Many holidaymakers are heading out this week to go on vacation.
But the chaos in Dover left British holidaymakers waiting up to 30am to board ferries yesterday, on one of the busiest summer holidays in nearly a decade.
According to reports, the delays are the result of some French border control officials not arriving on time yesterday, causing massive delays for families and truck drivers trying to make the crossing to Europe.
The port yesterday declared a ‘critical incident’ due to the delays and urged tourists to stay away, amid concerns it could be worse today as it needs to clear the backlog.
However, many are still expected to attempt their journey, meaning many people, a large proportion of whom will be traveling with their children, could be trapped in their vehicles for hours on end.
Here, FEMAIL reveals 10 of the best ways to entertain yourself and your kids while stuck in your car for hours on end.
Getting to your holiday destination can get tricky at the best of times, but with major delays expected in Dover today, tempers can flare while you’re stuck in the car (stock photo)
1. Bring art supplies for both kids and adults
Many children enjoy being creative, and if your vehicle is stationary, breaking out in some artistic activities can keep the little ones occupied for quite some time.
Some of the easiest (and neatest) items to include in your activity packs are crayons, paper, crayons, and stickers.
Meanwhile, it’s best to avoid particularly messy options, especially glitter and felt-tip pens.
And if the drawing supplies keep the kids quiet, you can even color yourself in a bit.
Coloring books for adults are thought to relax the mind and provide a meditation-like experience as the brain focuses on the activity at hand.
So not only will this kill time, it can also help calm frayed nerves and calm some of the stress of traveling chaos.
2. Listen to audiobooks
For many children, listening to beloved stories is not only entertaining, but also relaxing.
To take the pressure off parents (who may feel too carsick to read anyway), purchasing audiobooks may be the best option.
Listening to a captivating narrator read one of their favorite stories will not only entertain kids, but also take some of the stress out of their trip, hopefully calming any awkward moods.
Make sure there is something suitable for all relevant ages so that everyone can listen to something they will enjoy.
3. Use electronic devices for games and activities (on low volume)
While many parents like to watch their children’s screen time, sometimes a game on the iPad is the best option.
There are many games that will keep children entertained for hours, some purely recreational, but also many with an educational element.
Although iPads can be connected to the car speaker, the volume must be turned down or turned off to optimize the travel experience for all passengers.
Keep in mind that arguments can arise over who has the device, and make sure it’s everyone’s turn to play.
4. The Silence Game
When all else fails and everyone is at the end of their line, a classic car venture beloved by many stressed-out parents is the silence game.
This task turns being quiet into a competition: no gear or equipment is required, just challenge everyone in the vehicle to stop talking for as long as possible.
The winner is the last person to break the silence.
Making sure you have small toys or maybe candy for prizes gives players an incentive to conquer – and stay still for as long as possible.
5. Sit back with a movie
Another tried and true favorite when it comes to entertaining young minds is movies.
While some cars are equipped with small screens for your viewing pleasure, those that do not have them can purchase a portable DVD player.
Alternatively, phones, iPads and other electronic devices with a screen may be suitable.
With an average playtime of over an hour, sticking to something the kids love to watch can give parents a short reprieve during delays.
6. Writing a Vacation Diary
If you have paper and pencils to hand, being stuck in traffic can be the perfect time to get everyone on their way to capturing their vacation.
Keeping track of their travels will be fun for youngsters, and getting started by writing about the trip and making sketches can be a great distraction.
You could try giving them questions and directions to fill out so they have some clues to experiment with.
For example, they can write about what they packed during the trip, what they know about where you are going, and some of the things they are looking forward to.
7. The Classic Sing-along
For a slightly grittier activity, blast some favorite family songs off the radio and get everyone involved.
If you have playlists, or maybe albums of their favorite movies, you might be able to avoid spending hours listening to current favorites.
Singing can do more than just while away the hours — it can reduce stress and may even release feel-good endorphins.
With nerves probably frayed and tempers at an all-time high after uncomfortable hours in a hot car, anything that can cheer anyone up is worth a try.
8. Try Some Guided Meditation
If everyone in the car is starting to get moody and lacking in patience, a mindfulness practice can help.
While there is some evidence that meditation can have a host of positive effects, it’s worth noting that some researchers suggest that a small number of people may experience some negative effects, including anxiety.
However, these effects are most likely to be felt by people undergoing intense experiences on retreats.
Listening to guided meditations designed especially for children (which can be found online) can help anyone focus and take their mind off arguments or grumbling.
It could also create a more peaceful atmosphere in the vehicle, which in turn will promote tranquility.
9. Play board games for travel
A fun car activity for older kids and adults is playing travel board games while standing still.
Lost favorites, including chess and scrabble, come in miniature versions suitable for playing on the go.
Games that can cause queues (like Monopoly, for example) are perhaps best avoided during long delays.
While they are not suitable for very small children as they are not age appropriate and contain small parts, others can break the monotony of long delays with a good board game.
10. Have a snack
If all else really fails and you hit a crisis point, you can try distracting everyone in the car with something tasty to eat or drink.
You can take a range of healthy (and not-so-healthy) treats on the go, which can serve as a distraction when all else fails.
Try to make sure there is something that everyone enjoys, and make sure you have enough of everything so that there is no arguing about enjoying the treats.
Favorites include cereal bars, oatcakes, and grapes. You can also wrap candy (individually wrapped may be best, to avoid creating a sticky mess).
After a treat and a little sweet boost, it’s quite possible that the mood has recovered enough to return to one of the other suggested activities.