Have a long drive coming up? The holidays often involve time traveling to see family and friends. But, long drives with children can be a recipe for disaster. Between “Are we there yet?” and “I’m bored!” and “I have to pee!”, it can be a pretty trying time to make it to your destination. Unless you’re well prepared.
You can make rides in the car easy and fun by playing games! Keep the little ones distracted and happy with one of these 8 games that are great for playing in the car:
Part bingo, part scavenger hunt, this game keeps your kids focused and busy. It does require a bit of prep work, but it’s worth the peace and quiet! Simply schedule a few minutes into your Picniic calendar ahead of the drive so that you’ll be ready.
How does it work? You’ll have to make some bingo sheets, one for each child. Fill them in with words or images depending on your children’s reading level. In each spot, put something you’ll see along the way. You can include specific items such as a town you’ll pass through or a statue you’ll see. Alternatively, you can include things you’re fairly certain you’ll see along the way such as a pine tree, fast food chain, or yellow car, etc. Then, give your children some stickers or a pen to mark off what they see.
This classic car game is great fun. Look for all of the letters of the alphabet on signs as you drive. Provide each child with a list of the letters and have them cross off each letter they see.
Alternatively, look for objects that begin with all the letters of the alphabet. For example, an apple for “a” and a peugeot for “p”. Put one child in charge of writing down all of the objects you see. Celebrate when you complete the game by having a piece of candy, running around at the rest station or singing a favorite song.
Tell A Story
Play the story game! In this game, each person in the car gets to say one sentence of a story. The first person might say for example: “Once upon a time there was a cat.” Then, the next person continues with another sentence. Take turns adding to your story and see how silly it gets!
When you’re stuck in traffic, this is the best game to play. One player starts by saying “I spy with my little eye…” and then mentions one characteristic of the object they see. It could be the color, texture, or another descriptor. Then, the other players must guess what the object is using yes or no questions. The other players might ask “Is it a flag?” or “Is it a food item?” etc. until they guess correctly.
Who Can Find…
In this game, each person picks a specific object or item to count. It could be an animal, like cows, if you’re driving through farmland, or it could be a certain color car, a type of sign, restaurant chain or anything you like. Once everyone has selected an item, set a timer for a designated amount of time like 5 minutes, for instance. When the timer begins, everyone must start counting their object. Whoever counts the most of their object, wins!
Hum the Song
This game will get the whole family singing! Have one player think of a song and hum it out loud. The other players must guess what song the player is humming. Whoever guesses the song correctly gets to hum next.
Will your kids have a hard time thinking of songs? Write song names on slips of paper and put them in a jar to take along. Then, have the player who hums pick a slip so that they know what song to sing. You can also just sing the song together afterwards to make the game take a bit longer.
In this game, tragedy strikes at every turn! You’ll have fun imagining how to spoil fortune as you counteract all positives with a negative. How does it work?
One player begins by stating something fortunate such as: “Fortunately, the house was big enough for everyone to have their own bedroom.”
Another player continues, turning the situation sour, such as “Unfortunately, it was infested with ants.”
Then, another player can counter with, “Fortunately, I convinced the ants to come outside by laying out a picnic.”
You can continue until you run out of ideas. Then, begin again with a new situation!
A Long List
This game allows you to practice your vocabulary knowledge and exercise your brains. First, think of a broad category like food, animals or transportation. Then, your goal is to think of words within that category. No repeats allowed! However, there’s a trick. Each word stated must begin with the last letter of the previous word. So, for example, if you do food:
Go around, with each person saying a word until someone gives up.
Make it even harder by setting a time limit for each player to say a word. Set it at 10 seconds, 5 seconds or 30 seconds, whatever works best for you.
Feeling ready to hop in the car yet? Make playing these games even more fun by writing down the names on slips of paper and putting them in a hat or jar. Then, let your kids take turns selecting a paper that says which game you’ll play next. This will keep things exciting and fun, even when you’ve been on the road for a while.
You’ll keep brains busy and smiles on your children’s faces by using these fun games to play while on the road. Boredom is not a pleasant travel companion, but armed with these fun games, you’ll make the miles fly by.
Do you have a favorite family game to play while on the road? Tell us about it in the comments below.