We’ve made many car journeys to our hiking destinations, some longer than others. Trying to keep 3 kids occupied who are squashed up together in the back seat, takes a bit of practice and a lot of patience.
I’ve compiled a few of our tried and tested methods to save a few bickers and quarrels on a tiresome journey. These are our essentials for long car rides with kids.
- We have a few playlists on Spotify to keep us amused and entertained. There’s everything from 80’s rock to Disney, Elvis to Rihanna. The kids love to have a sing along and laugh at Mom and Dad warbling along too. We try and guess which song will be coming up next and also which movie the songs are from. Easy entertainment that keeps us laughing together.
- We invested in the Easyxplorer tray, from a small business owner on Instagram. It’s a fantastic idea, a lap tray that connects around the child to keep it secure. Our daughter loves to colour and this provides fantastic opportunity for her to get creative. There are colouring sheets and pens provided and a wipe clean mat which she can draw on. Providing fun she can have over and over again. Pockets on the sides of the tray means she can keep all her snacks and drinks in one place too, instead of dropping them all over the floor as normal.
- Books don’t need charging, games, or fiddly bits to hold. A simple book can provide a good solid hour of entertainment over the course of a drive. My two eldest love to read. At the moment, current favourites are the Beast Quest series and David Walliams. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a book.
- There will be a point, on every car ride, a small person will whine from the back seat; “I’m huunnggrrryyy”. Provisions are always taken, in the form of sausage rolls, sandwiches , bags of crisps, and a big bottle of water to go around. For cold days, Costa do kiddies hot chocolate for 55p! A bargain price and the kids feel like they’ve had a treat.
- After a picnic, little hands need to be cleaned. We use these wipes, from Jackson Reece, which are very kind, natural, and 100% biodegradable. They’re fantastic to keep in the car and also in bags for hikes. There is also a handy anti bacterial spray for service station visits. It is very compact to fit in bags or pockets, and even has a handy clip on the lid to hang on to belts!
- If electronics are used, DO NOT forget the charger! We don’t use electronics as a rule, but we had a trip to Scotland that took 8 hours. The boys took their Nintendo DS handhelds, but I forgot to take anything to charge it up for the return journey. Oops!
- These have many uses. A sick bag for an overload of sweets and a hint of travel sickness. A rubbish bin for wrappers and fruit peels. Put an object in and pass it around for a blind challenge. Who can guess what’s in the bag? A very multi functional item to have. As kindly modeled by Fin, who used them to cover his plaster casts while it was raining!
- Most children will fall asleep in the car. If we are going on a long journey, or a holiday, I will take our blankets from the living room. They’re familiar, big enough to throw over a child or 2 and good to use as a pillow for comfort.
- We play lots of games in the car.
Everybody is appointed a colour, and you have to count how many vehicles you see in that colour.
We make words out of number plates, have spelling tests and times tables practice.
We laugh and be silly and chatter among ourselves.
And lastly … Patience
- There will be fall outs, there will be shoves and pulls and toys thrown in every direction. Eight hours in a car is too long for an adult, let alone a child who’s mind is growing and just wants to be out exploring. Just count to 10 and stop every once in a while to stretch your legs and have a toilet break.
You will get there in the end!
Essentials for long car rides with kids.
To read about our furthest adventures in Scotland, click here.