6 Fun Kids Car Journey Activities


6 Fun Kids Car Activities - An Island Family By Grace

One of the things about Our Big Move to the Scottish Hebrides islands has been that we have had a lot further to travel if we want to visit family or we have need of going back to ‘civilisation’ (!) to buy things that are not available here, and cannot be delivered. Obviously we have chosen to do that, so I am not complaining! My lovely sister also lives down in England- about a 12 hour drive without stops, so when we next do that journey, I will need to be well prepared.

Our children are pretty good about long car journeys- maybe because we don’t do them too often, and also we take along some activities that they would not normally do, so there is a bit of novelty value about it. Obviously these activities could also be used on a bus, train or plane journey too. Here is a list of the 6 kids car journey activities that usually keep our family happy on a long trip:

1. Read alouds

– We enjoy reading aloud as a family at home anyway, so I continue this on car journeys too. Our recent favourites have been Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science (Sowers), (which you can also get on audio CD), a children’s abridged Oliver Twist, and Goodnight Mister Tom, (although I must mention there were some elements of it which I felt were unsuitable for younger children). Currently we are reading Spring Days with the Moodys, by Sarah Maxwell, which is the eighth book about an American Christian homeschooling family. It is available in the UK from Rainbow Books, or elsewhere directly from the Maxwells at titus2.com.

We also enjoy reading aloud ‘Another Home Scholar From The Past’ articles in Home School Enrichment magazine, which we are subscribed to through a UK distributor.

2. Personal reading books

– Our children all love reading, and as none of them is prone to travel sickness, they will spend some time out of a long journey reading their own books. Some of the personal reading books they are currently reading are:

13 year old: Kingdom’s Dawn: (The Kingdom Series) – this book was a ‘reward’ for reading a book he was struggling to get through for his English curriculum!

11 year old: The Hallelujah Lass: A Story Based on the Life of Salvation Army Pioneer Eliza Shirley (Daughters of the Faith) – she read this very quickly. It is not a thin book with large writing, so it is hard to keep up with her!

8 year old: ATTACK AT THE ARENA (Imagination Station) which is an Adventures in Odyssey story.

6 year old: she has only recently begun to read books by herself rather than just when she is reading aloud to me. Currently she likes A Packet of Seeds.

6 Fun Kids Car Activities


3. Audiobooks

– Our children love audiobooks, and at the moment Brinkman Adventures is their current favourite. It is an audio drama rather than just a reading of a text, and features true stories from a real life American Christian homeschool family, including their missionary trips. You can listen to a free episode on their website to see if you like it. So far we have downloaded the first season, and my husband and I enjoy it along with the children!

On our recent trip back down to my parents’ house, which takes 5 hours, we listened to a download of Under Drake’s Flag by Heirloom Audio Productions, who also produced ‘In Freedom’s Cause’ about Wallace and Bruce. They are both narrated by Brian Blessed, from the original books by GA Henty (both of which original books can be read for free on Kindle: Under Drake’s Flag A Tale of the Spanish Main,  In Freedom’s Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce ).

Another favourite of our children is Your Story Hour, which is good for both audio Bible dramas, and stories of well known people in history, and you can also listen to it online for free, when you are at home!

We also own some of the Adventures in Odyssey CDs, particularly the Life Lessons CDs. Some of the other Odyssey stories can involve a bit too much ‘peril’ or high school romance for younger children.

You can also download many public domain audiobooks for free at Librivox, for both children and adults. The most recent book we have used this for is Anne of Green Gables.

Our younger two really enjoy picture books with CDs, their favourite series being the Katie Morag stories, read by Mairi Hedderwick herself.

 4. Games

– Our family does not own personal video games like a DS or Leap Pad, so for games we usually take a selection of card games that are relatively easy to play in a moving car; UNO, Boggle (no cards in this one!), Top Trumps Horses & Ponies, Children’s Bible Trivia Card Game, and our current favourite by far, Monarchy, from Witty Inventions games, which is available in the UK from the home education supplier Icthus Resources.

6 Fun Kids Car Activities

Monarchy Card Game from Icthus Resources

  5. Colouring Books

– Our son is past the stage of being interested in colouring books, although I did get him this Boys’ Doodle Book for the day we moved up here. The girls are all still into colouring, when they are in the mood for it, and they particularly like to more detailed ones available for older children. The most recent ones I bought were the Doll’s House Colouring Book  for our 6 year old, The Victorian House Colouring Book for our 8 year old, and Colour Your Own John Constable Paintings for our 11 year old.

In the past I have also bought them sticker books, but now we only usually have them if a generous relative buys one 😉

6. Verbal memory and spotting games

– I’m not sure if my title here properly describes what I mean, but our family loves those kind of games where each person has to remember a list of items and repeat them back on their turn.

The Minister’s Cat – my sister and I used to play this game with my grandpa in Inverness when we were wee 🙂 It goes “The Minister’s cat is a ____________ cat” and you insert an adjective beginning with A, for example “angry”, the next person uses an adjective beginning with B and so on.

I went to the shops – Each person says “I went to the shops and I bought a ______________”, inserting an item they bought beginning with A and so on, except they must also remember what each previous person bought as part of their list.

Numberplate words – When another vehicle goes past, everyone has to think of a word or a sentence using the letters of the vehicle’s numberplate, in order.

‘I Spy’ – the classic, which we used to change to “I spy something {of a particular colour}”, rather than beginning with a letter of the alphabet, before the children were able to do that.

Links to other resources for long journeys:

Sarah from Delivering Grace blog has a post with Six thoughts about children and trains. This Reading Mama has lots of free printable Car Games and Activities.

What does your family like to do to pass the time on a long journey? Any good suggestions would be most appreciated for our future trips south! Please let me know in a comment below.

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12 Comments on “6 Fun Kids Car Journey Activities

  1. Hi Gwen!!
    I didn’t know you had a blog – I am so pleased to have found you!
    We live just outside London but Gary comes from N. Ireland and we would often have braved the twelve of so hour journey to Stranraer to sail to Belfast. We now go via Liverpool which means less time in the car (Yay!)
    Although we don’t use computer games in every day live and also don’t own DS etc, we do down load aps onto our Ipads which have been such a blessing on a long journey – most have an educational slant but as the children don’t do games any other time they are always excited to give anything a try. I also make up a bag of goodies for each child during the weeks before our travels. This will include craft sets, jewelry making set, puzzles, travel games. Some get reused each time we go. This year I bought a set of mini Frozen figure (the children never have themed toys at home) and the little girls played for hours with them in the car. They have now been stored for next journey and hopefully will feel ‘new’ again for the littles.
    Looking forward to following along your blog.x

    • Hi Claire! I love the idea of making up a bag with a craft set and other stuff- will have to try that next time. I definitely agree with keeping things ‘new’ to only be used for that type of occasion too. Thank so much for your comment 🙂

  2. Great ideas! We live in Fairbanks, Alaska and have traveled the Alaskan Highway too many times to count. It’s a 48 hour drive, but longer as we usually visit friends in Canada and eventually arrive in Oregon where family is. We don’t do electronics either. We have 6 children ranging in ages from 15 all the way down to toddlers and rotating seating every so often helps… new seat mates. We also bring dried fruit and nuts and water because it takes time to pick up and eat little sized things. Audio stories are a life saver. The other thing the kids like are lap sized dry erase boards and pens. They can draw, play hang man, guessing games, practice cursive, do codes, you name it. Small hand sewing projects like knitting, or making felt Christmas ornaments or other handiwork. Singing, telling stories, interviewing one another and journaling the entire trip in a notebook are all highlights. We pull over and stop approx. every 2 hours to stretch our legs even if it’s just for 10 min. It keeps everyone’s morale high. Sometimes we look for plants to press or a rock to keep. Some of our best memories have been made traveling together, and have also stretched us a family the most as well!

    • Wow, that makes our 5 hour trip seem short! I think writing about the trip in a notebook and making felt crafts would work well for us. Thank you for your comment Jeannie 🙂

  3. Great list! We pretty much stick to audio books and keep special ones for traveling. The Lamplighter Audio Drama series are our favorite for the family to enjoy. We are also currently reading the Kingdom Series by Chuck Black in our homeschool 🙂 And the Packet of Seeds is still a picture book that makes me cry! 🙂 So sweet! Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Gwen! Have a lovely weekend.

    • Thank you JES, I had never heard of Lamplighters audio drama, so I will have a look for that 🙂

      • We have some Lamplighter audio drama’s too and they are all of our favorites. You’ll never regret having paid for them and you’ll want to listen to them over and over.

        • Thank you Jeannie, I will have a listen to the free episode they have available and see what I think 🙂

  4. Hey there Gwen, thanks for sharing this post with us at Good Morning Mondays. When my parents were alive we would travel yearly to see them. It was a 24 hour journey without stops and we usually did most of our driving at night, so the children would sleep and we would alternate driving – although my husband would do most of it. When we travel during the day, we take books and card games and make sure we have plenty of drinks and snacks on hand. It is wonderful to hear about your life. Thanks and blessings

    • Wow Terri, I am realising that our five hour journey is not that bad at all! Thank you for your comment 🙂

  5. Wow, some of these journeys sound long! We have a five hour journey coming up so the suggestions are useful. The children will think the Minister’s Cat is hilarious! Thank you for all the audio book suggestions. We have managed to find some that we like from the local library but this tends to mean that I have had to have read the book first! Not from the library but Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, from Maestro Classics, is popular here.
    Thank you for the mention and for increasing my armory of travel ideas.

    • Thank you Sarah 🙂 I think we used to have Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel when my son was younger- I might have a look for it again.

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