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Top tips to keep your kids entertained during your touring caravan or motorhome journey.
Kids and touring caravan or motorhome travel can be a heady combination of family fun time and ridiculous adventure. But if you don’t plan ahead it can be a major headache. Keeping kiddos busy and entertained with stimulating activities will prevent the dreaded chorus of “Are we there yet?!” Nobody likes a playlist on repeat and we all know that song gets old. Fast.
We’ve thought up some caravan-ready games and tips to keep the family happy and contented while traveling.
First, a few travel tips for families with kids.
If possible, stick to your normal routines while logging miles. Keep mealtimes, snacks, naps, and bedtimes consistent. While this may not be realistic on the road, maintaining some semblance of your normal schedule may help prevent grumps and temper tantrums. Remember to snack well and snack often.
Bring along familiar items like a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, and pillow. The more comfortable you can make touring caravan or motorhome, the more likely your child will be able to squeeze a snooze in during the drive. This will make exploring and rest stops much more enjoyable as your kids are energized and ready to go. A familiar blanket and pillow will also likely help calm children that are upset or cranky.
Try to avoid packing junk food or those snacks that are loaded with sugar. The last thing you want is a pack of monsters bouncing off your caravan walls. Stick to snacks that are healthy and won’t create a big mess or a pile of crumbs. We recommend shopping before your trip, so you can select healthy foods at a much more reasonable price than what you will spend when loading up on junk food at the service station. Divide snacks into containers or small bags to prevent arguments between children and prevent the temptation to pig out and finish the whole snack box. Eating small snacks often will also help keep the kids entertained.
If technology is part of the entertainment plan, make sure to have sufficient battery power for your journey. Choose electronics that offer rechargeable batteries or USB charging ports. There are a multitude of options and devices that will charge electronics and batteries, so make sure to load up on juice! Many parents also relish the peace and quiet they experience when they outfit their kids with headphones. Download a couple new or novel apps and games so your child is excited about trying them out in your touring caravan.
Moms advise travelers to be flexible when on holiday with the kids. Be prepared to make itinerary changes and be willing to change your game plan.
Pro tip: forget about annoying toys like balls, jigsaw puzzles, or those with small parts during the journey. Your sanity in the caravan is worth it!
Now, on to the fun stuff.
The key to happy touring holiday is a happy caravan journey. By switching activities often you can keep kids preoccupied and transform travel into adventure rather than a chore.
Pack binoculars for curious kids.
If you have more than one child it may be best to have a pair handy for everyone. Inexpensive binoculars can be found online. You can then make a checklist before your trip, or even during the car ride to create a scavenger hunt. List items like an airplane, helicopter, red truck, a brown cow, etc. Binoculars will also come in handy should you come across any wildlife or exciting sights.
Older children might enjoy mentally stimulating tasks like a Rubik Cube or those puzzles composed of interlocking metal rings and keys. A bag full of these types of quiet activities can keep kids amused for quite some time. Invent challenges such as attempting the puzzle within a certain time frame or try closing your eyes, get creative!
Remember that stuffed animal or toy you added to the packing list above?
Use it to create a narrative or storyline about your trip. Permit your child to take photos, videos, or create a sort of travelogue, trip journal, or photo album with all the cool places you visit.
Get creative and have a lot of fun with it. Some of my favorite trip photos come from this very game and it’s a really neat way to look back and remember your holiday.
Pack a couple extra blankets or pillows and make a fort around your child’s seat. Let imaginations run wild and pretend you are on a dangerous safari or traveling through the space and time continuum in a magic space shuttle: your caravan or motorhome!
Before departing for your trip make a dance or sing-a-long music playlist. Challenge the kids to a sitting dance-off, a dance party, or choreograph moves to a favorite tune. Have kids pick out a song and go head-to-head in a lip sync battle and hand out prizes for everyone’s best song. Try making a kid-friendly playlist with songs about places your touring caravan will be passing or traveling to.
For a good time, give the Story Game a whirl. Everyone in the caravan will end up contributing to a wacky story full of unpredictable twists and turns. Someone starts by creating a narrative of a sentence or two; it can be about anything, anyone, and anywhere, though it is fun to try and incorporate the sights you see from the road. The storyteller will then leaving a trailing sentence so the next person can chime in and take the story in a completely different direction. It’s a riot to see what kind of wacky stories your group will end up concocting.
Assemble a holiday journal kit and have kids record their adventures. Prepare a bag with notebooks, markers, stickers, stencils, and art supplies to give kids lots of options to doodle and decorate. Take 10-20 minutes each day to record the day’s journey. It’s fun to tape brochures, mementos, and postcards from your trip inside the pages. Later on you’ll have a great place where all your holiday memories can be relived.
For fussy or impatient children, invest in a timer with a fun ring or sound. Set the timer at 15-20 minute intervals. When the buzzer dings the child can then pick a prize from a sack or bucket of inexpensive toys, games, snacks, and amusements. This keeps kids engaged and excited about the next time interval while simultaneously busting boredom.
For children that like reading, try visiting the library before your trip and picking up some new books. Don’t permit your child to read the books until your trip to build some anticipation. If you have young children, try reading out loud to them for caravan story time. It’s even more fun if you can dig up a book with a setting or scenery based on the places you plan to visit. Magnetic book boards are also a great way to foster storytelling and keep kids busy.
Engaging books on tape are a great way to keep children enthralled. Pick a story with great reviews and an author who isn’t above using fun voices for the different characters. This keeps kids entertained while continuing to engage their imaginations.
Print off a map or buy an atlas so kids can keep track of progress on the road. Consider turning it into a treasure map or hand out prizes when certain destinations or sites have been passed. Teach kids how to use a map or let them incorporate the map into coloring and art activities.
Invent fun games to play at rest stops or sightseeing destinations. If your child loves pirates, turn the rest stop into a deserted island where dreaded panthers are lurking and treasure can be discovered. It might be fun to have chalk handy and allow them to stretch their legs while drawing a picture.
The more activities and distractions you can pack along, the busier the kids will be and the faster the time flies. Plan to switch activities every 30 minutes for children 7 and under. Keeping kids stimulated and interested is the key to enjoying travel as a family. A little extra planning before liftoff can make all the difference in a journey full of discovery and fun or the dreaded “Are we there yet?” on repeat. Happy travels!
Please share your ideas on how you keep your kids entertained during your caravan or motorhome journey in the comment blos below or the Salop Leisure Facebook page.