Travelling with kids? Ways to keep your little one entertained…

Mother and son with a book in the car

Holidays – relaxing in the sun, swimming in the sea and playing in the sand. Fun for the whole family, and a chance to see and learn about the great cultures of the world.

Though the idea is to have a relaxing time, it doesn’t always pan out like that. Particularly when you are travelling to your destination with the little ones!

Here, our friends at Trunki share some top tips on how to keep your tots entertained on longer journeys – whether it is a drive, a flight, a coach trip or even a boat ride, these tips will make things that little bit easier, and much less stressful for parents.

Here we go…

  • Tablets & smart phones – It is the 21st century after all. These gadgets are exceptionally useful for entertaining on the go. Downloading great kids’ films and TV shows should guarantee a bit of rest bite, and you can also download some games and other apps to entertain your kids – such as fun educational apps like Reading Eggs and Mathseeds.
  • Pack their best-loved cuddly toy – ‘Mr Bear’ is always a great companion and comforter, and can be particularly useful at times when flights can be a bit frightening – like take-off, landing or the dreaded turbulence.
  • A children’s magazine – These can be bought at the airport itself, and are full of fun activities, articles and even free toys that should keep your kids occupied.
  • Crayons & drawing – An oldie but goldie! Nothing beats a bit of drawing to kill boredom, particularly when the kids are excited and surrounded by a new environment. You can encourage them to draw what they are seeing and experiencing, and hey, if you get crayon all over your clothes, it washes off easy as well.
  • Finger or hand puppets – When all else fails, time to get out the hand puppets! Fun for your little one when they require mum or dad’s full attention.
  • Finger foods – A tasty snack is always entertaining! If you are on a flight, chewing and swallowing food can also help with changes in air pressure…so little ears won’t suffer as much.
  • A new toy – What is more entertaining than the novelty of a new toy? Nothing! That’s the answer! Even just a cheap one bought at the airport will work. The novelty might wear off eventually, but it is usually long after the journey has finished.
  • Reading Eggs – There is absolutely no reason the entertainment can’t also be educational. Your little one can embark on the fun Reading Eggs programme during their holiday travels, helping to improve their reading skills. You can sign up for a free trail here and have your little ones enjoy our trusted, award winning reading programme for ages 3 to 13.
  • Take a look at Trunki: Trunki are experts in travel for children. They have a range of products that can make things much more comfortable for your little one, and relaxing for you. Take a look at their fantastic range here, including the classic Ride-on Trunki suitcase for little ones on the move!

There you have it, some top tips on how to keep those restless toddlers entertained on long journeys!

Travelling with Kids: Reading Games for the Road

car reading games

Holidaying with kids can be lots of fun – but the actual travelling part of it can be far from it! Children can often get bored and restless on long car rides, but luckily, there are some ways you can keep them entertained, all while building important reading skills.

Play ‘I Spy’: This classic car journey game is perfect for helping your child with phonics (i.e. developing an ear for sounds). Pay attention to your surroundings and take turns giving clues about an object you have spotted. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with mmm.

Sound Lotto: Developing strong listening skills is important for your child’s reading skills too. Make a list of the sounds you expect to hear on your travels, such as trucks, motorbikes, laughter, high winds, or a particular instrument in a song played on the radio. Each time someone hears the sound, they can shout ‘Bingo!’ Older children can play a more sophisticated version using the sounds in certain words.

Find a word that starts with the letter…: Word games help your child think about word structures and increase your child’s awareness of letters and sounds. Take a few minutes to search for words that begin with a particular letter, such as ‘B’. Kick the game off by giving your children a few examples, such as ‘barn’ or ‘baby’ and ask them to find more.

Make time for rhymes: Rhyming is a powerful way to develop phonological awareness. You can start off by taking your child’s first name and match it with words that rhyme. Then take turns finding other things you come across and coming up with words that rhyme with these too.

Put things into categories: Vocabulary is one of the five essential components of reading instruction. Pick a theme such as ‘red’ or ‘animals’ and have every family member find ten words that fall under this category. This game will aid in your child’s vocabulary development after they eventually hear someone’s suggestion and ask, “What does that word mean?”.

Licence plates and signs: Go on a letter hunt and have your child spell a word that they know, such as their first name. Start by trying to find the first letter on licence plates or road signs. “The first letter in your name is ‘S’, can you find a licence plate or sign with an ‘S’ on it”, and so on.

What would you do if…:  This game is a great way to spend your time together and get to know how your children think. It also uses the same processes of comprehension, analysis and expression applied when children are reading. Think of interesting scenarios and ask your child what they would do in that situation. For example, “What would you do if you discovered hidden treasure?” or “What would you do if you got lost in the shopping mall?” You can also stock up on riddle or joke books, or some educational apps on your phone or tablet device to give your child some positive educational screen time on your travels.

Do you have any other fun games you play with your children while travelling?

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program for children aged 3-13. With a comprehensive range of self-paced lessons and activities, the program is a highly interactive and fun way to build your child’s reading skills.Start your free 2 week trial today.