Best In-Car Entertainment for Kids
We all know that long journeys with the kids in the car can quickly descend into bored-juveniles chaos, so here are our top tips to help the kilometres pass a little more smoothly…
- In-car DVD players
Can be bought for around €100 or so, and they have straps allowing for mounting on the supports of front headrests. Plug in some headphones and your little ones can then enjoy a couple of hours of Pixar’s latest and greatest flick, or Peppa Pig, or whatever loud, noisy, obnoxious programme it is that they’re into these days, while you quietly get on with the job of driving up front. However, these can be a little bulky, you need to take DVDs (or Blu-rays) with you in cases and they usually need a power socket to power them – so you need either a 12-volt plug or USB port in the back of your family motor.
Like the in-car DVD players, only less bulky, capable of running on their own batteries for longer periods of time and also coming with the ability to support gaming apps that will mean the sprogs won’t be left at a loose end when they’ve got bored of the silent-movie majesty of Wall-E’s first act. Probably your best bet for sanity on a long journey – just don’t let the kids sync the tablet up to the car’s Bluetooth, otherwise you’ll be listening to crazy sound effects being repeated over and over and over again for the entire trip.
If you’ve not got a (many) tablet(s) and you don’t fancy splashing out hundreds of Euro keeping all the offspring happy, then simply sling your smartphone back there and hope for the best. It’s like a tablet in miniature, so you can still get gaming apps on it and – if you need to – stream films/TV from it. Try and plug the phone into a USB socket, though, unless you want to end up at your destination with about 8% battery charge left.
- Car-friendly colouring kits
Younger kids love colouring in and drawing, but an indelible Sharpie scrawled all over your cream leather seats is going to make you weep like a baby. Luckily, there are water-based colouring pens and even some ‘magic’ drawing sets that use pens filled with nothing more than water to reveal images. Look up Crayola Washable Markers or Galt Toys Water Magic and thank us later…
- Other car-friendly physical toys
Look, we all appreciate not everyone wants their kids to be addicted to touchscreens and visual media, so why not crack out the Fuzzy Felt (remember that one, mums and dads?!) or the Lego? Neither of these are going to make a terrific mess in the back of your wagon, although you might be picking the smallest, ‘one-dot’ Lego bricks out of your floor mats for the next four weeks as payment for the blessed silence of pure, construction-based concentration from the back of the car on a long holiday trip.
- In-car family games
Yes, we’re going here. I Spy. Red Cars v Blue Cars (or probably White v Silver, these days, trends have changed). The List Game. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. They’re all totally free, require a bit of imagination on the part of the children, and they should just about last long enough to get at least 50 per cent of a trip to the furthest reaches of our fair country covered before all holy hell breaks loose.