Here are some suggestions to turn your journey, and your holiday, into an enjoyable family experience.
Audio books are a must when travelling long distances in the car. They are usually excellent quality, and prove to be very relaxing. If you have children of different ages, use their walkmans so they can each listen to their own tape or CD - the books come in both forms. Little ones will love Bananas in Pyjamas - Best of Stories, with a collection of all-time favourites. Play School - Dinosaur Stories is another favourite for youngsters, read by Play School stalwarts Andrew McFarlane, Reese Muldoon and Leah Vandenberg.
Older kids will love Black Queen, written by Michael Morpugo and read by Anton Lesser, while teenagers will be into the Lord of the Rings series. The entire trilogy is available, adapted from the original BBC Radio full cast dramatisation. Relive Part One - The Fellowship of the Ring, hear Part Two - The Two Towers and Part Three - The Return of the King. These books are long, so you'll find yourself at your destination in no time at all! Or you can pick up the Harry Potter series for more wizardry and magic.
Since cars were invented families have been playing games like 'I Spy' to help pass the time. Here are some examples.
When I Went on Holiday
It's an easy memory game. Someone starts by saying something like 'When I went on holiday I packed my pink pyjamas'. The next person then repeats that and adds another item. Continue on and on until someone can't remember. It is fun and should get some laughs.
The first player names a country or city, for example, Australia. The next person has to name another country or city that begins with the last letter of Australia. They might say Adelaide. The next person then has to name a place starting with the last letter of Adelaide. And so on and so forth.
One player thinks of a place or thing. Everyone else takes it in turns to ask 20 questions, which must be answered yes or no. For instance, is it a person, does it move, is it green et cetera. Whoever guesses correctly has a go.
The Quiet Game
Great for competitive siblings. At the count of three, everyone has to see who can be quiet the longest. Parents usually lose, with kids in the back trying to 'out quiet' each other! What bliss!!
Trivial Pursuit for Kids
A child-friendly version of the world's most popular adult game. Best suited to children 12 and over, it's an Australian version with questions ranging from dinosaurs to cyber pets, rainforest to rivers, sport to pop stars. Parents like the educational value of the game while kids love the questions on cool kid stuff.
Click here for more information on Trivial Pursuit for Kids.
On planes it is possible to play on the tray top, and for cars, you can buy tabletops that sit up nicely over children's laps, on which kids can do colouring in or play board games. Board games are also handy to play in your hotel room, in airport lounges waiting for connections, or on rainy days at home. These games often create wonderful family memories and traditions.
These Hasbro games may be purchased through
Toys R Us
Toy Story Monopoly Junior
This will please everyone with players able to be Jessie, Buzz, Woody or Mr Potato Head. The idea of the game is for kids to use an allowance to buy as many toy friends as possible, with the winner being the person who buys the most toys. This gives a new slant to the old favourite.
Cluedo had everyone guessing just who did what to whom and where, but this version, Simpsons Cluedo, will be in demand. Players will be searching landmark locations around Springfield, such as the Kwik-E-Mart, the Powerplant and Moe's Tavern, for the Simpsons characters. Gone are the traditional weapons - in true Simpson's style the 'weapons' are Lisa's saxophone, a poisoned donut and a plutonium rod.
My First Guess Who
This is a new version of Guess Who created for younger children, three and over. It allows kids to create a face as they go with the special identi-kit, to help them guess the name of the character their opponent has selected. As the identity takes shape; the child can match the face to a picture on the supplied chart.
Buckaroo gets kids in, with the aim of the game to load the mule with camping gear before he bucks it off. Buckaroo has a spring-loaded kick and he can buck at any time. When he does, there are lots of laughs!