“I’m bored! How much longer?”
Are you and your family going on a long drive over the holidays? Do you know how to keep your children entertained? In today’s world of technology, it’s easy to turn on a video or hand over your tablet to keep the kids busy.
But what if you could use the time in the car to create a long-lasting memory with your children? To help you do just that, here’s our annual list of 12 Fun Family Car Games:
Once Upon A Time…
Bring out your kids’ creativity with this game. The first player starts telling a story to the others with “Once upon a time, there was a…” At any point, the narrator stops talking (even mid-sentence), and the second player must pick up the tale. Each player continues building the story until it reaches a logical (or illogical) conclusion. It’s fun to see where your child(ren) take the story!
Car Trip ABCs
Each player attempts to find the letters of the alphabet, in order, on road signs, buildings and other stationary objects. The word must begin with the letter. For example, a player looking for an “S” would be delighted to spot a stop sign. The player must call out the letter and the word when they see it, and no two players can claim the same word on the same sign. Competition really heats up when you’re looking for J’s and X’s! The first player to work their way through the alphabet wins.
Plug in your kids’ favorite playlist and sing along during your journey. Even if it’s not YOUR favorite music, they will love seeing you try to sing along. If you have more than one child, alternate the playlists, or create a playlist before you hit the road with their favorites and yours. You may even find that your kids come to like Bon Jovi by the end of the trip!
I Went to _____ and brought a/an ____
In this game, the first player starts and fills in the blanks. “I went to Colorado and brought an alligator.” Then the next player has to name something they’d bring along that begins with a “B.” “I went to Colorado and brought an alligator and a bear.” This continues on, with each player adding to the list until you can get all the way to the letter Z and each player has a turn to recite the whole list.
Where Are We?
If your child(ren) must use the iPad, help them use it in an educational way. Ask your kids to find a road/exit sign, and then have them look up the location on Google. Ask them to find interesting information about that location, and see who can find the craziest fun facts. You’ll be amazed at what you will find!
Who’s Driving The Car?
Also for your creative ones: Everyone picks a car in the distance and then makes up a story about who they think is driving the car. For example, you see a blue sedan, and one player says, “The person driving that car is a grandmother.” The next player might say, “And she has brown hair.” The next player might add, “Her grandkids live in Ohio, and she’s taking them a lot of presents.” The next player might add, “And Grandma is driving because Grandpa’s in the passenger seat reading the newspaper.” You go around the group and craft the story until you pass the car. Then you see how close you were to being “right.” Of course, you won’t actually know if she’s going to see her grandkids in Ohio, but your kids will be having too much fun to care about the minor details.
I Spy With My Little Eye
If you ever took a road trip with you parents as a child, we’re sure you played this all-time favorite. This game keeps your kids looking out the window and seeing new things. They need to find stationary objects in the distance, so it gives the other players a chance to find what it is they’re looking at.
The goal is for players to spot as many different car makes and/or models as possible. You can play individually or work as a team, and you can even use this printable game sheet. A twist on this one: Have each player choose a car make or model and then count how many of each you pass as you drive. The player who accumulates the most “sightings” wins!
Movies & Celebrities
This game is a challenge between the two generations! One player names a movie, and the next player has to name an actor from that movie. Then, it’s back to you or another player who has to name another movie in which that actor appeared followed by another player naming another actor in that movie. See how far you can get before anyone is stumped. The player who stumps everyone wins.
This one is for the brainiacs in the family: One player names a place anywhere in the world, and the next person has to name a place that begins with the last letter of the first place. For example, the first person says, “Bahamas,” and the next person could say “Spain.” The third person would have to name a place that starts with “N,” the last letter in “Spain.” You can only use each place one time during the game, and you are out of the game if you can’t come up with something. This also can be played with any topic of your choosing.
Although this one requires a little preparation, it’s a family favorite. Each player receives a list of items to locate along the road. The first player who spots all items on the list wins. Difficulty level can be adjusted to include kids of all ages and customized for each trip—city, suburban or rural—and feature such items as a flashing red light, dog, playground, church, statue, silo or tractor. If you’ll be passing by historical landmarks or towns, consider adding to the list something your kids will only see there. No time for preparation? Check out these ready-made cards that you can find online or these travel scavenger hunt cards on Amazon.
Name That Tune
Just like the old game show of yore. Hit the scan button on your car radio. The first person to guess the name of the song gets a point. If the guesser knows the singer, band or composer, he or she gets one point. If he or she knows the song name and artist, that’s worth three points. Depending on your musical taste, this can be a real challenge or a piece cake when you’re driving through rural areas and only pick up country music stations.
Think you’ll need more car games to keep the troops entertained? Momsminivan.com has ideas for 101 travel games. You’ll find everything from printable car bingo cards (play with M&Ms!) to scavenger hunt lists and even instructions on how to make a “cootie catcher.” There are also great travel magnet boards that come with letters, shapes and numbers to help keep your younger children entertained.