Sorry for disappearing for a while - we've just been on our holidays. With the imminent start of the school holidays a post on travelling seemed about right!
Long car journeys, waits at airports, flights, ferry trips and train rides are not the easiest parts of a holiday with excited children who just want to be there and doing. This article gives some of our top tips for the journeys and some activities to keep them entertained on the way.
Firstly, try and plan your journey time around your childs routine, so either leave at bedtime and travel with them asleep or travel during the day so that you travel for a bit, stop and have lunch, then have a bit of awake time in the car, nap time and then another awake bit of journeying before a dinner stop / arrival. Try and find places to stop where the children can run around and get some fresh air.
Whilst travelling there are plenty of games and activities that can keep your children amused.
A top tip is to make sure you are prepared for the journey. Take lots of small toys / books and snacks so that during awake periods your child has new items to look at to relieve boredom. You could wrap small items for a ‘lucky dip’ to increase interest (and the length of time spent on each thing!). Older children who can tell the time could have a series of ‘packages’ to open at designated times, or points on the trip.
The classic car games are guessing games – the most common of which is ‘I spy’! This can be adapted for younger children by spying objects that are a certain colour. Another one is the more abstract ‘Guess?’ where someone thinks of something and everyone else asks yes / no questions until someone can guess what it is.
Popular word games include word association, alphabet games and variations of ‘I went to market and bought…’. To play word association – start with a word e.g. holiday, the next person could say aeroplane (you travel by plane), the next fire-engine (both vehicles) and the next red (as fire-engines are red) and so on – how long can you go on without repitition? To play an Alphabet games pick a theme and see if you can find something for every letter of the alphabet – for example – vehicles; aeroplane, bike, car, dustbin lorry, etc. Variations of ‘I went to market…’ are good for memory skills – try ‘I went on holiday and packed…’ each person has to recite the previous items and add theirs on the end.
Observation games are also good for keeping children enthusastic at looking out of car windows. Play ‘Spot’ where everyone has to see if they can find things on a list during the journey, for example a Royal Mail lorry, a sheep, a police car. This can be adapted for younger children by making them picture pages. Either give each item to be found a score and then total up who’s seen what to find a winner or make lists in different orders and you can’t move onto the next item until you’ve spotted the first one, the winner being the person to finish their list first.
Don't forget if you are travelling by plane the Usborne First Experiences: Going on a Plane book is a handy little story outlining what will happen!
Overall, enjoy your holiday, and have a safe and relaxing journey. Happy Holidays!