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Keeping kids entertained while you’re driving
When you’re travelling in a campervan with kids, the journey is just as important as the destination. It’s important to have some tricks up your sleeve that are guaranteed to keep them happily entertained. That way, you’ll avoid those restless “are we there yet?” moments while you’re on the road!
You’re all packed up and ready to go – but before you drive off, here are a few handy tools to have on hand to help make the journey even more enjoyable.
Listen to audiobooks
A New Zealand road trip offers the perfect opportunity to listen to an audiobook or two. There are plenty available that suit adults and young kids. Some libraries even offer audiobooks for hire, making this a cheap and cheerful way to make those long stretches of road more enjoyable.
You’ll first need to download an audiobook app onto your phone, such as Audible or Audiobooks NZ. There are plenty of audiobooks to suit adults and young kids, like the Harry Potter series, The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson, Roald Dahl’s Matilda, or The Jungle Book.
Before you pile into your campervan on your exciting New Zealand road trip, ask everyone to choose a favourite tune or two and print out the lyrics for each one. Set them all up in a playlist, and voilà – backseat karaoke fun for the whole family. As an added bonus, singing is a great way for very young children to develop their literacy skills. Once you get started, it’s awesome fun – even if you can’t sing well!
Games like road trip bingo
Here’s a great activity that’s guaranteed to occupy even the most fidgety youngsters as you explore New Zealand. Road trip bingo keeps the kids distracted as they try to be the first to find all the items on their bingo list.
Before you set off, print a list of items for the kids to find at any point on your trip. Research your destination beforehand, so you have a list that means your children will always be finding new things. It will keep the kids eagle-eyed and excited right up until the moment you reach home again. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
- A car with a ‘Z’ in the numberplate
- Lambs (if it’s spring)
- An ice-cream sign (with a promise of stopping for one!)
- A ‘for sale’ sign outside a house
- A police car
Or, to make it even easier, here’s a campervan trip bingo list we prepared earlier!
Keep kids close in your campervan
When it comes to entertaining kids in a camper, distraction is often the key to success! One of the ways you can keep your kids distracted and entertained as you explore New Zealand by campervan is by seating them in the passenger seats near the front of the camper. Be sure to choose a campervan hire that allows this.
Sitting up front means kids have a better chance to see the view. Plus, it keeps them nice and close to you as you travel. They’ll be in the perfect spot for chatting about what you see on the road.
Note: Much like in the car, children who are in booster seats are not allowed to ride in the front passenger seats of the campervan for safety reasons.
Keeping kids entertained while you’re parked up
Keeping the kids entertained when you’re outside and able to enjoy new and exciting activities is pretty easy. But there will also be times when the weather isn’t ideal, or in the evenings before bedtime, when you’ll be hunkering down indoors together. That’s when it’s helpful to have a few indoor distractions up your sleeve to keep tired, bored, or restless children entertained. Here are a few tried-and-true ideas to keep the kids occupied during ‘inside’ times:
Read a real book
Sure, tablets and e-book readers are a great option when travelling by campervan, but there’s nothing like picking up a proper book full of captivating illustrations and storylines.
It can be a good idea to treat your child to a wee present of a new book before you leave. That way, they’ll be excited to get stuck into reading something new. It could be an easy-to-read chapter book, or perhaps something that relates to the destination you’re travelling to that you can read together. What better way to learn more about New Zealand than to read about it as you explore!
Make a dedicated space for toys
Everyone needs a bit of their own space while out on a camper road trip, including your wee ones. It can be a good idea to make a dedicated space such as a cupboard or a storage bin under the bed within the camper so that your kids can keep their toys close at hand. Provide them with a space for playing too. This could be on the kitchen table or one of the beds. This way, they'll be able to entertain themselves. For maximum space, choose one of our larger Britz campervans such as:
- Britz 6-berth Frontier. The Britz 6-berth Frontier is a lovely big campervan offers a range of flexible layout options with ample room for families of up to six
- The Britz 4-berth Explorer. The Britz 4-berth Explorer is a home on wheels and the ultimate freedom machine, with plenty of room for a family of four
- The Britz 4-berth Discovery. The Britz 4-berth Discovery comes ith a dinette that converts to a double bed and a drop-down double bed above it. This space saving camper will be super popular for a family of four
- The Britz 4-berth Voyager. The Britz 4-berth Voyager is great for small families on a budget
Putting a movie on a laptop or tablet can be a fantastic way to keep everyone entertained for a few hours while you’re parked up at a campsite. This is an especially good idea to help the kids wind down before bedtime or if it’s a bit drizzly outside.
If you manage to land on a movie that everyone can watch, this can be a great chance for some family bonding as well. As we all know, popcorn is essential for a movie. Your Britz camper may come with a microwave, otherwise, you can cook popcorn on the stove or buy it premade.
Our top recommendations for a family movie night include:
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. Have chocolate on hand for this one!
- Toy Story. Start with the first one and make your way through the sequels
- Mary Poppins. An oldie, but a goodie
- Elf. A great movie for the holiday season
- The Lego Movie. Guaranteed to make the grown-ups giggle!
Arts and crafts
Kids love to create, so bringing along some arts and crafts supplies on your family campervan holiday can make for hours of entertainment if you’re stuck inside.
To avoid making a massive mess (not good for the stress levels!), consider adding options like colouring books and pencils to your list of campervan supplies for kids, rather than paint and glitter.
Tips for avoiding motion sickness
“Mum… I feel sick!” is not what any parent wants to hear just as you head off on your New Zealand road trip! It’s not fun for anyone on board and can delay travel as you may need to stop more regularly than anticipated.
Although it’s sometimes unavoidable, there are ways you can help to minimise your children getting carsick. Here are a few helpful tips for anyone on board who suffers from motion sickness:
- Avoid reading (including phones) or looking down too much. Suggest they try looking out the window instead
- Keep a window open
- Avoid eating a heavy meal before travel
- A travel sickness tablet suitable for children, or a ginger-based drink can help keep feelings of motion sickness at bay
- Sit in the front passenger seat (if possible)
- Make regular stops
Ways to prevent your kids from getting restless
We’ve explored some helpful ideas for entertaining kids on your campervan road trip. Here are a few other measures you can take to help prevent the youngest travellers from getting restless:
- Avoid sugary drinks or treats before and during travel
- Plan regular, kid-friendly stops
- Create a simple map that shows kids where you’ll be stopping and when
- Set kids up with a pillow, favourite blanket and toy to help them doze off
Ready to hit the road with the whole family?
From bingo and karaoke to puzzles and crafts, there are loads of easy ways to help keep everyone in the family – parents included! That way everybody wil be entertained and relaxed on your family campervan holiday. With a bit of extra planning and adding a few extra campervan supplies for the kids to your family camping checklist, your holiday is sure to be more relaxed, memorable, and fun!