Tips for a great road trip with kids

We are soon to embark on our big trip up the centre and to the Top End/North-West, and with three young kids doing the camper-trailer thing for the first time, I want to make sure it's a success. Any tips on things we should take to ensure ultimate fun on the way? (The kids are 9, 7, 5). So far on my list I have:
- string and twine for building stuff with sticks
- inflatable lilo for river fun
- talking books for long car journeys
- a couple of balls/cricket bat for bush cricket/footy
- videocamera for recording the action

Would love to hear what others consider "must-haves". And sorry, this is going to be the first of one of a few posts. Thanks for your help!
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 16:20

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 16:20
Those rivers tend to be full of hungry crocodiles! Hot springs around Materanka and Katherine offer safe swimming - foam noodles work well there rather than lilos. The rivers and beaches are not safe.
Don't forget to get the kids collecting pamphlets, pictures (a cheap camera is great- especially handy for embarrassing pictures of parents putting up the tent etc) maps and other mementos for scrap books/diaries of the trip. A box of paints, textas, scissors, glue etc will take up little space. They will enjoy making the collection and will get lots of fun sharing them with friends and family afterwards! These also provide some more peaceful activity when weather is bad or parents are tired!
Have a great time! Lynne
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Follow Up By: Carolyn R2 - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:21

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:21
Thanks Lynne, good point about the crocs, I was thinking more for when we are further south like the Murray!
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Reply By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:10

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:10
If you can manage it make sure to take the kids push bikes for when you are in a caravan park, or have a nice secluded camp for a couple of days, and also a few board games like scrabble, and snakes and ladders, they might be old but they keep our grand kids amused for long periods of time when wet and in lock down mode. Just a couple of suggestions.
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Reply By: Pushy - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:35

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:35
Carolyn,

Kids that young, especially if they are boys, just can not sit quietly for more than a few hours, either in a car or in a tent in bad weather. So you have to accept every chance to get them moving. And that means running around raising a sweat and puffing.

When you stop for smoko lunch or fuel make sure it is a place where they can expend some energy not at shops or pubs or the like. Look for playgrounds or sports fields.

Games in the tent are good but sometimes you might have to let go out and get wet.
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Reply By: SDG - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:55

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:55
When travelling as a kid we use to play i spy. Broke up some boredom.
Another game Mum use to get us to play was what she called cricket. Each car you pass was one run. Motor bike 4, and a truck was 6, caravan was out, or a variation off these points depending on what traffic there was. Use to get upset when there was a convoy of outs.
Good for adding skills.

Another one Mum use to do was who can spot the mile marker first. Did years to work out Mum cheated by watching the odometer.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 18:30

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 18:30
I recall a trip we did with our grandaughter who would have been about 8 then. We were learning the phonetic alphabet (as you did use it then on VKS). She picked it up very quickly and we made a game by calling out passing numberplates and roadsigns as Bravo-alpha-juliet and the like. She was better at it than we were!

Kids like to collect things so give them each a small cheap backpack or bag in which they can collect stones, shells, leaves that catch their attention. Also a scrap book in which they can write/draw their story of their trip.

BTW, Congratulations on not having a DVD player on your list!

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: SDG - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 21:13

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 21:13
I have a dvd player for the kids, but only as a backup for days that are to wet to leave the tent, but not more than one movie.
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Reply By: Rebecca H - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 20:31

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 20:31
We are doing a similar trip this year with our 5 and 2 year old. My email is rebecca.harding@education.tas.gov.au if you want to get in touch :)
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Reply By: Luckyphil wa - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 21:09

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 21:09
Hi Carolyn.after having travelled with 3 kids around oz we found that we offloaded a lot of the gear we left with as it became such a burden to manage.Take the very least possible including clothing .Plenty of cheap stuff out there if u really decide you need it .regards Phil
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Reply By: SDG - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 21:11

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 21:11
When are you leaving? I'm heading off in a couple of weeks, up central then east with 8 kids.
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