Best ways to keep children happy on long drives

Heading off on holiday in your car may be exciting for adults, but children can quickly get bored and restless. Follow our tips to ensure every road trip is a fun family outing...

Best ways to keep children happy on long drives

three girls in car

Long car journeys with children can be a nightmare, with siblings bickering and aggravating each other out of boredom.

There are plenty of ways to keep them amused, though, from traditional sing-songs to letting them watch their favourite movie.

Here, we round up 10 of the best boredom-busters to keep children happy on long drives.

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Fuzzy Felt

10. Fuzzy Felt

The John Adams classic toy first went on sale in 1950 and it’s still encouraging imaginative play today. It’s great for use in cars because the 100 felt pieces in each pack stick to the board supplied with them, so they shouldn’t get dropped or mislaid. There are lots of themed sets, from space to Minnie Mouse.

Price £12.00

Age From three years

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Melissa and Doug sticker pad

9. Reusable sticker pad

A more modern take on Fuzzy Felt, sticker pads are a cheaper alternative and consist of a themed book and up to 200 stickers. The Melissa & Doug ones we found online covered a wide range of topics from habitats to vehicles.

Price £4.99

Age From three years

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Interactive steering wheel

8. Interactive steering wheel

For the back-seat driver in your family, get them their own steering wheel. The Little Driver Sat Nav Steering Wheel has an interactive sat-nav with 72 spoken instructions, realistic driving sounds, flashing lights and indicators.

Price £15.95

Age From three years

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Car seat back tidy

7. Car seat organiser

Soft high-sided trays are best for younger children – they can be placed on their lap or on the car seat beside them. Older kids will appreciate compartmented organisers that hang on the back of a front seat. Whichever you choose, they’ll be a great help in keeping toys, snacks and drinks within easy reach.

Price From £8.00

Age From three years

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Two girls in child car seats in car

6. Window shade

If your car doesn’t have tinted side windows, a window shade is a great investment because it’ll help your little ones keep cool in hot, sunny weather. There are lots of shades on offer, but we chose a pack of two Clippasafe Roller Sun Blinds because they can be left in place and rolled up when not needed.

Price £8.95

Age na

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Two Munchkin Snack Catchers

5. Spill-proof snack bowl

You’re already highly likely to have spill-proof cups or beakers; adding a snack pot that doesn’t let the contents spill out and scatter all round your car seems like a highly sensible addition to your inventory. The Munchkin Snack Catcher Bowl has flexible flaps in the lid so a child can get their hand in to get food out, but nothing should come out if it’s tipped.

Price £5.95

Age From 12 months

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Portable DVD player

4. Portable DVD player

If you don't own a car with TV screens on the back of the front seats, you can replicate that luxury travel feel for your children with a portable DVD player. Buy one with two screens if you need to entertain a pair of children.

Price From £39.99

Age na

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

iPad attached to back of car seat using holder

3. iPad mount

A cheaper alternative to a portable DVD screen is to use an iPad or another tablet. You can get one that attaches onto the back of a seat like this Koo-di iPad Holder, or one that holds the device between the two front seats.

Price £13.99

Age na

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Child wearing headphones

2. Children’s headphones

If you don’t want to listen to The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round for hours on end, buy your children some headphones. JVC’s Tiny Phones, which are designed for children, have a built-in volume limiter, soft ear pads and a wide head band.

Price £12.99

Age na

Top 10 ways to keep children happy on long journeys

Lady putting baby into child car seat in car

1. Singalongs

Whether your children’s favourite songs are nursery rhymes or the latest chart-topping hits, letting them sing along as you drive is certain to keep them happy. You can buy DVDs, stream music or download podcasts, such as CBeebies Radio.

Price na

Age na

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