Read A Book
|Image by Tom Woodward|
This one is a real classic. A life time love for a tale can be kindled on a long journey. Personally, the stand out story for me was that of The Lord Of The Rings. There was something about being told the story of an epic journey when I was embarking upon a (not so) epic journey of my own, to Wales. Although, at the time it seemed like the farthest I had ever been away from home, driving past the salubrious Swansea steel works and Oakwood Amusement park. Of course, if you are afflicted by the scourge that is reading induced travel sickness then this option may not be available to you. Thankfully you don't need a book to bring a story to life.
Make A Story
Even better than telling them a fantastic tale, help them tell you one. This is far more engaging than reading for everyone involved (we bet you will be delighted by some of the gems your kids can come out with.) One of our favourites is the sentence game. It involves each of you saying a sentence one after the other. Try to avoid reigning them in too much, although your hero may have a ‘poo head’ or the evil monster may be a ‘scary smelly face’ we reckon that with your combined efforts you may just pen the next Odyssey. Don't forget to write them down as you go, that way you can read it back in all its inspired glory one day at your child's wedding reception (much to their embarrassment!)
The Alphabet Game
Another classic, but one that may not keep them occupied for long. Simply choose a subject (read: let them choose a subject, otherwise this game will be going nowhere fast) and then move through the alphabet systematically naming an example for each letter. The advantage of this game is the almost endless opportunities. Animals, dinosaurs, cartoons, movies, foods and many more can all be utilised. Be prepared to step in when it comes to the X, Y and Z's though. It may be handy to keep a pocket dictionary available to wow them with your knowledge of Xantus' (Tip: They are a type of Yak.) Unfortunately this one may sometimes only work for a while due to the fact it is a borderline learning game and no one wants to learn outside of school!
The preferred option if you are looking for some peace and quiet, there is a level of serenity that can only be achieved when the kids are staring intently out the car window. The eternal Eye Spy is of course the first that springs to mind. Limited only by your imagination, you will still tend to get frequent moments of hilarity as the correct answer is guessed. There are slightly more cruel, but effective, methods out there of course. I will never forget my Nannies challenge of spot the Grumbleows. I now realise that these field dwelling mud creatures are completely fictitious but at the time I must have spent a good few hours silently staring at the endless line of grassy knolls hoping to spot one.
However, my parents reached a happy midpoint between outright deception and genuine spotting with my favourite 'I can see the sea!!!' The premise was simple, the first one to spot the sea won. There was no prize, other than a feeling of pride at your superior sea spotting abilities, but the game perfectly captured the excitement you felt knowing you would be swimming in that massive swimming pool tomorrow (if the weather was nice, which it invariably often wasn't...) Now for the deception part. My parents would often tell us to start looking a suspiciously long time before it actually appeared.
Bare with me here. I know you may struggle to sometimes get much sense out of your kids but that is when they are surrounded by distractions. There are an incredibly small amount of genuine distractions during a car journey. Sure they might spot a particularly strange looking cow but it will be gone within a few seconds. Therefore, a long journey is the perfect opportunity to talk about things you want to and hear about things they want to tell you. Ask about school, their friends, what they are looking forward to about the holiday, anything to get them going. You never know, you might learn something.
This is a guest post written by Ryan Hill - Ryan works as Press Officer and Copywriter for one of the UK's leading car leasing companies.