Nearly every manual says the same thing about road trips – they are fun, free, and liberating. Well, ask any parent if this is true of family road trips, and they’ll silently, almost guiltily, disagree just a little bit. The truth is, taking kids along on a long drive, with them cozied up in a car and forced to interact with only the parents and the siblings for hours on end, can get exhausting and leave the little ones irritable after the first few miles.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to relieve this boredom and make even family road trips just as fun as long drives with friends. Music helps, and if that gets monotonous, there are always games to liven up the drive.
Here are four such games that parents can enjoy playing with their kids on long car journeys across the countryside. And, as an added bonus, these games can also help children learn something along the way.
This one’s a classic, and no extensive road trip is complete without this game. Simple in its rules and a favorite with the kids, it’s especially suited for car rides across the countryside. For the uninitiated, the game requires each player to take turns to decide upon an object that is visible to everyone in the car. It could be something located in the vehicle or something that lies on the outside. This player then says, “I spy with my little eye something that is…” and completes the sentence with a word that describes the chosen object. It could hint at the color, the size, or any other unique characteristic of the object. The player who guesses it right wins the round. What’s best about this game is that apart from offering a fun way to pass the minutes, it helps the children hone their observational skills.
The Preacher’s Cat
Based on the alphabets, this game is ideal for school-going kids. It’s simple enough and can involve as many players as needed. The first player begins the game with the first letter of the alphabet, and says, “The preacher’s cat is an amazing cat named Anna.” The next player continues with the same letter A and replaces the adjective and the name with other words that begin with A. For example, the second player might say, “The preacher’s cat is an admirable cat named Abby.” Once all the players have completed the round with alphabet A, they move on to the next letter. Should a player repeat an adjective or a name, or be at a loss for words, they lose the game. The last player standing is the winner.
The License Plate Game
There are several versions of this game, and all of them are interesting in their own way. One of the most common adaptations involves each player picking a number from 0 to 9. And then, as each vehicle passes, players are required to look out for number plates that carry the numbers they picked. They can even check to see if adding two numbers gives them the number they chose. For instance, if a player chooses 5, and a number plate reads WVE 235, the player can take credit for spotting the number 5 twice (once as 5, and once as 2+3). Each time the number is spotted, a point is earned. The player who earns a previously set limit (Say 30 or 50) first, wins the game.
The Picnic Game
Much like its namesake, this game is pleasant and entertaining. Once again, the alphabets come to the family’s rescue on a long trip that’s tipping over to the boring side. Developed especially for kids who are learning the alphabets, it’s signature line goes – “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” The first player completes the sentence with an object beginning with the letter A (for instance, apples). The second player says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples and …” and completes it with something beginning with the letter B (say, balloons). The next player continues this thread, adding something beginning with C. The beauty of this game lies in the fact that it not only makes children master the alphabets but also helps strengthen their memory.
These are only four among a multitude of car games that can turn up the entertainment quotient on a family road trip and help keep the little ones engaged throughout the long journey. There are a number of other enjoyable games as well, and each family can tweak these all-time favorites to suit what works best to keep the children hooked and content.