We have been out for a day trip today. We didn't go really far (I think our 7 hour road trip last year was enough to put the Man on the Pad off long journeys for some time) and whilst the excitement of a road trip can be fun, lets be honest it can also be a little like an endurance test, especially with impatient children. Sometimes, a dvd is not enough to keep children entertained during hours and hours of driving. We are currently experiencing the joys of toddler tantrums, which can be massively distracting and and not ideal for safe driving either.
Older children, especially teenagers, pose a different kind of challenge: no tantrums (occasionally, maybe) but a likelihood of boredom and disengagement. You may as well use the time wisely; the son of a friend of mine was approaching his driving theory test so would take every opportunity to take practice tests and check his knowledge of the road signs.
We have talked about our road trips before and after recently investing in new dual DVD players,which I am hoping may diffuse some of the arguments, but if not, here are some of our tried and tested car games.
This is probably the most popular game that anyone can play while travelling. The game is geared towards children, as it is simple, yet it can keep them entertained for long periods. “I spy with my little eye, something round.” The mechanics are easy. We all know how to play it, although we do have to keep it simple with the toddler .... more like "I spy something that is the colour blue" or more frequently "I spy something that looks like Daddy Pig drives it".
The Alphabet Game
This is another of our faves but it is just a simple game of observation; that even the grown ups can have fun playing it. The game starts with the letter A. All the participants must then start looking for an A in the area. This can be an A on a licence plate, a poster, or a road sign. Two people cannot declare a letter from the same item. After finding an A, everyone moves on to the next letter until they get to the letter Z. The first person to go through the entire alphabet wins the game.
In this country it is easy to let travelling on a rainy day give you the blues. The Raindrop Race is a quick and fun game for everyone. At the start of the race, each player chooses a raindrop on the topmost part of a car window. They trace the course of their raindrops until they reach the bottom of the window. The player whose raindrop reaches the bottom of the window first wins the game.
The Song Game
The Song Game is fun to play whether you sing in tune or not (and if I am truthful, none of us in our family are ever going to win the X Factor). The first player sings a few lines from a song. The next player then has to start singing a new song using the last word of the previous player’s song. The game goes on and on until a player cannot think of a song to connect to the previous one. To make the game more interesting, try setting a time limit of 10 seconds for the next player. Any player who fails to provide a new song within 10 seconds is out.
The Picnic Game
Keep your brain juices flowing by playing this memory game. In the Picnic Game, players must remember a string of items. The first person says, “I went to a picnic and I brought…” and continues to name an item that starts with the letter A. The next player has to repeat the phrase, the first item, and add a new item starting with the letter B. The game ends when a player fails to remember an item that was brought to the picnic. See how sharp your memory is by trying to remember all 26 items.
Lets be honest, trying to keep the whole family entertained while travelling is a challenge in itself, if you factor in road works, toilet breaks, the inevitable traffic jams, more toilet breaks and that is without the prospect of going off course. So a few lighthearted games can make those miles seem a little shorter and if you are anything like us, you can always tweak the rules or make up your own games to suit every age of traveller!