With most of us either staying closer to home with UK staycations this year, or planning lots of summer days out instead – do you need some new games to play on long journeys with your kids? I have been recently speaking with some fellow bloggers who have shared their top games, tips and even free pintables for keeping children entertained in the car or train for summer 2021…
First of all though, I need to be clear, I am by no means proclaiming to have any magic formulas when it comes to keeping my kids happy on journeys 100% of the time – My children can regularly alternate between moany or hyper when we are travelling, BUT we do have a few tried and tested games we rely on and now after hearing all the great ideas I’ve been given this week, also a ton of new ones to try next time it’s getting tense in the back.
Games To Play In The Car With Kids On Long Journeys
Games To Play With Poppets
Are your kids obsessed with fidgets? Mine love them. So, just getting my daughter to take along a selection on journeys has been helpful at keeping her entertained. However the game we play all together is poppet races. It’s super simple, if your child has poppets, get them to pick a large one and then before starting, make sure all the pops are pushed through to the same side. You then take it in turns seeing how long it takes to pop all of the poppet, with the fastest winning. We played it recently on a car journey to Lakeside shopping centre and I timed how long it took each of my kids on my phone and they loved it. I then had a go in the passenger seat and they then took turns timing me.
After we’d done this a few times, it also led into another timing game. In for a penny is a favourite TV show in our house, so this is stolen from that and again is super simple with a phone timer. With one person using the stopwatch again on a phone, we all simply have a go at seeing who can get closest counting to 12 seconds. Sounds ridiculous, but my children find it really fun and we all get quite competitive, trying to get closest.
2. Number Plate Game
This game sounds so much fun and right up my kids street. When Robbie from Paternal Damnation is out with his children in the car they play the number plate game. “We play a game in which we have to guess what the letters on other cars’ reg plates might stand for. For example, TSL would be Trumps So Loud, or something equally cheeky that they’ll enjoy”
3. Food, Place and Colour Game
My children introduced us to this one after they played it at their school breakfast club. Although it sounds a bit boring to begin with, its actually ended up the game that’s kept all of our attention the longest recently. You either play individually or we’ve done it in teams of two as well and then you take it in turns saying a letter to start the game. You then have to say a colour, food and place (town, country etc) that starts with that letter. Sounds simple but gets harder as the game goes on and just the debates over what shade names constitutes a real colour alone, can pass quite a bit of time! We have also found this one fun to keep the kids entertained when waiting for food in a restaurant too.
4. Free Children’s Pintables For Long Journeys
When you are looking for a break from playing games out loud, how about some free printable travel games they can play themselves in the back or on the train. Catherine over on Passports and Adventures has some great ones over on her website She says “For kids who don’t suffer travel sickness, some printable travel games can while away the time. My son loves printables like this one for some screen-free fun in the car.”
5. Yellow Car
Love this idea from Victoria, who blogs at Lylia Rose, so simple but sounds like it would interest my kids in competing with each other to see who can spot it first: “We play spot the yellow car! The first person to spot a yellow car wins and then they get to pick what to spot next, be it a different coloured car, motorbike or different type of vehicle! The more obscure things us adults can pick, that aren’t totally impossible, the longer they are looking and playing!”
6. A-Z Travel Game
Vicki from Blossom Education has shared one of her family favourites: “One game that we play in the car that never fails to be funny and entertaining is the A to Z of whatever… basically, someone chooses a category and you take it in turns to go through the alphabet saying an item that fits. Examples would be food, animals, things you might find at the seaside. To make it trickier, you could do it like a memory game, so everyone says the previous items as well as their own!”
7. Red Car Cricket
Another colour game from Mandi from Best Spa Days “Ours love to play red car cricket, the first person keeps counting cars that go past, until you get a red one then you’re out and its the turn of the next person, keeps all nine of us going for quite a while!“
8. Scavenger Hunts for Travelling With Children
This one is great to adapt for lots of different types of journey, whether you are going by train or car. With a bit of prep, Angela from Exploring Dorset’s idea could work well keeping children entertained on long journeys. “We like to do scavenger hunts. I’ll write a list of things to spot and the winner is the person who shouts them all out and ticks them off first. I adapt the lists depending on where we’re going and any landmarks I think we might spot along the way.”
9. 20 Questions For Kids
Nikki finds the classic game of 20 questions is a winner with her family when travelling. “We play ‘who am I’. It’s 20 Questions really. You decide on a person or character living either now or in history and the others ask you questions until they guess who you are. You can tailor it to younger or older children too. Think ‘are you alive’? ‘Are you royalty’ those sort of questions.
10. Block Paper Games For Travelling
Love the idea of getting kids a stack of grid paper – so simple, but as Zena says, there are so many games you can play with it. “We always print off some paper based games like boxes, battleships and noughts and crosses. It keeps them entertained and happy as they are interacting with each other. Such a good distraction activity for long road trips”
11. Activity Books For Long Journeys With Kids
Vikki found books really helped when travelling a lot with her children. “When the children were younger we set off around Europe in a motorhome. This meant some long journeys! This book ( and many other similar ones that catered for different countries that we visited and different themes ) were so popular with the smalls! Plus, it was wonderful that they were observing the journey and taking it all in whilst “ spotting” things!”
12. Alternatives To Eye Spy
Wales With Kids gave a great alternative to the traditional game of eye spy. “Our son loves to play the I-spy game, but instead of letters we use colours. So ‘I-spy with my little eye, something the colour of green’. You’d be surprised what you can spot from a car window. This game is ideal for younger kids too who might still be getting to grips with the alphabet“
13. Songs To Sing In The Car
Some nice song based ideas here from Mummy Wishes “My kid’s love audio books and sing-a-thons like the Song Connection game. One person starts by singing a line from any song and then the next person continues by using the last word to start their line. It’s silly fun and keeps us entertained for miles”
14. Taking Pictures
Toni over at This Mama Style suggests giving children an old camera to play with “The little ones and not so little ones can have such fun taking photos of what they see through the window. On a train you can’t play the same kind of games that you might in a car so being able to take some snaps can really keep them occupied.” You could even turn this into another colour or alphabet game. Challenge your children to take a picture of something for every colour of the rainbow, or see how many letters in the alphabet they can tick off taking pics of things that start with that letter.
15. Other Ways To Entertain Kids While Travelling
When we’ve been on long flights or train journeys, I always prep a big bag, packed full, so I have things ready to pull out at different stages of the journey. Now obvs there are a lot of snacks, I prefer dry things that take a while to eat, so crisps like quavers or dried fruit snacks like bear paws or wriggles, but another thing that sounds bit odd, but always keeps mine entertained is a pack of pipe cleaners – You can do so many things with them. My daughter has wound them round dolls to make outfits, made patterns plaiting different colours together or they can even be used as a board for noughts and crosses. When my children were younger I also used to pack a sandwich bag of Lego for each, but the thing that made them so interested was I made it feel new by adding in a blind bag. This is great to play on the little pull down trays on the train, or also taking a kitchen tray if you are driving a long way is good for playing, drawing and keeping snacks on in the back of a car.
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