Miles of Smiles – Five Silly Kids’ Games for Long Car Journeys

It’s holiday time and you want to take the kids to the seaside or to visit relatives. You’ve packed and filled up the car and you’re all set for the long drive to your destination. The question is, how are you going to keep the kids amused for the journey and avoid the cries of “are we nearly there yet?” every half hour? They might start the journey engrossed in an electronic game or in-car DVD (if you have one) but once batteries go flat or interest wanes and you still have a couple of hundred miles to cover, what do you do? Try these five silly games that will keep everyone laughing – not just the kids! – on a long car journey, and you’ll be at your destination before you know it.

Poker Face

The aim of the game is to make the nominated player laugh. They have to keep a straight face for as long as possible. First, pick a very silly phrase – for example ‘cheese and onion underpants’. Now, one of the players is nominated to answer every question they are asked with the phrase ‘cheese and onion underpants’ without laughing. The other players then take turns to ask questions such as “What does Dad wear on his birthday?”, “What’s for tea tonight?”, “What’s your favourite outfit?” and so on. The player who asks the question which causes the nominated player to laugh when answering ‘cheese and onion underpants’ then becomes the next ‘poker face’ and the others come up with a new silly phrase and try to make them laugh.

Bubble and Squeak

This is a variation of I-spy. One player chooses a feature outside the car that they are likely to see several times over the course of the journey (a field with cows in it or a bridge over a river, for example). The other players must guess what this feature is and the only clue they get is that the chooser says “bubble and squeak” every time they see an example of the chosen feature from the car window. The key is to pick something that you might expect to see reasonably often, such as a public telephone, but not something you’ll see every thirty seconds such a tree or a lamp post. The player who correctly guesses the chosen feature then gets to choose the next feature, and so on.

Pub Leg Pontoon

The aim of this game is to reach a score of 21 or as near as possible without ‘going bust’ (scoring more than 21). An order of play is decided and then all players look out for pubs or pub signs which refer to something that has legs. The number of legs in the pub sign is the players score. So, if the first pub spotted is the ‘Red Lion’, the first player scores 4, because a lion has four legs. If, however, the first pub is ‘The Crown’ the player scores zero because a crown has no legs. The game continues turn by turn until a player reaches the winning score of 21 without going bust. Players may optionally ‘stick’ if they reach a number close to 21 (say 18, 19 or 20) in the hope that the other players will go bust – which is quite possible if you come across a pub called the Coach and Horses or The Cricketers.

The Never Ending Story

One player begins a story with ‘Once upon a time’ and gives a few details regarding who, what, where and when (‘Once upon a time an amazing burping dog called Graham lived in an upside-down shoe in Wales…) and then the players take it in turns to build a story line by line, seeing where their imaginations take them. Parental warning: often it doesn’t take this game too long to descend into toilet humour!

The Silly Sentence Memory Game

The first player picks a letter from the licence plate of a nearby car and creates a silly sentence where all of the words begin with the chosen letter, so an ‘S’ might prompt ‘Sammy Shuttlecock sells super squid sausages’. The next player chooses another car registration letter and adds another sentence to the first; let’s say the next letter is a ‘C’ – the player might say ‘Sammy Shuttlecock sells super squid sausages…while Colin Cockles cooks crafty cream cakes’. More and more sentences are added as the game continues and the first person to forget something that has been mentioned is out. The player who ultimately remembers the most sentences in order and correctly is the winner.

Baby Pages is a retailer of baby equipment, pushchairs and baby car seats.