How do I entertain children on a long journey?

Planes and trains? A long journey can be a wonderful time to spend with a child. It is relatively quiet, you can be close and intimate and if you’re flying they are strapped in and can’t run away!

So nightmare or fun – how do you prepare? Here are some of our favourite suggestions.

Play a favourite game

Games that take just a short while to play where you already know the rules and your favourite way to play are always a good time filler.

Dobble has become an instant classic recently and we can see why – a game of spotting, speed and where the children will usually win, all contained in a small tin. Why not try and make your own version of Dobble by bringing extra cards where you can draw items from the trip on them – see if they can spot them this time.

Periscope

Look around you

We loved taking a periscope on the plane – the children could look all around the plane and find out what was happening without annoying any other passengers. The crew loved it and joined in with the game as well, making all sorts of funny faces.

A favourite bedtime story

On a long journey you are both going to want to sleep. Bring their favourite bedtime story with you, one that they associate with cuddling up under the blanket and having a quite time with, and read it again. The more familiar, the better. Children will respond in the usual way, even if they are in an unusual environment.

bedtime story

Sticker activity books

Yes, most children love stickers but giving them a task to do with them makes them all the more fun. Choosing vinyl stickers is best – they are reusable and can be unpeeled and reapplied whenever you want and they usually only stick to the book, and not to the airplane seat!

Djeco make a great range of sticker activities that are great fun. For older children, these ‘paint by’ stickers can take from a few minutes to several hours to complete!

Tell a story

As you are going on an adventure, try and invent one on the way. Story dice are perfect for a small bag – they have all sorts of character ideas and you can sequence them in so many different ways, so the story is different every time. Start with just a few or for advanced story tellers, add in some new rules – each sentance has to start with the letter B, you can only use 7 words for each dice, you can not use the same word twice.

Before you know it, you will have a whole soap opera on your hands!

Get excited about where you’re going to be when you get there!

Take the holiday brochure with you – children may have been excited before they got on the plane but if that was a long time ago, remind them by showing pictures of the swimming pool, the animals or the friends they are going to see.

So – it’s all about doing things! Here are our top tips:

  • Keep it short – have an array of different ideas and don’t expect anything to last more than 20 minutes
  • Keep it tidy – children will be very frustrated if they have dropped a piece on the floor and it is vital for the game
  • Keep it familiar – you are in an unusual environment, go with things they already love to do rather than teaching a new game
  • Keep yourself interested – bring a game that you want to play as well

We wonder what you do on long trips. Share your ideas here!

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