How to keep kids entertained on long road trips. It’s always funny in a movie when you see a family on a road trip and the kids are driving the parents nuts with their endless, “are we there yet” groaning.
Well it is funny, until you are a parent and you are the one having to listen to this over and over again. Listen to them fight, listen to them say they are bored and in general be driven to the brink of insanity! Family trips are awesome, but the journey can be the ultimate test of your patience.
Well to save you from going insane and to help you avoid the temptation of leaving the kids at a diner, we have some great tips to keep your kids entertained on long road trips and not one of them involves chloroform or duct tape!
When we were kids we had a Game Boy and a Game Boy was great, playing Tetris and Super Mario Land for hours on end. Well until the batteries ran out or if the light was not quite right. Well kids these days have it much easier than we did.
The most obvious choice here is a Nintendo 3DS. You may think this is a huge expense, but you can get a Nintendo 2DS or a pre-owned, old style Nintendo 3DS for well under fifty dollars these days. If you want to go even older there is the Nintendo DS which will not cost you much money at all.
These have internal batteries that last for hours so they will be great for keeping your kids entertained during a long road trip. Honestly the cost of these consoles is much lower than the price a brutal road trip with the kids can take on your soul!
Nothing Wrong With A Good Book
If you are lucky enough to have kids who still like to read then get them a few books. Now it may be tempting to go and get them the thickest book you can find. But that can seem pretty daunting to a kid, especially on what is supposed to be a long and fun road trip. Instead, we suggest that you buy them a few smaller books.
Things like comic books or even magazines. Get them a bag full of these types of things and they will have their own little collection to get through. Hopefully they will have had a look at each one of them before they start harassing you about when you will get there.
In Car DVD Player
Many parents wonder how they survived long road trips before the invention of the in car DVD player. The cost of these things have really come down in the last few years. To be honest we would not pay more than fifty bucks for an in car DVD player and you can probably get a pre-owned one for under half that!
DVD’s are dirt cheap so you could even buy them a couple of new ones for the journey. One thing we would like to say is that if you have two kids, please get them their own DVD player and a set of headphones each!
The worst thing you can do is expect two kids to agree on what movie to watch in the car. If you thought the journey was brutal before just wait until there is a huge war over watching Spider-Man or Frozen! Pay a little extra and get them one each.
Keep Them Busy With Activity Books
Didn’t we just recommend books? Well yes, yes we did, but these are not normal books we are talking about here. Things like word search books, activity books and coloring books are what we are suggesting you buy here. These are great as they are fun and keep the kids nice and quiet while you drive.
One little thing though, do not let them have felt tip pens in the back of the car as they will get pen everywhere! Get them a pack of crayons as there is far less mess with these.
Another huge benefit to getting your kid a few activity books are the costs. Most dollar and 99 cent stores carry these kind of books so you can get your child quite a few different ones and not spend much more than five to ten bucks. These are usually themed with things like Star Wars or Disney Princesses so get them a activity book about something they are into and they will think it is extra cool.
When we were kids we played Punch Buggy where you were to punch your brother or sister in the arm when you saw a VW Beetle….. we are guessing that is not what you want your kids to do and in all honesty it just leads to more shouting and arguing in the back of the car. But playing some fun family games that do not involve assaulting each other is an awesome way to pass the time.
A couple of classics are first of all, I Spy. One that usually gets kids excited is picking a color of a car each and then each one that passes gives you a point. The kids will be so desperate to win that they will be glued to the window looking for their color of car! Another fun family game is the character game. One person in the car says the name of a character like Jake The Dog. Then the next person has to say one beginning with the last letter so it would be G. This is another fun family game that everyone can get into.
Jam Along To Some Songs!
Hey if you are not cool and do not know what we are talking about here do not worry. We are just talking about putting on some music and having a little in car karaoke going on. This is actually something that we were really on the fence about adding to this list.
For the right kind of family this is no doubt an awesome family road trip kind of idea. But this could have a dark side. A dark side that can drive you to the brink of insanity if your child insists on singing the same songs over and over again! So while this can be a very good weapon in the battle against road trip boredom, use it wisely and think before you do!
Tablets – How To Keep Kids Entertained On Long Road Trips
Sorry to tell you that we are not talking about sleeping tablets here! But instead, we are suggesting that you let your child load up on a whole load of new apps on their own tablets before the road trip. Even if you have to give them five bucks to spend on the Apple or Google store.
This is a great way to give them something fun and new to do during the road trip. One way to really make this something special is not give them the money on their tablets until the morning you are about to go. Just make sure that they get an app or game that does not require Wi-Fi so you do not have to listen to them complain that they cannot play their new game.
Make Fun Stops
Do some research before you start your journey look and see if there is anything cool along the way. Things like a cool park, a fun place to eat or just some kind of interesting landmark are great ways to break up a long road trip.
Sure you will most likely have to stop for about 500000 restroom breaks during your road trip. But a family trip should be fun and while us parents want to get to the destination as quickly as possible. It will never be quick enough for the kids. So break up the journey by stopping at some fun and interesting places.
Every Kid Has A Price
Ok so our last one may be scraping the parenting barrel and it may be something that some parents turn their noses up. But if you have had a brutal long road trip with your kids before and you are just looking for something to make it easier…… bribe them.
That is right, we are suggesting you bribe the kids. A toy, a video game, going to see a movie or even something simple like a trip to McDonalds. There is nothing wrong with giving your kids a little bit of an incentive to behave while they are in the back of the car. If the kids start getting restless or if Lisa is freaking out because Bart dared to touch her leg with his leg. Just calmly remind them that there is something big riding on them being good on this trip!
A good bribe/incentive along with one or two of the other suggestions on this list is a great way to keep the kids entertained and yourself from going nuts on a long road trip.