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How to Entertain Children on a Long Car Journey

During any school holiday there’s inevitably a car trip with children. Whether it’s the middle of summer or winter, we all need to know how to entertain children on a long car journey.

Of course, the entertainment depends on the age of your children, but we asked one parenting expert to give our customers some tips on how to enjoy a less stressful journey with kids. Martina Mercer is The Working Mother of the Year 2014 and a respected parenting writer for Huff Post and has three children ranging from 5 to 15. In her last post, she let us in on her horrific car journey with her children. It’s been two years since then, and Martina has found some great aids to help when journeying with the children again. We’d love to hear your tips too.

Cover it Up 

Before you travel with children it’s a good idea to protect the seats, as drinks will spill and crumbs will find their way into the crevices. I’ve found that once this is done, you can relax a little more as you’re not constantly fearful about damage to the car. You do need to make sure that any cover won’t add slippage to a car seat. The best protection really, is scotch guard which you can apply yourself or you can ask for it on your next car service.

Let Them Have Cake (and Technology)

I worry about the time my children spend on the internet/ PlayStation/ Nintendo DS and so I found a great way to limit this while making car journeys more bearable with kids. Quite simply, my children can only play their DS in the car, when travelling. It actually makes every journey better (although they do miss out on the scenery). They actually look forward to long journeys as they can have their gaming fill and they’re not bored of it as they would be if they could play the DS all the time.

Dish Out the Headphones 

It became evident, quite quickly, that to please all three children at the same time, they would all need their own headphones (even the smallest). No matter what medium they use for entertainment, headphones are a must. From watching a DVD to playing on a smart phone, to the Nintendo DS, the headphones are always welcome. I’ve always found that if I’m driving, and there’s another adult in the car, the headphones are also great for me to block out any noise!

You can now buy soft headphones for babies and toddlers which they don’t mind wearing once they hear the magical noise come through the tiny ear speakers!

Good Old Fashioned Fun

There are many games we play in the car that we all look forward to. It’s usually when we’ve exhausted them all that we turn to the DVD players and Nintendos.

These include:

Yellow Car No Return 

This is where the first person to spot a yellow car GENTLY punches everyone else (except the driver) and says “Yellow Car no return.” This means the other players can’t punch back for the same car.

The one who spots the most cars wins.

Eye Spy

Eye Spy is still a great game to play with children. For those who can’t yet read use colours instead of letters so they can join in. 

Sing Alongs

Even teenagers will join in with sing-alongs once they realise they won’t be made fun of for doing so. 

We also use the time to ask each other questions, taking it in turns to give the answers. For example:

  • What’s your favourite meal on a Sunday?
  • What was your favourite day at school this week and why?

It’s a great way to find out more about the each other without it seeming like an interrogation from a parent.


Magnetic games are great for travelling as they tend to keep all small parts safe. Look for magnetic boards where children can make faces with pieces of people, and for the older ones, games like Battleships

Creative Pursuits

Most children like to draw, or, when they’re older, they like to write and doodle. Pencils are great for little ones as they don’t leave marks on the car (they will try to draw on the windows) and older children can also use them for their own creative “in car” art.

There are, of course, other more obvious ways to entertain children on a long car journey, such as books, DVD players and magazines. If you have any tips please do let us know as we’re always looking for useful information to share with our followers.

If you're planning a journey with children check our our Summer and Winter Car Contents Checklist.

You may also love our LifeHacks on How to Add More Storage to a Family Car.

If you're feeling confident you may want to save some money too by doing Your Own Mini Car Service.

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more great tips, funny stories and competitions. 

If your children always argue on a car journey you may relate to Martina Mercer as she recalls a Dangerous Drive to Devon with Children.