Travelling in a car with young children can be a challenge. The key is to be prepared and creative in the ways you entertain them. Plan stops to give both the adults and children a short break.

Dress in comfortable clothes for travelling, regardless of where they are going. The children can always get changed when the destination is reached or even at the last stop, if required.

Make sure you are prepared. Remember to organise books, a few toys, a selection of CDs and of course, plenty of food and drinks to try and make the journey as pleasant as possible. DVD player, DS, ipads or the like can be used, but in the car is a great place to indulge in some old fashion travel games.

Here are some of ideas that will help wile away the hours while travelling-

*Listen to music on CDs. Vary what you are listening to- try some kid’s tunes, with both action songs and just listening music. Don’t be afraid to listen to a few cds with adult music. Children often love these too. Encourage children to join in with the singing. If appropriate and safe, open the window and let them sing into the wind. They will love the way their voice changes.

* Listen to short stories on CD. If available, read books along with the stories. Most children will be happy just listening to them though.

*Read books. Make sure you allow your children to bring along a couple of their favourites.

* Draw. Provide a simple exercise book and markers or even use a magnetic drawing board, like the Magna Doodle..

*Eat food. Give each child had their own special container full of goodies. It’s a good idea to have several small containers, so that snacks can be spaced out. This also ensures that the child’s entire range of snacks is not dropped all at once. Make sure it something that can be closed if they don’t eat it all.

*Talk about school, kinder, life, the weather and so on. Keep an eye out on what’s happening outside- for example, if there is rain and sun around. Talk about what you might see… a rainbow. If you have several children and a few are asleep, perhaps use the time for some one on one chatting.

* Enjoy the silence and just take in the changing surroundings.

* Play travel games. Traditional and new.

Some of the travel games that could be played are;

– What’s in the truck? If travelling on a highway or freeway, there will be lots of trucks. Guess what each would be carrying. Some you may be able to see, some you may need to guess or imagine.

– I Spy! The age old favourite car travelling game! I spy with my little eye something beginning with…

– What am I thinking of? Give hints and answer some questions in order to work out what the person is talking about. It should be about something that is nearby or will be driven past.

– Spot the Tram. Always a good one when going through a city like Melbourne. Variations- Spot the taxi, aeroplane, boat and so on. The topic depends on where you are.

– Puppets. The ‘puppet’ stuffed toy over the seat is always a good distraction for the very young. Even if it is only for a few moments. It might just break a possible crying cycle!

If travelling a long way by car with young children, preparation and variety are important. Be prepared and organise books, music, snacks and drinks to help ensure it’s a pleasant trip. Young children prefer ‘activities’ to be varied. Some upbeat, some more relaxed. Try a few to find out what works best.

How will you help your children wile away the hours on your next trip?