Hitting the open road with the whole family is a favourite summertime activity, but most parents know that a long car ride with the kids can be stressful. The fact is, children are four times more distracting than adults when travelling in a car and infants are eight times more distracting than adults, according to CAA.
If you're planning a weekend staycation or a holiday road trip this summer, how can you keep your kids busy in the car so you can stay focused on driving and avoid the dreaded "are we there yet?" Here are my ten top tips for toys and activities to keep the kids entertained, and the must-have travel necessities you don't want to leave home without.
1. Magnetic Drawing Board. Like a tablet for little ones, they can doodle to their heart's content then the easy-slide eraser cleans the screen. Ideal for hours of no-mess drawing fun.
2. Electronic toys. Leapfrog offers a super selection of toys to entertain and educate. There are personal toddler laptops, called "Leaptops", and a guitar that teaches numbers, animals and animal sounds in English and Spanish, available at Toys 'R' Us.
3. Interactive books. With visual cues that help children identify words and take other actions, these books hold kids' attention longer than regular books. Great for children ages 2 to 4.
4. Magnetic travel games. Kids can play "Take 'n' Play", Go Fishing or Hangman, without worrying about losing the game pieces in the car. Available at Chapters Indigo.
5. Suitcase Toys. Look for toys that are packaged in a suitcase like the Lego Juniors Suitcase available at Chapters Indigo. Or create your own "Adventure Packs" - fill a colourful bag or lunchbox with new toys especially for the road trip such as sticker packs, colouring books, crayons, card games, and window decals. It makes packing a breeze, and with such a variety of items kids won't be bored.
6. "I Spy". A classic travel game, fun for younger children. You may want to set the rule that players can only choose items in the vehicle, or things that can be seen for enough time to allow others to guess.
7. Scavenger Hunt. You can download printable lists online that will keep your kids focused on finding items such as a vehicles, road signs, animals, or scenery. The first person to find all items on their list is the winner.
8. Sing-a-long. No road trip is complete without a soundtrack! Keep a selection of CDs handy and have the kids sing to their favourite songs.
9. Team story telling. If you have older children, get creative with a group story. One person in the car starts with the first line, and each player takes a turn building on the tale, one line at a time. You can start with a simple "Once upon a time there lived a prince" or for more amusement try "Joey the frog always had pink spots."
10. Bubbles! When the sun is shining, the windows are down and the sunroof is open, is there anything better than bubbles to keep the kids entertained? Look for "Fubbles", the car-friendly, no-spill bubble container, available at Amazon.ca.
Do you have any travel toys or games that have entertained your kids and made a road trip more enjoyable for everyone? Share your tip or story below. And happy motoring!
Sari Friedman is the Marketing Director of Ebates Canada and resident shopping expert. Ebates.ca is Canada's largest cash back shopping site. As a fashion enthusiast and new mom, Sari has an eye for finding and sharing amazing deals on the hottest trends and must-have styles.
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