It’s almost Christmas and that means, -- besides peace and goodwill and love and Christmas songs -- getting stuck in traffic. And the rains aren’t helping either. Getting into the car with the little ones can be a nightmare if you have nothing for them to do. So we’ve rounded up a few games they can play in the car. Who knows, you might have fun playing them too!
1. I Spy This is always my default game when my girls are bored in the car. The simplest way to play this is for someone to spy something, describe it (I spy something red and yellow), then the players have to guess what it is. You can play it that way or you can try using the alphabet: “I spy something that starts with the letter A” then the next player has to find something that starts with the next letter and the next.
2. Alphabet Round Players take turns naming things that begin with the letters of the alphabet. You can make this more interesting by having a category for older children (younger kids might already find it challenging naming things that begin with the letters) such as fruits, vegetables, animals and so on.
Version Two: Instead of using the alphabet, think of categories. If the category is breakfast, players will take turns giving items that you eat for breakfast. Once a player can’t come up with any items anymore, he or she is out. Winner is the last person left.
3. Road Trip Bingo Before getting into the car, print out bingo sheets (such as the ones from minitime.com), give your kids crayons, and they should cross out the items they see on the road. The first to cover all squares in a straight line wins! You can also make your own bingo cards or you can personalize them as well depending on where you’re going and what you’ll be seeing along the way. For older kids, you can even write words instead of using photos.
4. Riddle Me This I am black and white and read all over. What am I? A newspaper! But when you say this, your kids will only hear the word “read” and will think it’s the color. So that’s what makes it fun! This game will be most fun for grade school kids. Take turns coming up with riddles. Try following this: “I am (describe yourself but in a vague way)…… What am I?” If they can come up with misleading words like “read” for “red,” things would be even more fun!
5. License Plate Game It’s a race to find the numbers 1 - 20 in that order on the different license plates you spot. You can increase the number depending on how long you’re on the road. The player to find all the numbers first wins!
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6. I’m Going On A Picnic This game isn’t just about knowing your alphabet but sharpening your memory. The first player says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” something that starts with the letter A like apples. The next player says it again. “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing …” what the first player said (apples) and something that starts with the letter B (bananas). Each player will have to say all the items the other players have already said. If someone misses one, they’re out. The last player who can recite all the items without missing any, wins!
7. 20 Questions One player thinks of a person, place, or thing and the other players ask questions that can be answered by yes or no. The goal is to guess what the first player is thinking. After each question, a player can try to guess what it is. The one who guesses can think of the next person, place, or thing. But if you notice it’s mostly the same kids who think of what to guess, then you can make them take equal turns.
8. Restaurant Race Before the road trip begins, each player gets to choose a restaurant or store of their choice (for example, McDonald’s or Jollibee or Mercury Drugstore) and they rack up points each time they spot the store, a sign, or a billboard. The first to hit 20 wins!
9. Telephone One player whispers a story to the next player. The next player must whisper the story to the next player and so on. The rule is, they need to repeat the story word for word. The last player has to recite the story for everyone to hear. This is usually very funny when all players find out how different the story has become.
10. Word Tails Start by coming up with a category such as flowers. The object of the game is to name items under that category. First player gives an item. The next player has to name an item that starts with the last letter of the word just given. For example, if the first player says orchid, the next player has to think of a flower that begins with D such as daisy. Play until someone can’t think of a word. No repeating words!
Ines Bautista Yao is a wife and mom to two girls who couldn’t be more different from each other, a seven-year-old and a two-year-old. She’s an author of young adult, sweet romance books and blogs about motherhood at www.theeverydayprojectblog.com.