Top Tips to Keep Kids Busy whilst travelling
From road trips and plane rides to weddings and christenings, Spring marks the start of family calendars filling up with travel plans and other events. But with a busy schedule comes bringing kids along to places they might not find so much fun!
With this in mind and a 97% increase in interest for the term ‘how to keep kids busy’¹, our team of parenting experts share six ways parents can keep their youngsters entertained while travelling or attending family events this Spring:
1. Take a break while travelling
Whether you’re travelling abroad or in the car heading to a family wedding, these environments can often lead to children becoming bored. To combat this, we recommend taking regular breaks and stretching off, whether stopping at a service station, walking up and down the aisle of a plane, or moving carriages when on a train.
If you’re on a long journey with children, I’d recommend taking a break every two hours for around 15 minutes. This is particularly helpful when in a car, as it is not only important to help the driver refocus, but it’s important as kids who are left to become frustrated with boredom in the back of a car could distract the driver, which could be quite dangerous!
However, this rule applies to other means of transport too. For example, if you’re on a ferry and you stay sat down in one area for too long, this could intensify any irritation, so moving around and exploring when you can, and when it’s safe to do, is essential.
2. Pack snacks and food
Most children will have routine snack and meal times, so it’s essential to stick to these regular habits.
Children enjoy structure and routine, and if this is disrupted in any way, it could impact their mood and ability to regulate their feelings. Due to this, it could cause them to become aggravated, making a journey or a long day event challenging for the child and caregiver. We suggest packing the relevant meals you’ll need in a rucksack, but also a range of ’treat bags’ full of snacks that are handed out to the children when you reach certain milestones in the day. Whether you’re on a plane, train, or ferry, this is a great way to break out the treats to keep a kid's morale high.
3. Keep kids entertained with our Busy Bags!
We recommend always having a curated collection of activities on hand to keep kids engaged and happy - whether this is to curb the dreaded boredom complaints at a family wedding, breaking up a long plane journey, or you’re just heading to a restaurant for a few hours.
We’re so excited to have recently launched our range of Busy Bags which would work perfectly for these kinds of events! If children don’t have small activities available to them, they could become irritated as they’re not being mentally stimulated. If this isn’t addressed, it could lead to a strained mood between caregiver and child.
Our new Busy Bags are the perfect companion for journeys long or short, trips out, or family events like weddings. The bags come in various themes and for varying age groups and are packed full of engaging activities for children, including:
- Arts and crafts
- Colouring in books and pencils
- Fidget toys
- Small games
The bags also give children a sense of responsibility, as it’s something for them to look after when out and about - this is another way to keep them boredom-free.
4. Get crafty
Kelly Reeveley, owner of Creative Little Crafters, a children’s craft club, shares a unique crafting activity to do with children on long journeys or at family events: “Getting the kids involved in planning and making an activity is a great way to keep them interested while actually on the journey, as they will feel part of the process. Why not put a crafty spin on the well-loved game of how many animals or other items you can see by making some of their own ‘binoculars’ to use.
“They can help you gather the supplies (think toilet roll tubes, ribbon for a strap, stickers, tape or glue dots- less messy than glue!) and take a tray in the train, car, plane, or ferry to make them on! They can also design their own record sheets beforehand.”
5. Download entertainment
At The Kid Collective, we believe it’s important that children regularly play and engage in non-tech activities. However, on long journeys or in situations that a child might find particularly ‘boring’, we think downloading entertainment, such as a short film on an iPad, or listening to an audio player such as Yoto, does have value as an alternative way to keep children occupied.
If downloading a film or TV show to watch, we’d suggest picking something you know they'll enjoy.
6. Go back to basics
We recommend always having mini activities on hand to keep kids busy, but if all else fails, go back to basics! Depending on how old your child is, try playing eye spy or word association. For younger kids, put a song or theme tune on your phone or iPad from their favourite programme or film.
Similarly, giving them an old camera to play with and taking pictures of the key moments of the day would be a fun way to keep them amused.
Matt Buttery, CEO of Triple P UK and Ireland, adds: “You could even make a quiz ahead of the journey or day out, which can be both fun and educational. Long trips can also be a good moment to catch up with your child and what is going on with their friends and with school.”
Our founder Laura Davies continues: “I know all too well what it’s like trying to keep kids happy and occupied on long journeys or at family events that they might not be too interested in. It’s not fair for parents to expect that their children will be happy just sitting for hours on end without any form of entertainment. Our responsibility is to ensure they have toys and activities to engage with.
“We’re really excited to launch our range of Busy Bags, all with different themes for kids with different interests. As a parent myself, I think one of the best things about this new product is its minimal mess and noise. Alongside this, everything comes packed in a drawstring bag, so it's super easy to take on trips abroad or UK staycations and ensures nothing gets lost too! The bag of goodies is even perfect to play with on a rainy Spring day.”
To learn more about our new Busy Bags, please visit: https://www.thekidcollective.co.uk/busy-bags.html
Laura Davies is the founder of the The Kid Collective, the ultimate shopping destination for toys and brands that support learning through play. Everything is consciously selected with the benefits of play in mind, ensuring that each toy inspires growth in children, for today and tomorrow. When it comes to play, we know what matters.
Google Trends data for the search term ‘how to keep kids busy’ correct as of March 2023