Last weekend we drove over to see my Dad. I refused to let the kids take iPads on the grounds they had already been playing on them while they were waiting for me to get up and get organised, plus, we never had them in my day. I regretted that decision briefly when a fight broke out, but as I kept reminding them, boredom is essential to creativity, to blossoming imaginations and we all know kids that when you are bored you are only minutes away from the next big idea. So we came up with a few great car journey games, some are old favourites, others we invented on the day and some they or I have learnt on school trips.
I decided to look up some more for our next trip, yes I am so excited to announce we are going on a road trip to Scotland this Easter, we will be travelling around in a camper van with Visit Scotland, Loch Ness, Highlands, Skye and much more – I know how exciting! I cannot wait to see all that spectacular scenery and there is no way I am going to let my kids plug into iPads and miss the views. Then Carspring asked me to share some ideas on car travel and I thought it would be great to share our favourite…
Car Journey Games
1. Make me laugh.
Each member of the family takes it in turns to make the others laugh, without endangering the driver of course. One point for each person you manage to get giggling, laughing or even just smirking. The kids invented this one, I wasn’t sure it would work, and it mainly involved toilet humour, but the culmative effect of a few rounds of playing is that everyone just wants to giggle anyway.
An alternative is everyone teams up to try and make one person laugh.
2. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.
I am never sure why we call it this as we tend to stick to Animals and Fruit and vegetables, but one day we will tackle minerals too! One person chooses and animal/fruit/vegetable and the others try and guess by asking yes or no questions. Mr G often chooses a fictitious animal of his own creation, like the time we sent miles and miles trying to guess he was a ‘skeleton ghost wolf’. But it is amazing when you know you tribe well, how you can actually guess mad stuff like this.
3. Pub cricket
This is great for winding country routes, not so great for motorways – but I do have ideas for that in a minute. Play altogether or get competitive and divide the car into teams. You have to count the limbs in each pub named passed. So The Brewers Arms would be 2 (arms only), The Queen would be 4 (arms and legs). If you are playing in teams, when you hit a non limbed pub, eg The Millstone, then the other team take over and bat. Great bit of sneaky maths. Taught to me by Mr Rowley on my Year 6 school residential to Wales.
4. Fizz Buzz
I vaguely remember this one from school. Practice Counting to 100, but every multiple of five has to be replaced by the word buzz. Miss one and the whole team starts again. Add to this with other multiples, eg tens are fizz or odds numbers are pop. Older kids can tackle more complicated multiples!
5. Banana cars
Count the yellow cars. You can add a light punch to your neighbour if you think your kids can keep it under control!
6. I went to the shops/on a picnic/on an awesome adventure and I bought…
Take it in turns going round the car, and through the alphabet. First person buys something beginning with A, second B, third C etc. Each time you have to remember al lthe things that have been bought. Always started with enthusiasm, although we have rarely got past H in all honestly. Still, every minute when they aren’t fighting counts!
For younger children or when we are short on focus we just play it without the memory element, so let’s name animals through the alphabet, or girls’ or boy’s names, or foods.
7. Would you rather?
Stroke a rat or a snake? Fall down a toilet or into a vat of cockroaches. Appeals to kids natural attraction to things deadly, gruesome or toilet humour related.
8. Hot Seat
Pretend each person in the car is famous and ask them interview questions. Kids need a little bit of modelling, but it soon opens up their mind to all sorts of questions, at which point, ‘Oh look is that a service station, quick let’s call its day now eh?’
Take it in turns to look out the window and make up stories about who the first person you see is. What are they doing, where are they going, what is their job, their top secret? Obviously ply to be played with kids who understand the need to play this with some discretion!
10. Cloud shapes
I love this one, no rules to argue over and it is very soothing. Look at the sky and tell me what you see kids!
What games do you like to play in the car?
Image Credit: Shutterstock: Family Trip