Three games for in the car
Emily hit me!
Eating pieces of cake
Divide your journey into pieces of cake, for example 6 pieces of 100 kilometers each for a total distance of 600 kilometers. Take 6 sheets of cardboard and paint a circle on each sheet. On each of them you can highlight how many pieces have already been eaten and pass the appropriate cards to the children. This makes it easier for kindergarten kids and younger elementary school kids to understand how far they have traveled, and how far is still to go. Perhaps you might celebrate each piece of cake with a gummy bear, a cookie or a slice of mango.
Turn your (school)child into your navigator and keep giving route-specific tasks on small cards. For example, to tell you when the first road sign for the Gotthard Pass appears. Or to keep a lookout for Geneva Airport, the Würenlos highway service area with its "Fressbalken" diner, Lake Lucerne, a striking castle or the sea. That way you can actively involve your youngsters in the journey and give them a small sense of achievement again and again. If you like you can also link each discovery with a mini-surprise, such as a comic, a snack or an audio book.
Inventing stories – about other travelers
A way to prevent boredom in a traffic jam: Think up crazy stories about the people in the other cars – the more hair-raising the better. The serious-looking man in the gray Mercedes is in fact a secret agent. He absolutely must prevent the theft of some top secret data. No wonder he looks so nervous. And the family in the gray station wagon, who are quite clearly having an argument? The girl with curly hair sitting on the backseat is a princess in disguise, from a little-known country on the Mediterranean. She was going to be kidnapped and that's why she is currently hiding with a host family… Your children are sure to have lots more ideas.
Games for on the train
Mommyyyyy, are we nearly there yet?
Give your children a different task at each station: Who can see a man with a beard, a woman in a red pullover or a stroller? It also works between stations: Who can find a black horse? A garden pond? A silver bicycle? You can also prepare a map, on which your children can mark the people and objects that they have found. Tip: Don't turn it into a competition – it will quickly become overly competitive. Instead you should get your children to look for things together – and win together when they have found something.
Collect facts about the places on the way and turn them into a quiz at every station: Who founded Zurich: The Celts? The Romans? Zwingli? Or Felix and Regula? Which famous person comes from Geneva? What is the name of the specialty of Solothurn? What point of interest is to be found in Milan? Suggest four answers, maybe including something funny or crazy. And if you like you can tell them even more. For example, how we know that Zurich was founded by the Celts – and who the Celts were.
Stickers, coloring books, playing cards
Rail journeys are perfect for everything that you can do in a small space. Teach your children a new card game or surprise them with a coloring book or a sticker book. There are now some complex coloring books for older children, or elaborate sticker books in which your kids can make up, style and dress drawn figures. Other magazines combine comics, puzzles and stickers, for example from Lego.
Games for on the plane
I want to sleep some more
Where we're flying to
Tell your children stories about the country you are flying to, adapted to their age. What is there to eat there? Which famous people come from there? Which plants and animals are there? What do you absolutely have to see? Which are the most important milestones in its history? For a school-age child, you can get a book that is set in the country in question. Or you can get the child to browse through your travel guide.
Make flying the issue
Get a picture book or a non-fiction book on the subject of flying, for example from the series "How & Why". You can look at it together with your children and answer any questions they might have. Or read a novel to them, in which planes play an important role. Classics such as "The Valley of Adventure" by Enid Blyton, "The Flying Classroom” by Erich Kästner or as a picture book, “Lindbergh – The Tale of a Flying Mouse". There are also various audio books on the subject of flying.
Get the children moving
Another two hours before the flight leaves… Get the children moving before they get fidgety and stressful. While one of the parents looks after the luggage, the other does the staircase game: Will we manage to climb a total of 150 steps in 15 minutes? Or you walk exactly 555 paces – then the children can choose a dessert from the nearest café or kiosk. Another possibility is the stop-watch walk. Every five minutes a different child takes over the leadership role and guides the others wherever he or she likes.