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It’s true that boredom has its benefits like encouraging kids to become more creative. However, you wouldn’t want to have a bored child on a trip — especially on a very long one. The boredom can pile up and may lead to tantrums even after you’ve arrived at your destination.

What you have to understand is that getting bored is entirely natural. Everyone gets bored, and that includes you. But for the sake of your supposed-to-be-happy trip, it’s crucial that you find ways to lessen if not eliminate it.

One of the earliest definitions of boredom was from German psychologist Theodor Lipps. According to him, “Boredom is a feeling of unpleasure arising out of a conflict between a need for intense mental activity and lack of incitement to it, or inability to be incited.”

Furthermore, a psychologist has also said that most kids younger than 12 can only wait 49 minutes and 47 seconds. That’s before they ask the potentially irritating question, “Are we there yet?”. Just imagine how stressful it can be if you need to drive to your parents’ house located so many miles away.

What To Look For In Travel Games For Kids?

The good news is that there are tons of different ways for you to help your kids overcome boredom. Travel games and toys, however, are one of the oldest and probably the most effective method. So how do you choose the right travel games for your kids?

You don’t need rocket science, nor you need extensive research when it comes to choosing travel games and toys for kids. With toys, you just have to make sure that they’re appropriate to the age of your child/children. This isn’t so hard a task because toys are labeled which age groups they’re suited for.

When it comes to games, and will do as long as it’s engaging enough that your kids would participate in gladly. It would also be helpful if the games will stimulate creativity and be a satisfying activity for them.

After all, boredom happens when an individual is left in a state without anything to do in particular.

Type Of Toys You Should Consider Bringing

Self-Contained Toys

These are toys that have attached pieces or parts that can be stored in the main component. Etch-A-Sketch and Magna Doodle are good examples of these toys. Not only can they draw anything they want (boosting creativity), they also leave no mess behind.

Especially with younger children, avoid bringing toys that contain small parts as they can be a choking hazard. Of course, you’d like to get to your destination peacefully and smoothly. However, traveling safely with your kids should be your top priority.

Tablets And Cellphones

While it’s not advisable for babies, older kids will find these gadgets to be a lot of fun. However, don’t make them get used to using tablets and cellphones as per AAP’s recommendations. You can loosen up on your no-gadgets rule just this time.

And while you’re at it, make sure that you activate the tablet’s parental control features. This way, they’ll only be exposed to contents that are appropriate to them. If there’s internet connection, it’s advisable that you introduce them to educational websites and games, online resources, and child-friendly apps.

Electronic Handheld Toys

These are different than tablets or mobile phones mainly because they serve just one purpose — a dedicated gaming device. Similarly, you’d like to limit your kids from playing too much with these devices, but at least, they’re interactive. So for the time being, let them enjoy their electronic games.

Cars, Trains, Dolls, And Animal Figures

This is perfect if your child loves to engage in pretend play. For starters, they don’t take up too much space in your car. These toys will also allow your kid to do things on his or her own which means they have control.

And having that ‘control’ will help them be at ease even in the most uncomfortable of situations. Like boredom, for instance.

Card Games

Play kid-friendly card games with your child like Go Fish, Old Maid, Slapjack, Memory, and Uno. They’re fun and can keep your little one busy for quite a while. It will also teach your kid patience and discipline as most of these games are turn-based.

And who doesn’t love card magic tricks? So if you know a few, better have them ready and watch your little angel be amazed.

Other Helpful Activities

Color Game

Test your kid’s color recognition skills with this game! All you have to do is ask him or her what the color of something is. If you are traveling by plane, it can be any object like fruits, vegetables, animals, etc. If you’re on the road, you can ask them what the color of the car that you see.

Riddles

As old as they may be, riddles still work. It’s a fun game to play with your kids and is good for their minds too. By giving them clues as to what the answer to a riddle is, you help them develop their critical thinking skill — something that they’ll need as they grow up.

“Where Are We” Game

Since your kids will probably still be asking this question, why not use it to your advantage? Better yet, let them answer their own question. Using a map and a little help from the GPS navigation system, ask them where you are currently as well as how much farther there is to go.

Coloring Books

If your kids are interested in the magic of colors, a coloring book is also a good way to keep them occupied. You can buy them from stores or online. You can also put a little DIY touch to them by printing, say, their favorite animals. And yes, don’t forget to bring crayons.

Watching TV

Thanks to technology, televisions are no longer just confined inside the houses. They’re everywhere, and you can even have the kids watch their favorite cartoons on iPad. If your car has small screens installed, you can play their most-loved Disney movies.

If you prefer to have a quiet ride though, make sure they use earphones.

Additional Tips

  • Always prioritize safety first. Ensure that your child’s car seat is installed securely and correctly. Have your first aid kit always ready as well. Accidents happen without warning so you’d want to be prepared at all times.
  • Strategize the seating arrangements especially if you have more than one child. Consider renting a minivan if you don’t have one since it’s more spacious.
  • Quarrelling among siblings are also natural so be ready for it. In fact, you can play a little game out of it. The rule of the game? They get little treats if they don’t quarrel for a specific amount of time (you decide).
  • Stopovers are essential. In case you forgot to bring something on your trip, you can probably get it from stores along the road. Plus, quick activities and games outside the car will also help prevent your kids from getting bored. And what about grabbing something to eat at your favorite fast food or restaurant?
  • Don’t let them play with all the toys you brought in one go or else; they’ll quickly get bored. Variation is the key. Say, let them watch their favorite show for an hour or two. After that, let them be creative with their drawing boards. It’s entirely up to you but don’t forget — variation.
  • Let them sleep when they feel like doing so especially babies. Stick to their eating and sleeping routines as much as possible.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to talk to them. It will help a lot in keeping them busy during your travel. It’s also a good time for you to bond with your kids and get to know them better.