Parents who travel with younger children in car for longer journeys soon realise that you have to do quite a lot to keep them occupied and entertained.
A ratty disinterested child can quickly sour the mood of the whole car and turn your driving adventure into a nightmare.
Silly games are one of the best and most simple aids… the sillier the better.
Use whatever is to hand going out of the window, a game of reverse “I Spy”… where the kids are rewarded for “finding” silly things like a cow wearing a straw sun-hats.
They may spot the cow and the straw hat separately of course, and you can add high heeled shoes, a pink skirt, striped pants, a sun umbrella, a jet ski, or whatever weird and wonderful combinations you or your kids can think of.
Todays silly game is ” Oops we’ve left the kids behind in another country!” It’s a game that doesn’t last long but it does raise a laugh.
We are crossing from Portugal to Spain by bridge over the Minho River, and somewhere in the centre of the river is the actual border between the two countries.
This is of course the European Union so there are no customs posts, just a sign at the beginning of the bridge to tell you that you’ve entered Spain (or Portugal if you are travelling in the other direction).
Yes, I know that the “Espagnha” is crossed out on the sign and ” Galiza” is spray painted underneath, that’s because this, the Galician region of Spain is partly self governed but many aspire to complete autonomy.
This is a small and very literal sign of their unwillingness to call their region “Spain” and all the local signs on the various Portuguese routes into Galicia that we saw have been marked in a similar manner.
So, we use one of Little Mr’s toy cars and a crack in the pavement before the car ride to illustrate the imaginary line in the centre of the river that is the border.
We show him that if we were to stop the car in the very centre of the bridge then in theory, Mama and Papa in the front seats would be in Spain, but that the kids in the back seat would still be in Portugal.
Kiwi Daughter “gets it” right away, Little Mr. is still a tad unsure…
So, we are in the car a short time after the demo with the toys, and approaching the bridge that will take us to Spain.
Himself and I start with ” Hey we are in Portugal, we are in Portugal, …but look at the sign, we are almost in Spain!”, (we go over the idea of where the “border” is, one more time for Little Mr’s benefit) .. we intensify the pattern as we progress over the bridge, until the point when we are in the middle, then we change to an alarmed “Oh Oh, My Children, where are they? I am in Spain and I have left them behind in Portugal!”
This is followed by a relieved, ” Oh Thank Goodness they have caught up, they are now in Spain with us too, Hey we are all in Spain!!!” …. By now Kiwi Daughter is laughing because she got it and Little Mr is laughing because Kiwi Daughter and everyone else is.
So, this is the Kiwidutch Family ” We’ve Left the Kids behind in another Country” Game… of course if you can count the actual nano second moment that it happened then good luck to you… and I can only hope to have inspired you to invent equally silly games for car travel.
We are in Portugal, We are in Portugal….
We are in still in Portugal, We are still in Portugal….
We are getting closer, very close now…
Mama and Papa are in Spain, but AGGGGHHHH the kids are still in Portugal!!! (cue the giggles…)