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21 January, 2013 - Peta Daniels Peta Daniels

Top 10 ways to keep the kids happy in the car

Any length of road trip can feel like an eternity to children, adding to your stress and making the whole trip an unenjoyable experience for everyone in the car. The key to keeping kids happy in the car is to keep them occupied. There are so many nifty ways to distract kids on road trips.

Traveling With Kids

1) Audiobooks to keep kids happy in the car


Audiobooks can be very entertaining as the stories are often told in funny voices and include sound effects. Audiobooks will also keep kids happy in the car for long stretches at a time. Try to choose a story that the whole family can enjoy, or allow the kids to listen to a story on their own device with headphones.

2) Keep children entertained in the car with a Travel Kit


A fantastic way to hold the kids attention in the car for longer than five minutes is a ?travel kit? for of fun kids activities. Add things like (easily removable) stickers to decorate the back seat, books, colouring-in or activity books, crayons and new toys for the kids to explore once they get into the car. A fun idea to make it last is to individually wrap new toys or books that your children haven't seen before and to give them something new every so often throughout the drive.

3) Take regular breaks to keep kids happy on road trips


It just about goes without saying that stopping regularly on long car trips will keep everyone happy and safe. Find a shady spot for everyone to stretch their legs, a highway rest stop, or a playground for the kids to burn off some energy. If you?ve packed a picnic lunch, having a break will leave everyone re-energised and the kids happy in the car for the remainder of that day?s trip.

4) Gadgets to occupy kids when travelling


Whilst technology-based toys may not be every parent?s ideal choice of entertainment for their children in the car, gadgets such as portable DVD players and kid-friendly apps on your phone can come in very handy for longer road trips. There are a multitude of low-cost or even free apps available for kids of all ages and interests. The addition of headphones will allow everyone to do their own thing and the front seat passengers will be able to have some quiet time too.

5) Snacks to go for kids on long drives


Pack plenty of snacks that won't make a mess and can be easily divided up to keep kids happy in the car. This will eliminate the need to stop so often and keep the kids occupied in the car. Bottles of water and hand wipes are also a necessity, not to mention a rubbish bag to collect the inevitable scraps and wrappers.

6) Quiet time in the car with books


Books and e-books are the perfect way to keep older kids happy in the car. Considering taking your kids to the library before your trip and let them choose a few books to take on the road, or buy them a new book especially for the trip.

7) Craft activities for kids to do in the car


Origami is one craft that doesn?t get messy and will keep the kids happy in the car. Other craft activities could include colouring or stickers. Find a lap-table or an inflexible tray for the kids to lean on and they can create to their heart?s content.

8) Road trips with kids should always include sing-a-longs


Plan ahead and make up a CD of songs for the whole family to sing along to. Be it silly kids songs, popular radio songs or anything by The Wiggles, a good old sing-a-long is a great way to make the most of a long car trip as a family.

9) Games to entertain kids in the car


Eye spy, Memory or more general spotting and counting games can be played throughout the entire car trip with kids. They don't take forward planning, so you won't need to pack anything extra in the already stuffed-full car, and you can make up the rules as you go along.

10) Sleep will keep children content in the car


Planning to travel during a time that your kids would ordinarily be sleeping can mean the difference between a peaceful car trip with well-rested occupants arriving at your destination or a car load full of grumpy, tired kids and fed-up parents. Be sure to pack pillows and blankets to make the back seat more comfy for slumber.

Keep your kids happy in the car and make the most of your long trip by enjoying the family time and having fun together.

This post was written by Ngaire Stirling, Editor and Owner of Brisbane Kids, also mum of 3 very active kids.