My top five essentials for surviving a car journey with children

The thought of travelling in the car with children might put some people off. We have survived a few long journeys including a trip to Henley on Thames and Butlin's Bognor Regis from our home in Northumberland and will try ANYTHING to make the journey as stress free as possible.

Over the years I have tried lots of different resources to keep our children entertained. Here are a few of our favourites:-

  • Magnetic dress up games such as this one from Tilda and Tom - I love how these are all in one box meaning it sit's perfectly on a child's lap and they can easily keep all of the bits together.

  • In-car games - we like these ones from which are free to download. Traffic Jam is a favourite of ours and is perfect to keep 2-4 children entertained at the same time. A game can easily last an hour and can get a little competitive (download sheets here). 

  • 50 things to do on a car journey cards - I used to sell Usborne books and these cards are definitely still favourites of ours. There are 50 different cards each featuring a different game or activity which will keep little ones entertained for a good few hours. 

  • Sticker books - We will always purchase a new sticker book before a long journey as they are a mess-free and easy way to entertain children. Sticky dolly dressing and annual type books have worked well for us in the past.
  • A fully charged iPad - If all else fails, you can't go wrong with a fully charged iPad. Fill it with new movies and educational games before you leave. 

.............and what not to do

A few years ago I read somewhere to make little presents for children on a long journey. Visit your local pound shop and buy a few bits and bobs, wrap them up and give your children a new gift to unwrap every hour. Not only did this cost a small fortune but it also created a huge mess with wrapping paper all over the car! Plus the 'gifts' were not designed with longevity in mind and only kept my children entertained for a few minutes at a time. Definitely a waste of time, effort and money and not recommend!

Waste of money!

I would love to hear your experiences of long car journeys with children and what works/doesn't work for you.

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  1. The Usborne 50 things sounds like a great idea - I do struggle sometimes when I'm on my own in the car with my daughter as she gets bored but I have to concentrate on the road. Will definitely check them out before our Cornwall trip!

  2. Totally agree with everything you've said, Sam! We're driving to France in 2x weeks and are going to invest in a variety of car story CDs - book CDs - so there's another one for your list. This, I know, will entertain my three even if it drives us potty!

    Ipad is absolutely essential. We're talking four between the five of us PLUS a travel DVD player, lol. We've done the wrapping present too, and this was also rubbish. An absolute pain to wrap and get through customs.

    Oh, and finally ... definitely agree that Tilda and Tom toys are the absolute BEST! xxx

  3. Ohh.. we're going on a 18 hour plane journey this summer (by we I mean just me and my 4 & 2 year old) so these suggestions look great! I too have read the 'wrap gifts up' idea and thought it didn't seem great. I've also read that people like to bring play dough on a plane.. seems crazy to me! I think that magnetic dress up game looks brilliant though! #TheList

    1. WOW! 18 hrs on a plane! Where are you off to! I've read about the playdough thing too - bet the air hostess's aren't keen on that idea!

  4. Great list. We have a long car journey coming up in September. So glad I spotted this post. Awesome pic of your little people too. #TheList x

  5. Things I would have never thought about. we've only been on 2 long car journeys so far. It was always the iPad entertaining him. #TheList

  6. The magnetic games definitely look good. We always get ours to pack their own little bag of toys, books, notebooks etc to have next to them in the car and then the music/story CDs are also a winner. #thelist

  7. I keep putting off long journeys with the little ones. I know my oldest would be fine as she went to France via coach with school last year but the little two would be a nightmare , the furthest i have taken them is Durham x #thelist

  8. Great blog, thanks of sharing - love the magnetic dress up game idea x

  9. Great ideas honey. I love the sound of the magnetic games, genius. Thanks so much for linking up to #TheList xx

  10. Great ideas! We are finding our 3 year old is kept entertained by I Spy for quite some time at the moment.


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