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How do your kids go in the car?

Do they sit quietly and soak in the sights whizzing by?

Do they read silently or play with a toy?

Or are they like mine – kicking my chair, talking at a volume suitable only for a football stadium, wanting to listen to crappy songs, asking the same questions over and over and over again?

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes they’re amazing in the car but some days they’re just rubbish.

For everyone’s sanity, I’ve tracked down some great ideas to keep the kids amused in the car, whether you’re going on a journey or just heading out for a short trip to a friends/shops/wine/coffee shop etc. Some of these could also work on a plane or train trip or when you just need them to chill out for a little bit!

Back seat bingo: follow this link from Little Aussie Travellers  for your free bingo printable, or make them yourself. Each player marks off each item they spot through the car window. You could even laminate them to keep for future trips!

The alphabet game: The idea is to go through each letter of the alphabet and find something out the window beginning with the letters. First one to mark each letter of their sheet wins!

Number plate game: See who can get all the letters of the alphabet first by finding the letters, in order, on passing number plates. You can also try and make funny phrases using the letters on each plate.

Scavenger hunt: similar to bingo, come up with your own list of things to “hunt” and the first one to find everything wins!

Name that tune: put on the kids favourite cd or playlist, play a song for a couple of seconds then pause it to see who can guess the tune first.

Yes or no: Ask each other any question you like but if you answer yes or no, you’re out!

Rhubarb: You must only answer a question with the word rhubarb – whoever laughs is out!

I spy: an oldie but a goodie!

Audio books: for a little bit of quiet time, download children’s stories to your iPad/iphone/ipod, buy some or borrow some from the library.

Lines and dots: I used to play this all the time. You draw rows of dots to cover a page and each person takes a turn drawing one line to connect the dots, the aim is to make a box and the person with the most boxes on the page wins! Free printable page here.

Make a trip bag: before you leave, grab a bag/backpag/shopping bag etc and fill it with activities, snacks, toys, special items like blankies or teddies – anything the kids can use to keep them amused!

Find 20/50/100: Pick something to search for i.e. red cars, cows, road signs etc – race to find 20, 50 or 100 of them!

Surprise package: For longer trips, take some pre-wrapped little ‘gifts’. They can be anything, new or old, like colouring pencils, toys, colouring books, treats, reading books etc. After a certain number of minutes/hours/kilometres, hand out a new ‘gift’ (can be used for bribery too 😉 )

The animal game: for the littlies – each person takes a turn describing an animal so the other can guess which animal it is.

Guess who?: Pick a tv/movie/comic/book character, each person has 20 questions they can use to try and guess who the mystery character is!

Tic Tac Toe/Naughts and Crosses: another favourite, click here for a free printable. 

I’m going on a picnic: an alphabet based memory game, the first player says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing….” followed by something that begins with A, like apples. Then the second person says  “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples and….” followed by something starting with B. Keep going until the end of the alphabet, if you can remember it all!

Happy travels x

Guest Writer – Kate Armstrong

Kate Armstrong is an awesome lego builder, talented eater, average cook, beach lover, story teller, business owner and single mum of two super handsome little boys, Jack (8) and Hayden (4). She spends her time procrastinating, drinking coffee, building her new small business, dreaming of a Fijian holiday and researching the interesting world of ADHD/ADD/ASD/ODD in which she and her boys now find themselves.

Blue Water Creative is her newest baby, offering a vast range of concierge services to local small businesses.