Travelling with Kids

For some unknown reason I hear the Katie Perry song Fireworks play in my head when we start planning a trip. Memories of lines like: “You’re on my side of the line!” and “You’re touching me!” or “Mommy, he doesn’t want to keep quiet and I cannot concentrate!” What she is concentrating on, nobody knows!

We’ve tried building a wall between them with a suitcase so that none of the above can happen. This just results in them complaining that they cannot see each other and they want to play. So now what??

We chose not to install a dvd player with screens in the car because we want them to experience the journey. It’s my fault then, you say!  I don’t judge parents who have opted for it because I’ve also come close.

What we do is the following:

  • Each kid fills a plastic box with items to keep them busy in the car. It generally contains:
    • Books to read
    • Activity books
    • Stickers
    • A pair of scissors
    • Coloured paper
    • Colouring book and crayons
    • Different pens and pencils
    • My model book for the little lady
    • Animal-, car-, fish cards (the ones where you call out a characteristic and the one with the biggest, fastest etc. item gets both cards). This only works if they can read.
    • Loom bands (phase is wearing off slightly)
    • Play dolls like Barbie or an action figurine
    • A ball for playing when you’re at your destination or at a pit stop
    • The lid of the toy box doubles as a table top in the car.

Their activity boxes generally keep them busy for most of the trip! We do a similar, scaled down version of the activity box in the format of an activity bag for flights.


  • Pack a small lunch box with snacks and a juice. (Makes a huge mess but it’s OK!!) Helps to stop them from wining that they are thirsty or hungry!


  • When they get bored from doing their own thing, we play family games and the whole family partakes. Our favourites are:
    • Listing words that rhyme: Someone starts and the others must find a word that rhymes with the word that the first one chose. Once all of the words have been exhausted, it’s the next one’s turn to start the game.
    • Opposites: First person mentions a word and the first one to get the opposite of the word may choose the next word. This can also be played with synonyms.
    • Looking for pictures in the clouds: Every family member, but the driver of course, has a go at identifying something in the clouds and then try to show the others where it is.
    • We choose an object and then we count how many of that object we can see next to the road. The one who spots the most wins. We’re getting very good at counting windmills through the Karoo!
    • Our all-time favourite is still the golden oldie, I spy with my little eye!

I didn’t think I would ever say it, but I love traveling with my kids. It is such a good bonding experience. We have laughed until our bellies ache and travelled through Lesotho with princess stickers stuck to the passenger window. But mostly they have taught me to enjoy the small things in life like a windmill or a cow standing next to the road!

Now if they can just learn how to pack their own suitcases!!!


Safe travels!





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