Observational games such as ‘I-Spy’ top the list of activities to occupy children on a long journey, followed by listening to music, singing and reading.

Motor Codes, the Government-backed consumer watchdog for the automotive industry, commissioned an online YouGov poll to find out the best activity to keep children busy on long car journeys during the holiday season.The survey of over 2,000 British adults revealed that travelling together is viewed as an opportunity to ditch technology in favour of entertainment that encourages creativity, learning and quality time for the whole family.

Looking out the window and playing decade-old games like ‘I-Spy’ were cited by over 60% of respondents (particularly by 18 to 24 year-olds and the over-55s) as the best way of grabbing the attention of kids.

Furthermore, 44% of those questioned stated a preference for having a sing-along and reading story books, whereas just over 40% said they would resort to puzzles including word searches and crosswords, or to putting on a film.

Conversely, the study showed that, despite the abundance of smartphones, apps and tablets in daily life, a handheld device is seen as one of the least popular choices to stave off the boredom and restlessness of those in the back. Just under a third of individuals said they would reach for one, with women less likely (29%) than men to put one in the hands of young family members.

Furthermore, among the activities asked about in the survey, giving little ones snacks and drinks to pass the time ranked lowest in the list at 28%. In fact, less than a quarter of men would actually opt to give nibbles to their offspring to try and take their minds off the journey.

“The results clearly point to the fact that, regardless of all the technology that that we now have to hand, families still prefer to go back to basics and use activities that have ruled car journeys for years,” Bill Fennell, the Managing Director of Motor Codes, said. “A bit of imagination, some good reading material and a few carefully selected tunes are tipped as the best ways to avoid the frequently asked “are we there yet?” when clocking up the miles on holiday.”