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How To Keep Toddlers Entertained On Long Car Journeys Without Technology

Long car journeys (or even short journeys) with a toddler can be extremely stressful if they are not happy. It can seem tempting to just hand over the iPad or phone to keep them quiet while on the road. But there are lots of other ways to keep your little one happy in the car and make that journey a smooth one.

We travel up and down to Cork a lot, so have come up with quite a few ways to keep my 20 month old happy on our 3 hour trip. As I only passed my test a few months ago, my husband had always done all the driving, while I was in charge of toddler entertainment. Since passing my driving test, I’ve now been added as a named driver on our family car and we now have the car entertainment tricks down to a tee (so there’s no worry of my toddler losing the plot halfway through the journey), I can finally drive myself and go visit my family in Cork without relying on my husband to get us there. SuperValu Insurance offer lots of benefits for listing your other half as a named driver (including up to 25% off!). Check out the the full list of benefits here and check out the 8 entertainment tips for your toddler in the car below. 

  1. Magnetic Drawing Board - Mess free, handy to grab and very easy for them to use. This simple toy buys lots of time and keeps toddlers engrossed for ages. (Tip: Make sure to buy one with the pen attached… we all know how toddlers like to throw around smaller items)
  2. Books - Everytime we go on a long car journey, we give Daisy a new book she hasn’t seen before. She loves the touch and feel books and they certainly keep her entertained for longer.
  3. Old Wallet Filled With Cards - Although slightly annoying to have to pick up afterwards, this one could buy us 40 mins of quiet time. I got an old wallet of mine, popped in old bank cards, gifts cards and also picked up lots of spare store cards. She spends ages battling to get each card out of its slot, then examines it, throws it away and moves onto the next one.
  4. Water Wow - You would be mad to allow markers, pencils or crayons in the car. Marker would be all over her hands, face, shoes etc. (Unfortunately we learned this the hard way!). Pencil could be used as a weapon and for some reason toddlers always seem to think crayons are food. So water wow is the perfect solution. It comes with a small brush you put water into and they can use this to colour in the pages on their colouring book.
    The water brings up different colours on their magical pages and keeps everything mess free. The other good thing is, it then just dries out so you can re use it as many times as you like.
  5. Snacks - A big supply of healthy tasty snacks is a travel essential. I pop a mix of different types of snacks (berries, apple slices, some SuperValu mini rice cakes and some Heavenly happy halo bites) into a non spill snack holder. It takes her a while to get each one out and she loves having a mix of different things so she doesn’t get bored.
  6. Audio CD - I have picked up lots of audio CDs of kids stories from weekend newspapers or on Amazon. We pop on kids stories like Aladdin, Three Little Pigs or Dr Seuss for Daisy to listen to. Although not really what you want to be listening to on a long journey, it’s certainly beats listening to a screaming toddler.
  7. Pack of Playing Cards - Similar to the wallet filled with cards, this is another one that can keep her entertained for ages. I picked up a pack of playing cards in SuperValu for 99c and hand her the pack during the journey. She takes them out in small amounts and examines them all until she reaches the end.
  8. Leave at Naptime - The very best way you can keep your toddler happy during a long car journey, is to leave exactly at naptime. No matter where we are traveling to, we always leave at 12pm so that the first 1.5-2 hours of our journey she will be fast asleep, which means we only ever need 1 or 2 of the above suggestions to make it to the end of our journey with no tears and no iPad!

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