We all know how hard it is travelling long distances with small children. It is hard to make them fully grasp the joys that will await them at the end of the journey, and even if they do seem to comprehend that, after and hour or two, most children are previously asking how much longer the journey is, or if we are there yet. This article gives you a few tips on how I occupy my children on lengthy journeys.
Travelling by car is very hard for me. Not only do I have to concentrate on driving, I also have to make sure my 3 children are entertained and also looking out of the window (as my oldest child gets car sick). I have made up several games which seem to work. The 1st game is an adaptation of ‘I spy’. When my children were little they didn’t know their letters, so they couldn’t play the traditional version, so I made one up instead where their ‘multi-coloured eye’ looked for something of a certain colour that the others in the vehicle have to look for. At the same time, each of us selected a type of vehicle to look for on the road, and the one who found the most was the winner. It had to be something unusual like a car transporter lorry, a VW camper van or a red lorry instead of just a car. I also used to give all the kids a different list of 5 things to spot. These could be an electricity pylon, special road sign, a colour of car, a flower, or something just to keep them searching.
Trains I have found are a bit less difficult because you have a table. You can’t typically take board games unless they are magnetic because of the movement of the train, and the inclination for children to knock the board. However, I find comics, drawing and quiz books all work really well to keep them amused. As trains tend to be places wherein you want them to be kept quieter, I also find it is useful to take a lot of snacks and drinks to keep them interested when they get bored stiff of drawing.
Plane journeys can be real fun. There are usually lots of intriguing people to talk to and the children can watch films or play. The hardest thing is to keep them still in their seats, so I find it is useful every couple of hours to do some stretching exercises or play some physical games like “Simon says” to work off a bit of that excess energy. I also try to keep them awake the day before so that they are fairly tired so hopefully they will spend a fair part of the journey sleeping. I always try to get them a new toy and hold it back till the last possible second on the journey so that they have something new and exciting to play with just when they are getting uninterested.
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