It’s a cliche to hear about children in the back seat of a car saying, “Are we there yet; are we there yet?” Yet, most parents who take road trips with their children know that it can be true. Children tend to have more energy than adults do, and long road trips can be hard for them to take. Parents can make road trips more fun for their children by planning, armed with road trip games.
Don’t underestimate the power of card games, suggests the Kids Health website. Cards can keep your kids busy for long stretches of time. Besides suggesting that your kids play games that they might already know, such as Crazy Eights and Go Fish, you can teach them Old Maid. You can use a regular deck, and take out three of the queens, with the fourth being the Old Maid, or the card players want to avoid. The dealer deals out all the cards. Players discard their cards in pairs and then, starting with the dealer, go around offering their hand to the player to the left. After randomly choosing a card from the hand being offered, that player tries to make another pair and then offers his hand to the next player. The person left with the queen is the Old Maid.
The storytelling game lets your children use their imagination. Someone starts a story, such as “I saw a little girl in a red car.” The next person says, “Who was eating some crackers.” Another person might say, “That she was supposed to save to feed the ducks.” Everyone keeps adding to the story until someone is stumped. You can play variations on the game, such as the last person who said a line can choose the next person instead of taking turns, or that the lines have to rhyme. You can write down the story as it progresses and have the kids create a drawing that goes with the story.
The alphabet game can be entertaining for hours, depending on how tough it is to find a particular letter in what they see outside. Tell the kids that the first one to make it through the alphabet will be the winner. They can use billboards, road signs, stores or anything along the road with writing on it. Players choose either the left or right side of the car to look for letters, and they have to find something that begins with each letter of the alphabet. For example, if a player finds every letter and is on “Z,” he may see a “work zone” sign, yell “Z for zone” making him the winner.
Old Fashioned Games with a Twist
Kids can usually play hangman and tic-tac-toe for a while, but you can make those games more exciting by letting them play on the car passenger window. Get some washable window markers and a cotton cloth so that they can erase each game and play some more. Tell the kids to not block the driver’s view by writing on the back window, the Kids Health website recommends.
License Plate Games
Because you and the kids will see many license plates on the road, you can play two different games using them. The first game is to see how many out-of-state license plates you can spot. That game can be ongoing throughout the trip. When someone sees one, she shouts it out.
Another license plate game is using the letters you see on the license plate and making a phrase out of it. For example, if the license plate is “MMD 483,” you could say, “Make my day,” or some other phrase. Each person gets a point for a phrase. The first one to 21, or whatever number you choose, wins.
- happy kids image by Marzanna Syncerz from Fotolia.com