How to keep kids distracted on long car journeys


Long car journeys can trigger cabin-fever, with restless children and worn-out parents. Downloading a few films to keep kids entertained is easy, but if you're after something more novel, here are some fun ideas to keep kids distracted and parents sane.

Get them a virtual pet

If your kids have been asking for a cat or dog at home, keep them quiet with a virtual pet instead! Take a look at the Toca Life Pets app and 'My Virtual Pet', which allow children to raise, feed, teach and play with digital animals from a phone or tablet. Not only do they need (almost!) as much care and attention as a real pet which will keep them very busy in the car, it will teach them some invaluable lessons in responsibility. 

Blend offline and online

SquiggleFish magically brings children's drawings to life! Simply draw and colour a fish, take a photo and watch as it starts swimming around a virtual fish tank. Painting Lulu makes colouring books and digital crayons that enable kids to draw on paper, upload the image using their mobile phones and tablets, and decorate it online.

Mix education with fun

There are loads of apps that enable learning through play. For language-based learning, take a look at this app by Tribal Nova and for a range of learning including maths, reading and beginners science, check out ABCMouse.

Learn about your surroundings

The Field Trip app is great for older children, featuring pop-up messages when you drive past something interesting, such as a historical site. They'll love the excitement of coming across a new place and the adults in the car might learn something too!

Go traditional

Finally, you can also use car journeys as an opportunity to steer kids away from screens and towards traditional forms of entertainment, such as card games, audio books or old-fashioned sing-a-longs. Keep them from feeling cooped up by making sure you stop at least every two hours to stretch the legs and go to the toilet. This will avoid any accidents in the car and also give them the opportunity to run around and use some of that pent-up energy!

Are you driving abroad on holiday? Check out our tips on car maintenance, booking a rental car, and driving safely in Spain