"Are we nearly there yet?" is the universally recognised cry of all children everywhere whilst travelling on a long car journey. And wouldn't it be great if there was a universal solution to stop that in-car boredom whether you are travelling in your own car or hiring a car.
Well, I think there may be. Whatever age your kids are, whatever they are 'into', no matter how many of them there are, there is one activity that we believe can offer that magical solution when travelling on long journeys by car.
However, before we get onto that, we just wanted to share some of the other things that have worked well for us as the kids have been growing up over the years. These are our tried and tested favourites split by age group:
Babies and toddlers
Get a CD full of nursery rhymes and make up actions for each and every rhyme. This kept our son entertained all the way to Dorset (3 hour journey) when he was just a baby.
Use the journey to sneak in that early number and letter recognition practice. Our kids loved to find certain letters and numbers on Motorway signs. This is also a great age for those simple car journey games. We wrote some of our favourites on pieces of card to keep in the glove box of the car for whenever we were stuck for ideas. That also offers the added excitement of the kids being able to choose which game to play. Their favourite of these at the moment is a very simple "What animal do you think we will spot next?" game. Amazingly, there is actually a lot of variety in terms of what animal it may be from a bird flying overhead, to a cow, horse or sheep when near farmland, to a rabbit in the countryside, to a dog or cat in a residential area.
This may not sound like fun, but my older two love to test each other with maths and spellings in the car. Just as a daily commuter may try to turn their commuting time into productive time by catching up on work, making phonecalls or getting their online grocery shopping done whilst sat on a train, you can turn the kids journey time into productive time meaning less time spent on homework elsewhere.
If maths and spellings aren't their thing, find a topic that interests them and do a mini-quiz on that topic instead - you will find that you soon become quite an expert in knowing all the moshi monsters and pokemon characters!
Reading in the car is a big no-no if you want to avoid travel sickness, but there are some great stories avaiable on CD (you can even get hold of some from the library at no cost or minimal cost). We have a range of CD's collected over the years as freebies from newspapers and magazines ranging from fairytales, a collection of Paddington bear stories right through to a Doctor Who CD with a fab story that we have listened to time and time again in the car.
Because everybody loves a good story don't they. And that leads us onto the one most trusted activitiy that has got us through long car journeys time and time again. It is the same magic that our parents used on us at bedtime to capture our imaginations and transport us to enchanted lands. It is the same techniques that have been used for thousands of years before pen and paper ever existed.
STORIES....and without a book in sight. If we can get away from the idea that to tell a story you need to read a book, then we get a new freedom. We are not limited by place. We are not limited by time. We are not limited by resources.
All you need is your mouth to speak, ears to listen and a little sprinkle of imagination.
Storytelling, true storytelling, is interactive, it is not reading. It is engaging the listener, it is involving them. Your voice, your tone, your volume, your pauses - all contribute to the telling of the story.
And these are stories unlike any other. These are one-offs, unique stories, that even if you wanted to repeat them over and over again, would probably never be exactly the same each time.
These stories may include actions, they may include rhymes, they made include noises, they may need responses and replies from your children.
Your children can help create the story. They could become the storyteller for part or even all of a story.
The story could be long or short, and about whatever topic you please (or rather whatever topic you know would please your children). That's why they can encompass all ages and that's why all of the children can be involved.
Just imagine...the possibilities are truly endless. So I wonder where you will be travelling on your next long car journey...under the sea, around the world, lost in a jungle, meeting animals at the zoo, being captured by pirates, finding treasure in your attic, adventuring on an African safari, meeting giants and ogres or witches and princesses, or perhaps even travelling to the moon.
Enjoy your adventures and have a jolly journey!
|Who will you meet on your adventure?|
This is our entry into TravelSupermarket.com's Jolly Journey Competition. For more information about TravelSupermarket.com's Car Hire see here.