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10 great ways to entertain your child on a journey

family on a road trip in a car

With lockdown restrictions easing and the summer holidays upon us, families may soon be on the move.

Whether you’re planning a camping trip by car, a city break by train or heading to the airport for a beach holiday, keeping children occupied on a long journey can be tricky.

Fortunately, there are loads of easy ways to entertain them – both online and off. Here are 10 of our favourites.

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Travel Bingo Ultimate Adventure

An app version of the age-old I-Spy game. The aim is to spot as many objects outside the car as possible, and then shout Bingo! It’s aimed at an American audience, so you might want to substitute ‘football pitch’ for ‘baseball field’, for instance. It’s free to download, but in-app purchases are available to add extra objects.

What you need: a phone or tablet. Only available on iOS. A similar app is available on Android.

Great for: Car, train


Hopscotch – Programming for kids

This free app allows your children to learn the basics of programming by making a cupcake dance or animals jump! They can code and create their own games and publish them for friends and family to play. In-app purchases are available to open up Premium tools.

What you need: a phone or tablet. Only available on iOS. A similar app is available on Android.

Great for: Car, train, plane


Heads Up!

From miming to accents, to singing, Heads Up! asks players to guess the word on the card that’s on their head from the other players’ clues before the timer runs out. A fun, quick-paced game to keep spirits up on those long journeys! Once again, it’s free to download but with in-app purchases.

What you need: at least two devices. Available on iOS and Android.

Great for: Car, train


Duolingo

This excellent educational languages app is perfect for brushing up on a few phrases before going abroad. Learning a language on Duolingo is fun and addictive: you earn points for correct answers, and can work your way through the levels and activities. Their lessons are short and fun, and suited to all ages. Duolingo ABC is also great for younger children as a fun, hands-on way for them to learn to read. Free, with – you guessed it – in-app purchases available.

What you need: a phone, tablet or computer. Available on iOS and Android and available online. Internet connection or 4G required.

Great for: Car, train


Draw it

Draw it is a fast-paced drawing game where you compete against others and the clock to climb to first place by sketching what you see. The more you play, the more coins you earn to spend on unlocking new words. In-app purchases are available.

What you need: a phone or tablet. Available on iOS and Android.

Great for: Car, train, plane


Pocket City

This brilliant city-building game is a rarity these days: it’s available for a one-off fee of £2.99 and has no in-app purchases at all. The goal is to grow your city by placing houses, shops and factories while making sure that your virtual residents have plenty of entertainment, transport and a nice environment. It’s simple and addictive and doesn’t even need an internet connection.

What you need: a phone or tablet. Available on iOS and Android.

Great for: Car, train, plane


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Mad Libs

“Fill in the blanks and be the funniest person!” Mad Libs are stories with words removed and replaced by blank spaces. One player acts as the “reader” and asks the other players, who haven’t seen the story, to fill in the blanks with adjectives, nouns, exclamations and more, making the game educational as well as fun. These words are inserted into the blanks and then the story is read aloud to hilarious results.

What you need: one of the Mad Lib books and a pen.

Great for: Train, plane


20 questions

A classic game that requires no tech to play! One player thinks of a person or thing, while the others have 20 questions to guess who or what it is.

What you need: just your imagination!

Great for: Car, train, plane


Uno

The aim of the game is to be rid of your seven cards before any of the other players. You can only put a card down if it corresponds with either the colour, number or symbol that is already on the pile. When you have one card left, shout Uno!

What you need: a pack of Uno cards and a minimum of three players.

Great for: Train


Colouring books

There are some great colouring books out there to let your child express their creativity. For younger children, the Animal Numbers colouring book has proven very popular. For older children, there are more intricate designs, such as the Enchanted Forest colouring book from Johanna Basford.

What you need: a colouring book of choice, and colouring pencils and/or pens.

Great for: Train, plane

Main image: monkeybusiness/stock.adobe.com


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Two minute tech check: in-app purchases