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How To Keep Your Child Entertained On Long Car Journeys

Long journeys in the car can be stressful for babies and young children. However, we all did it and the earlier we start travelling with children the easier it will get! Here are our top tips on how to keep your child entertained on long car journeys.

  1. Children love interacting with their parents. For example, you can make your own travel box and fill it with small animals and ask the child to enter their hand in the box and guess what animals are inside. Pick up the chosen animal, make its sound and sing “Old Mac Donald had a farm” or  the “Open the box” song.
  2. Pack toys like soft beanie balls and challenge them to keep them on the head for as long as they can. Ask them to repeat even when they drop it as practice makes perfection!
  3. You can also ask them to sing while balancing to see if it distracts them.
  4. My favourite entertainment tools are actually coil quoits. These are colourful spongy soft rings. Ask the little ones to hold them as a wheel and tell them to help daddy or mummy driving while singing “The Wheels on the Bus”. They will love coping daddy or mummy driving while beeping away! Quoits are great for sitting down exercise too! They can go across the arm all the way to the elbow and works for little tired legs too!
  5. Music time is extremely entertaining for the whole family! Add musical instruments such as maracas, rain tubes and shaky eggs and get them to play along your favourite pop songs or give it a fun spin with some exotic holiday tunes that will set you into a happy summer mood!
  6. There will be time when silent moments are needed so switch off the music and bring out the Rubiks cubes and name the colours while they attempt to set them in line. Don’t forget that children love to learn from their environment. Communicate to them what you see and what they see. Search for nature, animals, point out architecture and other means of transports. Ideally they will be so concentrated on the environment that they will soon fall asleep. One family travel game of all times is “I spy” don’t let technology ruin the pleasure of old times favourites. You can play using letters for older children or colours for younger children.
  7. Puppets are a phenomenal way to keep them entertained and create your own theatrical scene in the car. Let your child go wild with their imagination and stimulate their creativity to give life to their own made up characters and a story for each character.
  8. Make sure you pack their favourite story book and best cuddly toy and blanket too!
  9. Of course nowadays you can find great high tech and digital toys that work well enough for entertainment. However, these tend to isolate the child and deprive you and the little ones of those family time memories of long journeys in the car.
  10. Don’t forget your essential list. This refers to the toy bag to keep your little ones entertained, your favourite collection of nursery rhyme time to sing along the journey and of course nowadays children’s favourite: keys, i-phones and i-pads to watch their most loved programmes.
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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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