14 ways to keep the kids busy on the road this December

The question most parents wonder is: how will you keep the kids entertained for hours on end?

So it’s almost time to start getting ready for your long awaited holiday – including planning your road trip to your destination. Apart from the normal snacks, pillows and treats, the question most parents wonder is: how will you keep the kids entertained for hours on end?

Also read: How to drive safely with children 

Imperial Auto has put together 14 ways to keep the kids amused while on the road to your December destination, as per the full blog below.

1. Category game

Choose a category like ‘groceries’, and one person starts with naming something that can be bought at the grocery store that starts with the letter A, such as ‘apples’. The next player would have to repeat the first person’s answer as well as add on a food that begins with the letter B. If you mess up, you’re out, and the game continues until only one memory-gifted player remains. Once that category is over, move on to a more challenging one like movies, animals or place names.

2. Card games

Never underestimate the power of card games to keep your kids entertained. Bring along a set of cards from home and challenge kids to play their old favourites snap, go fish, and rummy – but don’t let noise levels get out of hand as this will distract the driver.

3. Family spelling bee

See who is the champion speller in the family by having a spelling bee in the car. Make sure words are appropriate for all age levels, so no one feels discouraged (not even Dad…). You could also try other family challenges such as trivia quiz or singing contest.

4. 20 Questions

This old favourite is a great game for inquisitive little ones. The game begins with one person choosing pretty much any item they can think of. The first question for the guessers is usually ‘animal, vegetable, or mineral?’ although it doesn’t have to be. Players then go through a litany of questions trying to determine the nature of the mystery object, and the answers can only be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The winner is whoever guesses the object most quickly, or who can stump the other players with their object.

5. Family storytelling

Inspire your family’s creative side by creating a group story. Someone begins with one line to a story (for example, ‘There once was a prince under a curse…’) and each person then adds one more line to the story as you go. Mix it up by making the lines have to rhyme, or by pointing at players at random to come up with a line on the spot.

6. Rock, paper, scissors

This classic hand game makes it easy to keep kids occupied. On the count of three, each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand to choose either ‘rock’ (closed fist), ‘paper’ (open, flat hand) or ‘scissors’ (fist with index and middle fingers in a V). Usually played by two people at a time, it has two possible outcomes: a draw, or a win for one player and a loss for the other. A player who plays ‘rock’ will beat a player who has chosen ‘scissors’ (‘rock blunts scissors’) but will lose to one who has played ‘paper’ (‘paper covers rock’); someone who chooses ‘paper’ will lose to a play of ‘scissors’ (‘scissors cut paper’). If both players choose the same shape, the game is replayed to break the tie.

7. Travel scavenger hunt

Compile a list of objects for each child to spot along the road, for example ‘brown cow’ or ‘windmill’. Anything that comes to mind that you might be passing will work. The winner is the first one to find everything on their list. If you’d like to make it more interesting you can make bingo cards with the objects listed on them to mark off before you leave on your journey.

8. String figures

Believe it or not, a piece of string can keep a child busy for hours. Pack a fairly long piece of string tied into a circle for each child, and then challenge them to learn to make string shapes like ‘Jacob’s ladder’ and ‘kitty whiskers’, or to play ‘cat’s cradle’. If you don’t know much about string games, do an online search to learn and find ideas.

9. Find the car

Challenge your kids to find a list of different types and models of cars. Children interested in cars will find this game particularly enjoyable. You can make it more challenging by specifying a colour for more common models of cars, or a type of cargo.

10. Map monitors

One easy way to keep children entertained on the road is to engage them in the process of the trip. Give each child a map of your  journey and allow them to keep track of your progress using stickers, or by colouring in the route.

11. Fortunately-unfortunately

Help your children learn to think positively with this game. One player begins with an unfortunate statement like, ‘Unfortunately, there is a bat in the car.’ The next player has to counter with something more fortunate like, ‘Fortunately, I brought along bat repellent.’ Players continue to alternate between unfortunate and fortunate things until you’ve exhausted a particular topic.

12. Treasure bottle

You’ll need a little preparation ahead of time, but a treasure bottle can be a great way to keep the younger ones entertained and engaged. Use a plastic two-litre bottle or any other large plastic container with a lid. Fill it about two thirds of the way with rice, then add small ‘treasures’ from around your house, like paper clips, bolts, coins, Lego blocks and any other small things you might have lying around in your junk drawer. Keep a tally of how many items you put in and write the number on the outside of the bottle once you’ve sealed it. Have the treasure hunters roll the bottle around until they’ve spotted everything hidden inside. Just make sure the lid is extra secure so there aren’t any mid-trip messes to clean up!

13. Who am I?

Keep your kids guessing with this easy and fun game. Think of someone you and your children know: a family member, neighbour or friend, and give clues to the person’s identity, like their hair colour, gender, or whether or not they wear glasses. Let each person guess and if no one gets it, continue giving clues until the answer is figured out.

14. The geography game

Help your kids refresh their geography lessons while on the road. This game begins with a person naming any place in the world, for example Paris. The next person then has to come up with a place name that begins with the last letter of the first location. So in this case, the next place would have to start with an ‘S’, like Sydney, for instance. No place can be used more than once, and the game continues until someone is stumped.

With a little creativity and planning, you can keep your little ones entertained on even the longest journeys, creating on-the-road entertainment, a few opportunities to learn, and memories to last a lifetime.