Hours of Laughter: How to Entertain Children in the Car

June 10, 2015

  Vacations are wonderful for precious family memories, and remember memories are also made during the drive to your destination. While traveling, entertaining children can be a challenge, but plenty of activities are available to help pass the time. Instead of being asked “Are we there yet?” hundreds of times, create a visual display so your child can comprehend how much time is remaining. You could string a photo of a vehicle to the roof of your car, and with each passing hour, you move the picture along a specified amount. This will be an easy way to see how far along you are in your journey. Preschool and school aged children love engaging activities so why not go fishing in the car? Before you leave, attach small magnets to the back of paper fish, and then you need to create a fishing rod by using a paper clip, string, and small pole. The paper clip will attract the magnets, and your children will have loads of fun catching fish. Unless you wish to spread the fish out on the floor of your vehicle, you should bring along a bowl or bucket to place them in. For an educational spin, you could attach questions and answers to different sides of the fish, and in order to keep it, you must give the correct answer. If your child is an adventure seeker, attach elastic string to both an action figure and a fixture in the vehicle. Now, the toy can fly and go bungee jumping. Be sure the “fly zone” is clear of anyone else…including siblings! Children enjoy photographing scenery, objects, and of course, selfies, and if you have an old phone or camera, you could give your child photography privileges for the duration of the trip. This allows children to use their imagination, and at the end of the vacation it will be fun to see the journey through your child’s eyes. Handheld toys like racecars and puzzles can be a challenge for car rides because they are frequently dropped. Consider giving your child a cooking pan with edges or a shoebox to use while playing with these items. It is much easier to balance an item in your lap than to hold several small items at once. Scavenger hunts are always excellent entertainment options for children of all ages because you can tailor the search specifically for the child. Before you leave, create a list of objects for your children to find such as a stop sign, bridge, boat, or person wearing a hat. Feel free to be creative when you create your list, and you can format your list using Bingo style, checklist, coloring book, or any way your children will enjoy. For a handheld scavenger hunt, you can create an I-Spy game by filling a jar or bottle with rice and putting in an assortment of random objects including dice, beads, doll shoes, miniature toys, coins, etc. Look around your house to see what toys your children have forgotten about, and wrap them up for a fun surprise. Children often forget about toys, and a car ride is the perfect opportunity to reunite your children with their forgotten treasures. Unwrapping the surprise is part of the excitement even if your child has had the toy for a long period. In order to store your entertainment options, you can use objects you already have. Hanging toiletry bags work wonderfully because you can place it by your child’s window or on the seat in front. Another option for smaller objects is a muffin pan with an attachable top. Before you leave on your next vacation, take a few minutes to plan entertainment options that your child will enjoy. Spending a few minutes beforehand planning different activities will provide hours of entertainment in the car and could create for lasting memories.   Valerie handles media relations for Caliber Collision, and in her spare time, she enjoys swimming, traveling, baking, and playing with her puppy, Emma. Some of her favorites include Taylor Swift, Coke Zero, and The Good Wife, and she enjoys living life to the fullest but also making time to enjoy the small moments.