# Children’s Car Activities

Time crawls by slowly on a road trip for most kids, who are confined for hours in the back seat. However, you can actually put that time to great advantage by using it to do some communicating with your captive audience. Play some activities together, let the conversation flow, and you may find that the trip will go quickly for everyone.

Time crawls by slowly on a road trip for most kids, who are confined for hours in the back seat. However, you can actually put that time to great advantage by using it to do some communicating with your captive audience. Play some activities together, let the conversation flow, and you may find that the trip will go quickly for everyone.

## Story Games

Continue-on stories let kids use their imaginations by adding to a story you start with an intriguing sentence, such as "It was Stacy’s first night home alone, and she heard a strange scraping noise" or "The dog that appeared in the door of the school was definitely purple." For a shorter game, kids can play two-sentence story games, such as "Fortunately, Unfortunately." In this game, you make a statement, such as "Fortunately, the water was just right for swimming." It has to be countered by something like, "Unfortunately, the sharks were hungry."

## Number Games

Odd or Even, suggested by the Activities for Kids website, starts with kids guessing if they will see more license plates ending in an odd number or an even number on the road over the course of 10 minutes. Players take either even or odd (or both if there’s only one passenger), and make marks on a sheet of paper for each license plate ending number they see. Grouping these marks in 5s lets kids practice counting by 5s at the end of the 10 minutes. In Guess the Number, also from Activities for Kids, one passenger thinks of a number between 1 and 100 (use larger numbers for older kids). Another passenger asks yes or no questions, such as "Is it even or odd?" or "Can it be divided equally by 3?" or "Is it under 50?" Kids score points by figuring out the number in the fewest number of guesses.

## Car Travel Activity Book

Prepare a personalized car activity book for your child by printing out puzzles, coloring sheets and games from websites, such as Enchanted Learning, which features ready-to-print choices, such as trip information, mazes, sign search word games, road signs puzzles and more. You can collect all these into a binder along with a supply of blank sheets for drawing. On some of the blank sheets you might want to add creative prompts, such as "Draw your favorite dessert," "Draw what you would do with a million dollars," or "Draw a fun park." You can also keep the sheets loose and clamp them together on a sturdy clipboard.

## Electronics

Listening to books-on-tape as a family activity on a road trip can be a springboard for conversation. Check with a children’s librarian for suggestions. Kids may enjoy listening to music on an MP3 or portable CD player. A portable DVD player is an investment in extended quiet time in the car. Take along favorite videos along with new ones from the library. Instead of keeping a journal about the trip, some kids might enjoy a mini tape or digital recorder to use for recording events, descriptions and impressions of the trip along with brief interviews of family members.

## Make Stuff

You might not think of the back seat as an artists’ studio, but kids can do all kinds of creating beyond drawing and coloring pictures. The MomsMinivan website suggests giving kids sheets of aluminum foil and letting them create all kinds of structures and sculptures; they can also use chenille stems (pipe cleaners) in the same way. If kids create people or animals with the pipe cleaners, they might like to have them perform a little play. You can also give kids long strips of construction paper and rolls of tape for putting together all sorts of fantastic creations; throw in some feathers and challenge them to make imaginary birds.