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Holidays

Long car journeys

18 replies

anto · 03/08/2003 13:33

I've seen a few threads, all with excellent advice, on keeping small kids entertained on long-haul flights, but I can't find any suggestions for long car journeys...

We are driving down to Cornwall in a few weeks, which I reckon, from London, is going to be a good 5hrs. We will stop in Bristol for lunch with friends, but how else can I keep our nearly-3-yr old entertained? She is fine for a bit in the car then gets whiny, irritable, fidgety and finally loses it completely. Lots of things that are great on planes aren't suitable for the car as she drops half of them then has a fit as we can't stop to pick them up while hurtling down the motorway at top speed. And I am just hoping that dd2 (5 months) will sleep for most of the way...

So far I've invested in 2 new CDs. Any other brilliant suggestions gratefully received!

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mears · 03/08/2003 14:08

Drug her with Joyride anti sickness tablets

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SueW · 03/08/2003 18:01

Sit in the back with her and put your DD2 in the front (if you are travelling with another adult, that is!). Then you can play Snap, draw pictures etc and entertain her whilst someone else drives.

Have to say I would willingly travel 36 hours non-stop (and have) on a plane with DD but I shudder at the thought of any car journey over 2 hours as she and I generally travel without anyone else and I can't entertain and drive at the same time

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kmg1 · 03/08/2003 18:12

Personal stereos are great. DS2 got a set for his 3rd birthday, I thought he'd be too young - but we love them. Rapidly went out and bought a set for ds1 too!

Don't try and do more than a couple of hours at a time. When you get to services head for MOTO ones if poss, as they are very family friendly - babychange facilities are great. Head straight for the swingpark, where your 3 yr old can have a run around, then have some sandwiches or something, rather than cooping them upinside the cafe.

Ours get car sick, so we try and play lots of 'look out and see' games - I spy, and similar. "Let's see how long it takes to count 10 lorries/buses/car transporters/caravans" Or "Let's spot a rainbow of cars - red car, orange car, etc..."

Am trying to think of some in-car games, I'm sure we used to have something that did work, but I can't think of it right now. (Mine are 4 and 6 now). I'll come back to you if it comes to me.

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musica · 03/08/2003 18:12

Our best buy was an etchasketch - kept ds entertained for 3 hours in the car!

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beetroot · 03/08/2003 19:09

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Mummysurfer · 03/08/2003 19:30

Alphabet game - find something begining with a b c d e f etc

Add car numbers up

Admirals cat:-
The admirals cat is a (adjective beginning with A) cat
do this until you can't think of any more 'a' adjectives then move on to 'b'

We alos use a kitchen timer to do 30mins og games 30 mins of songs then 30 mins of nothing other than adult radio/CD or just chat. You can very the 30mins according to age of children

We're also looking for other suggestions as off to France from Manchester at the weekend. So keep 'em coming.

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janh · 03/08/2003 20:03

You can do I Spy with colours - eg "something green" (that's a good one - lasts for ages if you lie!).

2 hours max without a stop - do it sooner if poss. Makes journey longer obviously, but much less stressy.

Magnadoodle possibly easier than etch-a-sketch and you can get a mini travel version.

Nothing sticky/sicky to eat - stick to water for drinks and crisps/rich tea bics/peeled bits of apple for snacks.

I usually drive on long journeys and my DH was always great at drawing pics for colouring in. Take an A4 sketch pad - otherwise just a big easy colouring in book (not too detailed).

Agree with SueW that you (or DH) should sit in back with DD1 if poss, to pick bits up etc.

Singing nursery rhymes etc is tedious but passes the time - if you have a nice children's tape (eg we have one with Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, with nursery rhymes one side and folky traditional songs the other) it's both easier to listen to and nicer to sing along with.

For years we used a James Galway tape to lull people to sleep and keep them asleep....

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Seagull · 03/08/2003 22:19

Their is a price for most things in life. You can buy a portable DVD player for around £350. The kids won't ask how long to go, or are there yet.

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helenmc · 04/08/2003 17:26

anto - have just come back from Devon - so know that way quite well. I ahve a 'magic bag' and when they get bored some thing nw comes out.. some of those get the balls in the hole games, sticker books, this time I made up picture bingo - pictures of a trees, a police car, gate, bridge, letter box...and so on (and my drawing isn't that brilliant), but my girls had a great time crossing them off their sheet. also waht about beetle drive - just need a die a piece of paper and a pencil, throw a 6 for the body, 1 for the head, 2 for eyes, 3 for antennae, 4 for legs and 5 for mouth(?)
They also like the fuzzy felt, and as boring as it seems they all know their 2, 5 10 and 11 times tables.
half the fun of going on holiday is getting there!

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beetroot · 04/08/2003 17:39

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SoupDragon · 04/08/2003 17:43

You can't sit in the back if there's a front airbag

Tie toys to her seat with string so she can pull them up herself. It also makes it easier for you to retrieve them.

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SoupDragon · 04/08/2003 17:44

Drive at bedtime so she sleeps!

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whymummy · 04/08/2003 18:00

we also play i spy with sounds,like i hear with my little ear something that goes mooooooo,my two love it

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janh · 04/08/2003 20:05

Too easy, whymummy - you should have things that go glurpglurp or wheeeeeeeeeee!

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aloha · 04/08/2003 20:06

Story tapes, music CDs etc etc etc. Food. Dummy (well it works for ds!). Frequent stops for leg stretching.

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mckenzie · 04/08/2003 21:16

some one asked a similar question in an agony aunt style section of the Telegraph last weekend. The 'experts' reply was to buy a book called "I'm Bored" by Suzy Barratt and Polly Beard. It has over 100 inspiring & imaginative ideas for hours of fun with your children (you can tell I'm quoting, can't you) and is split into 4 sections: Indoors, Outdoors, On the Beach and On a journey. I've just got it but haven't had a chance to read through much yet so cant tell you if it's any good or not but in the paper they were raving about it. It cost £7.99.

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whymummy · 04/08/2003 21:20

jahn,i`ll remember that next time,also snoring sounds

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miggy · 04/08/2003 21:57

Would second the "i'm bored" book. Bought it post Teleggraph review too! Lots of ideas, many that you knew and had forgotten.Spent the whole weekend playing "52 Bunkaroo" and my legs really ache Another really good book is "101 activities for kids in tight spaces" esp for car journeys/restaurants etc. Otherwise colouring/sticking/cutting-scissors keep my dd occ. for ages and cant do too much damage to the car seat with them. Wiki stixs (SP?) are great too, not messy at all.

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