Bags packed, car boot packed, freezer box packed, kids strapped in and ready to roll. You climb in and the excitement mounts as you set off on the 6-hour trip to your holiday destination… but one hour in, the novelty wears off and the boredom sets in - the kids start moaning, fighting and distracting you and suddenly that holiday break is not looking so great.
Never fear Cartrack’s got your back with these tips designed to keep the kids busy on any long drive you may take.
First of all, pack food, lots of it! Rice chips, raisins, apples, bananas, nartjies, crisps and sweets, but keep these for rewards. Also remember to pack water, if you prefer ice water, half fill the bottles and freeze them on their sides overnight, fill just before leaving so that the frozen water starts to melt but also keeps the other water cold.
Secondly, make sure the car seats are installed correctly and that your children are strapped in properly.
For toddlers, use puppets, tell stories, sing songs, take colouring goodies and books and be prepared to be the distraction for a while. You can also make use of gadgets, but try to limit this as they have been known to have an adverse effect on little ones if over-used.
For the older kids in your car (and some adults as well) try these games:
No tech needed
Although there is a version you can order online, you can also make your own version of Car bingo. Simply take a card and divide it into however many blocks you may think you need. In the blocks write any number of items you could see on the road, for example, a willow tree, a red car, an 18-wheeler truck etc. As the item is seen, mark it off on the card – the child who marks off a row gets bingo and possibly a prize at the next pit stop.
2. 20 Questions or Animal/Vegetable/Mineral
This is a little more of a brain game, but can be made easy for littler kids. The idea is for one person to think of one item that is either an Animal, Vegetable or Mineral (to spice it up, you can also add Abstract, such as love or anger) and for the others to guess within in a certain amount of questions what that item is. The catch is that only questions with Yes or No answers may be asked. For a really cerebral version, you can use a combination, for example Chicken and Potato soup would be an Animal and Vegetable, while a truck may be a combination of minerals.
3. Alphabet games
There are a number of alphabet games out there, but we suggest the “Ministers Cat” game for difficulty and laughter. Playing involves describing the said minister’s cat with a word beginning with letters of the alphabet in that order, e.g. the minister’s cat is an apologetic cat. The word cannot be repeated by the other participants, and once all have gone through the As, then you move on to the Bs, Cs and so on until you get to Z – have fun with K and Q.
This is great for practicing your 3- and 7-times tables and is a game even the driver can play, but you can only play it with 2, 4 or 5 players. The first person starts counting at 1, and each person continues to count, however all multiples of 3 must be replaced with the word Whizz and multiples of 7 with Bang. If the number is a multiple of both 3 and 7, then the person whose turn it is says Whizz-Bang. When a mistake is made, start back at 1 – see how far you can get.
5. Car Cricket
Runs are based on the colours of the cars you spot and a red car means you’re out! Although you can tailor the rules to your own family, here’s the basics behind Car Cricket:
- One person at a time comes up to 'bat', and they score 'runs' when vehicles are sighted.
- For cars to count as runs they must be moving and traveling in the opposite direction.
- White, silver or grey are worth one run
- Coloured cars (including black, excluding red) are worth two runs
- Motorbikes are worth a four
- Trucks and busses six runs.
- Any vehicle towing anything collects an additional "overthrow" run.
- Spot a red car and you’re out
After everyone in the car has had a turn to bat, the person with the most runs wins.
Using tech to your advantage
- Make Netflix and Showmax your friends
Both these streaming services allow you to download certain movies and series. Download as many as you can onto as many devices as you can before leaving. These can be a great distraction in between the no-tech games, and they’re also great for inducing sleep. Remember to pack the earphones.
- Download games
Check out Google Play or the App Store for Road Trip games, as well as quiz games which can also provide hours of fun. You can also incentivise your kids by rewarding the winners at the pit stops.
Other necessary tips
- Take additional toilet paper and wet wipes – you never know when you may need them.
- Take frequent breaks – at least every two hours. Let the kids run, dance, jump etc during this time to get rid of excess energy.
- Keep your belts on when in the car – no matter how close you are or how much your child is screaming. Rather get to a safe place where you can take them out and they can play (or sulk) in comfort.
- Keep yourself hydrated and fed.
- Use a navigation app to ensure you’re on the fastest route to your destination.
- Try leaving in the early hours of the morning to ensure your little ones go back to sleep once in the car.
The most important tip
Cartrack’s range of safety solutions are designed to keep you and your loved ones safe, no matter where in South Africa you may travel. From crash detection technology to an emergency assistance app, Cartrack has everything you need and more, contact us today for a quote.