Most parents dread the idea of being cooped up in the car for hours with their children. It’s not that you don’t love them, but tight spaces and close proximity to annoying siblings brings out the worst in children! Luckily, you can head off trouble by pulling these games out of your sleeve and keeping everyone occupied and happy!
License Plate Phrases. This is a fun game for slightly older kids. You might want to form teams so everyone has a fair chance. Every time you see a license plate, you have to form a phrase using the three letters on it as the beginning of words. Small words like “the” can be added for free. For example, if you see VOK, you might say “Very Old Kid”. The phrase must make sense and the first team to get a proper one wins a point. Play to however many points you want, the fun is in the weird phrases you will come up with!
Alphabet Tag. This is a game that keeps eyes trained outside the car instead of on brothers! Each player is trying to find the letters of the alphabet in order, A, B, C, D, etc. However, they can only find them on signs! This makes things a bit tricky when you hit difficult letters like K or Q or X. The first person to reach Z is the winner, and then you can start all over again. If you suspect someone is calling out letters that don’t exist, ask them to point out where they got them from.
I’m Going on a Trip. This is a memory game that even fairly young children can play (they might even be better at it than you!). Start off by saying “I’m going on a trip and in my suitcase I am packing . . .” and add an object. The next player says the same phrase, your object, and adds their own. For example, “I’m going on a trip and in my suitcase I am packing a pair of socks, two T-shirts, and an orange.” This continues until someone cannot remember an object in order and has to drop out. The last person able to recite all the objects is the winner.
Guess Who I Am. Here is a game similar to 20 questions, but with people. You choose a person, whether someone you know or a historical figure or a celebrity and everyone else asks yes or no questions to find out who you are. They have just 20 questions to discover your secret identity and the one who guesses gets to go next. For example, if you were Spiderman the questions might be something like “Are you famous?” Yes. “Are you real?” No. “Are you in a movie?” Yes. Etc.
Animal Points. This requires the use of a pen and paper, or a very good mind for numbers. You will want to write down the following categories on the paper, Horse, Cow, and Dog. Under Horse, put White and Other. Each animal is worth specific points. A white horse is worth 10, any other color is 5. A cow is also 5 points and a dog is 3. You can add anything else you wish, such as a pig for 15, etc. Each animal can only be called once. So if your son calls a white horse, his sister cannot claim the same animal. Keep track of the points until you reach a preset number or your destination.
With these games to play in a car or bus, you will find that things go smoother. There will be less fighting (except over who gets the cow points!) and more laughing. Playing travel games really is the best way to keep the peace in a cramped environment.