Image by BenedictFrancis
There’s nothing like a family road trip or visiting friends and family at this time of year for Thanksgiving feasts and festive holidays.
However, while this all sounds fantastic, it also means long car journeys. All parents know that it’s no fun being in an enclosed space which is whizzing along at 70 miles an hour (if you’re lucky) or crawling along at 10 miles an hour (if you’re not so lucky), with bored, tired children.
If they have hand held computer games or something similar to keep them entertained, then great, but even then, on long journeys the battery will probably run out!
So why not use the time in the car to play with the children, enjoy their company, laugh, sing and generally have a good time. Games can also be a great way to distract children from thumb sucking and other such bad habits.
Here are three family-friendly ways to while away the hours on the road this season.
- 1. The Post-it guessing game
This is an old favourite which never goes out of fashion. All you need is some post-it notes, or perhaps some stronger stickers for children who are moving around a lot – you don’t want them to fall off! Or you could make your own stickers with paper and plasters or masking tape – no need to splash out on expensive shop bought ones!
Each player then chooses a famous person (could be a cartoon character, an actor or a person from history) and writes the name down on the sticker/post-it. Then this is passed to the person on the left who then sticks it on their forehead, so they can’t see who they are.
Now, by asking only “yes” and “no” questions, each player must establish who they are. This game is best for kids 6 and over, and could save you 45 minutes of whingeing from the back seat.
- 2. Bingo on the backseat
This takes a bit of preparation before you go, but what’s 15 minutes prep next to an hour of peace from the kids?!
On a bit of plain card (use the card inside old cereal boxes, no need for this to cost a lot) and mark out a grid. Fill each box with a picture of something you will likely spot during your journey – a motorbike, a lorry, a train, a sheep, the sea – and make each sheet slightly different versions of each other.
If you want to make this a game they can play over and over, cover the cards with wipe-able sticky back plastic, or laminate. One preparation could get your through hours of comfortable travelling.
Hand out the cards to the kids and they have to keep a keen eye out to spot all the things on the card. Of course, the first one to complete the card and cross off all the pictures has the right to shout “Bingo”!
- 3. The Number Plate game
This great game, is so easy as you don’t need anything on you to play it, and there’s no preparation required!
The game works by looking at the other cars’ number plates, and making up silly sentences out of the last three letters of the plate. For instance, if the letters are PRU you might come up with ‘Penguin Ruined Underwear’ or ‘Put Rabbits Up’, or anything equally funny. Kids love to make up silly phrases, and there should be plenty of material passing you on the highway.
What games do you like to play in the car with your children?
Bio: Louise Blake is a new mum and aspiring writer. When she’s not child-proofing her kitchen or taking her puppy for walks, she blogs about educational initiatives such as reward stickers for kids. Her favourite car game is The Number Plate Game.