Those dreaded words, “are we there yet?” are the source of nightmares for every parent. It is a phrase that is frequently heard at this time of year as families head off to different parts of the country for their Christmas break. It is a part of the journey that is hard to control even if you have intricately planned every aspect of your journey, from planning regular rest stops and ensuring that you have the right car insurance. Here are some great ways of keeping your children amused for hours on end on those long car journeys.

Games are a great way of doing this. You could, for example, play the ‘question game’. One person asks a question, for example, “Why are we playing this game?” The next person then has to respond with a question such as, “I don’t know, wasn’t it your idea?” This continues until someone answers with a statement.

Alternatively, you could play the ‘I went to the store’ game. This involves the first player starting the game by saying, “I went to the store, and I bought…” They then finish their sentence with something beginning with the letter ‘A’. The next person repeats what the previous player said, adding something that starts with the letter ‘B’ and so on.

Another fun game is the ‘name game’. This simply involves coming up with the name of a celebrity, literary figure, cartoon character or other relevant ‘name’ that would be well known to at least two of the participants. The name chosen should begin with the first letter of the previous person’s last name. An example name could be, John Cleese followed by Clive Anderson followed by Adam Ant.

You could play various games based on the alphabet, which are not only fun for many children but also very educational. These could include the alphabet song game, which involves rotating through the alphabet with each person needing to think of a song title that starts with the given letter before singing the first line or two. The first person has ‘A’, the next person has ‘B’ and the rotation continues.

There are a wide range of things that you can do to keep the children amused in the car, ranging from giving them a handheld games console, CD player or iPod each, to simply giving them a packet of biscuits to munch through. The latter is certainly not recommended for everyday nutrition, but is ideal in an emergency!

Hannah Warder writes for MediaVest (Manchester) on a number of topics including car insurance .