Are you tired of hearing, “are we there yet?” or “I’m bored” on every car journey you embark on?
If your answer is yes, then look no further.
The six-week break is vast approaching and that means an influx in family holidays. We have spent the best part of eighteen months under restrictions and even the inner child in us all will be desperate to break free, see some sun and hit the road, as a family.
The film Shrek 2 shone a light on a specific scene. The characters Shrek, Fiona and Donkey embarked on a trip to Far, Far Away. For most of that journey, we heard Donkey complain, “are we there yet?” multiple times.
It’s a scene in which we can all relate to when it comes to a car journey with children, as their minds struggle to understand the concept of time. Their brains also require a lot of stimulation, and a monotonous journey can be frustrating for them.
Therefore, in this article, I will provide simple ways in which you can be rid of those dreaded thoughts about the journey ahead. Plus, it may even reduce the number of complaints of boredom.
“I spy with my little eye…”
This is a classic favourite and personally one I played as a child. It provides brain stimulation and even the whole family can play too. One player chooses an object which is in view before announcing, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with the letter…” and then complete the sentence by dropping the first letter of the object. The rest of the players are expected to then guess the item in question. It helps the children understand words and phrases as they are required to list objects that start with those specific letters.
Though since I was a child, times have definitely developed. You can now purchase interactive wipe-board templates of ‘I Spy’ and this includes diagrams or words of objects that the child may spot on the journey. They even come in family packs so adults can participate too. The idea of the game is to spot nature throughout the journey and it can be as simple as natural scenery or animals in a field!
This game involves winners and runners up too and the one who spots the most listed items on the list is the winner. As a further persuasion tactic and engagement, you could offer them ice cream when you arrive at the destination or another form of reward. We love to work towards goals and reap the benefits, it’s a natural reaction and it also helps us feel more determined to win the game or give it our best shot at least.
It helps them understand numbers and how to count in order to work out the winner as well as the difference between the overall scores. The activity also allows there to be room to understand that ‘sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some’ too and this creates a sense of development and life skill. Why not incorporate colours into the activity? - For example, “the first one to spot a red car.”
*If you don’t have an account, it’s free to make one.
“The wheels on the bus…”
I am sure most of us can recite these in our sleep from the number of times we have sung or even heard the nursery rhyme. However, these rhymes are also educational. Children learn to remember the lines and the sequence they occur which helps expand their brain capacity. It is also a fun way to learn for them as they often like to sing, especially when it’s an inclusive activity.
The rhyme often incorporates numbers, sequence of events, colours and shapes too. Children thrive on routine and their brain works in exactly the same way; it feeds off of the rhythm and pattern in the language used. Once they understand the order of events in the nursery rhyme, their confidence will begin to increase and in time they may recite it completely from memory.
For those who struggle with communication, it can be a beneficial way to help those skills develop through the use of song, rather than generalised conversation methods.
Nursery Rhyme List:
*Need the backing tracks to sing-along to?
You can purchase a CD or two from the likes of eBay and Amazon.
There is also a playlist on Spotify for the streamers of society, https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5VwTGBeSxVeYeylCS8sno9.
*It is free to join and use, but without a subscription, it does contain ads!
In recent years, technology has advanced so much since desktop computers and floppy disks. We now have smartphones and iPad’s/Tablets. The digital world is all around us, along with the constant access to the Internet. In the next few sections, I will highlight the ways in which technology can be a blessing, especially on a car journey.
“Lights, Camera, Action…”
You can turn your backseat into a movie theatre without the screen built into the headrest of the car. The absence of Wi-Fi can hinder the ability to stream movies through the likes of Netflix. There is a step-by-step guide for downloading movies onto your device.
Cloud Storage (Apple): https://www.wikihow.com/Add-a-Movie-to-Your-iPad.
Google Drive (Android): https://www.wikihow.com/Add-Files-to-Google-Drive-Online.
However, if you’re a bit like me and the idea of downloading films onto a device is daunting or a little bit too technical, then a Portable DVD Player would definitely be the way to go. There are a number of models, designs and colours to choose from and some are priced at no more than £20* on eBay and Amazon. *Price accurate as of July 2021.
“I don’t feel so good…”
This sentence alone creates a wave of panic and desperation to pull over. I am a poor traveller, and I was as a child too. The mere thought of watching a film in the backseat of a car or drawing is more than enough to make me feel nauseous.
I would often listen to music via a portable cassette player, soon replaced by a portable CD player and so forth. It helps occupy the time, without the awful motion sickness. Some devices now have the chance to add audiobooks to them too. This can help them get lost in a book whilst they gaze at the scenery or closing their eyes for a well-needed kip. Children learn from stories, especially those who are classified as auditory learners or struggle to read and understand a novel.
Apple users: https://help.audible.co.uk/s/article/how-can-i-use-my-ipod-to-listen-to-audible-audiobooks-mac. *The application audible does have a free trial period.
Android users application installation guide: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ak.alizandro.smartaudiobookplayer&hl=en_GB&gl=US.
*Offers in-app purchases.
Have a safe journey and a wonderful summer holiday!