What's more annoying than trying to focus on the road and drive while kids whine at you in the backseat? Change your car attitude around with some of our top tips and perfect products to entertain your little ones in the car.
1. Place a box in the middle seat if you can. It's a great place to keep some car toys without letting them takeover your car and keeps them accessible for the children. We use this Cabin Crew Organiser from Supercheap Auto.
2. If it's possible keep your child's waterbottle within reach as well. No one likes to be dehydrated and this can often be such a quick and easy solution.
3. Verbal games. If you're up for it and so is your little ones verbal games in the car can be super fun. My son and I enjoy saying words and counting syllables, rhyming games, and basic addition. Of course adjust depending on your child's age and development.
For the Big Kids
I Spy From The Car
This I Spy Game is designed in Australia with thought and care. It is a tin with pictures inside and magnetic pieces that match up. Being Australian all the signage and objects you're looking for are local and relevant.
All pieces can be placed back inside the tin so they won't get lost between games, being magnetic there is no balancing act while playing. My tip is to start with all the pieces on the board/tin and remove them as you find them and pop them in a cup (or the cupholder if you car has an accessible one can work well).
Younger children can also enjoy matching the magnets if I spy is a bit difficult.
Magnatab boards come in a free draw option, numbers and letters (upper and lower case) so your child can work on whatever skill they're showing an interest in at the moment.
They work with magnetic stylus as the pen and the individual beads pop to the surface. You can also push them all down with your finger which is a lovely tactile experience. You can also use this in verbal games for instance the parent could call out letters or number to push down, or even simple math problems and they have to trace the answer.
Our Fabric Quiet Activity Books are great for the car! With lots of small pieces to manipulate it keeps small hands busy and engaged on long car trips. It comes in a range of themes and is amazing for building strong little hand muscles. They also feature pages to practice everyday skills like buttons and shoe laces. These zip up closed when finished to avoid losing and small parts.
Squigz are alot of fun for construction by joining them together or for use on a flat surface such as a window, tin or tray. They are perfect for developing their fine motor skills and make a satisfying 'pop' when they are pulled apart.
For the Littles
The Mini Spinny is mesmerising to watch as the little cogs spin down the centre rod. It's a high-quality, thoughtfully designed toy from Fat Brain Toys. It's chunky enough to be safe for young kids, durable and safe to mouth. The bright colours and fun shapes of the Mini Spinny capture little ones attentions and make for more peaceful car trips.
The award-winning Skwish is a world-renowned wooden rattle and teething toy. It's name comes from its fantastic design you can "skwish" it and because of the elastic design it returns to its original shape! It comes in four colours and features beads that slide and rattle. It's great for strengthening little hands and are also alot of fun paired with a Mini Playsilk to manipulate out.
A shape sorter where you can't loose the shapes? Brilliant! A thoughtfully designed, food-grade silicone car and pram toy? The Oombee Cube has got you covered! Little hands are immediately drawn to the vibrant, textured, rubbery shapes. They are tethered with a small rope and they can pull them out or squish them in. It's perfect for tactile shape exploration on the go.
Dimpls for Everyone!
The Dimpl range from Fat Brain has the perfect toy for every age group! They're all thoughtfully designed, high-quality and addictively tactile to play with.
Bubs will love the original Dimpl, it's got a variety of sizes to explore the force required to push each one. A great one for the car and waiting rooms as well!
Toddlers will love the Dimpl Duo with it's two sides that are perfect for learning. One side has colours to identify and the other size shapes. Another great one for verbal car games where the parent can call out a colour or shape and the child can poke the right one.
Dimpl Digits is perfect for pre-schoolers. It is a flower shape with numbers on one side and corresponding braille on the other side. Perfect for children learning braille or exposure to the concept of blind people and how they communicate. This is another toy that lends itself to verbal games in the car - calling out the number, saying 1 less or more than a number, or simple math equations depending on your child level.
Dimple Pops and the Dimple Pops Deluxe are large boards with lots of Dimpls to pop. This is the ultimate sensory Dimpl experience! You can race, use a timer, call out an amount or colour to pop. This one is fun for all ages. The hard plastic board makes it easy to hold and use in the car.
Hopefully this blog can help your next car trip be more fun and easy going for everyone! Remember struggling in the car is normal and is usually just a phase but there are plenty of ways to make is a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved!
Written by Jenna Milburn.