies they like, for us Mister B has Sammy the Turtle and Miss M has a soft rabbit blanket that she wouldn’t sleep without. So if you have kept them active for half the journey, given them a good feed then with any luck they should hopefully sleep for the latter part of the journey giving you some well deserved peace, adult chat and music from your own iPod!!
For me, a journey with young children is unpredictable but with a little preparation can often go better than expected and before you know it you’ve arrived at your destination.
This post has been written for the Jolly Journeys car journey tips for Travel Supermarket. To find out more about their car hire service check out their UK car hire page.