Traveling with children in the car can sometimes be difficult and make the trip something to be dreaded instead of enjoyed. My husband’s family lives 24 hours northwest of us and I can remember vividly one time when we had to drive there in one day. There was an emergency that made time of the essence. Our youngest son asked us on several occasions, “Are we there yet?” and once when we stopped for gas he yelled, “Yay! Daddy, you win the prize!” because he thought we had arrived. It broke my heart to tell him we were not there yet. So, what are some activities you can do while in the car to pass the time? Almost all of these games require paper and pencil, so be sure and take them along with you.
Car/ truck tally My mom would tell us what color and/or model of car that she wanted us to look for and we would compete against each other. The first one to spot ten wins. Our favorite was to look for Volks Wagon Beetles. 🙂
I Spy Have you ever played this game? You find something that is in the car and say, “I spy with my eye a___ and the color is _____.” Everyone in the car takes turns guessing what it is and you can determine how many guesses it will take until it is another person’s turn.
Paper and Pencil Games Bring along paper to play games such as: Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, Categories (explained below), Squiggles and Doodles (see below for explanation).
Scavenger Hunt Make a list of things you might see along the way. Draw pictures or help your littles ones who are not reading by calling out what is next on the list. Each person scratches off the items that they see on their list. You need a person to verify your finding so that children just check off lists and say, “I found all of them!” when they really didn’t. Here is a list of items you could use: a red car (or any other color), a barn, a body of water, a semi truck, a school bus, a restaurant sign, a gas station, a broken down car along the highway, a rest area
Categories Draw a grid on a piece of paper—a square filled with smaller squares. The number of squares can vary, depending on the attention span of your child. Down the left side, put some letters of the alphabet (for example, you could spell out a child’s name: LISA). Across the top, write categories —for example, girls’ names, boys’ names, animals, colors, cars, places. You can make this harder or easier by changing the categories. Players take turns writing in words that fit the category and start with the letter in the left-hand column. (Next to the letter L, in this example, you might have Laura, Liam, lion, lavender, Lexus and Lexington.) Give extra points for words that nobody else wrote. (Idea courtesy of Today’s Parent)
Squiggles and Doodles– This is a game that I just named! But, we always loved to play this when I was growing up. You draw a squiggle or a doodle on the page and then give it to the next person who must add another squiggle or doodle to it. Keep passing papers until you receive your original doodle. Since I grew up with artistic people I would get some pretty fun things back when we finished a round! 🙂
Password Make a list of nouns and give one item on the list to one player. This person must use one word clues to describe what the object is for the person who is guessing. For instance, the word is tree. You say: leaves, trunk, wood, bark and the person wins if they guess the word in 30 seconds. Keep on going! nouns you can use: cow, dog, cat, shoe, beach, house, just to name a few…
I hope you enjoy these games. Have a great trip!