At Christmas time we did an 18 hour drive from Melbourne to Ballina over 2 days. Here are the top 5 things I did to keep my kids occupied so we didn’t hear those magic words “Are we there yet”.
We have one of those in car DVD systems but I’ve found that you need a lot of discs (especially for 18 hours in the car). Instead we bought a Mtek media player that can handle USB, SD, etc so the kids can choose from a list of shows from a memory card or USB device. You can get around 10 to 12 hours of viewing on a 8 gig card.
The Media Players start at around $50 and for most youll also need a $10 9v car power adaptor (most only come with a mains power supply), make sure your DVD player can support the output method.
2. Car Colouring Orginisers, these are great and they can use them for just about anything. They strap to the back of the front seat and when unzipped fold down to create a flat desk. Just remember to make sure they are well stocked before you leave for the trip.
You can get them from places like K-Mart, Target, BigW, etc themed in a range of characters for around $20 to $25.
3. Digital Cameras, you will be absolutly amazed at some of the pictures that a bored youngster can get with a camera from inside a car. Thankfully unlike “back in my day” you no longer have to develop film, and lets face it digital cameras are so cheap these days that its worth it just to see how many pictures of a foot they can take! The Cameras we bought before Christmas also had built in MP3 players and did HD Video (They also a compass which i did think was a little odd).
Digital cameras start at around $5 and go way up from there
4. Hand held games, There is a wide range of choice (and price) from Nintendo DS Lite, Playstation Portable, Leapster to the more generic “classic style” themed LCD games the noise (sigh) and moving characters will keep them occupied for hours.
Electronic games start at $10 and go up into the hundreds depending on brand and complexity.
5. The Low Tech Classics, how could i not mention the original car travel games like Licence plate bingo, Eye Spy (we played this with colours when the kids were younger: ‘something green’) or even the one word at a time story: people in the car take turns telling a story, one word at a time (this one can get tricky if you are driving).
Of course my ultimate answer to “…are we there yet?” is and always will be ….. “Yep!”