We’ve all been there: you’re in the car, you’re excited about the holiday, then that little voice chirps up, “I’m boooored!” It wouldn’t be so bad but the voice is your husband’s and you’re still on the driveway! But, seriously, if you are planning a long journey, you need a few tricks up your sleeve, and one of the best tricks is the car game.
What shouldn’t you play in a car?
For safety’s sake, never let the passengers play a game that will distract the driver, for instance, anything that involves waving your arms or making sudden loud noises. Charades is clearly a non-starter and I wouldn’t recommend Snap either. Games that involve fiddly apparatus are likely to end in tears, although there are board games adapted for the car, such as, magnetic chess. Keep the games age-appropriate or the children will become frustrated and that can lead to tantrums and, let’s face it, you should limit the tantrums to the ones you have when the satnav sends you across a field.
Comfort on the road
It’s certain that comfortable passengers will be more content and easy to entertain than cramped, unhappy ones, so if your car is on the small side (or you don’t have one) then car hire is your best option. It’s easy to arrange via National Car’s website, where you can select the vehicle, dates and pick-up point and if you pay via the site you can even save money.
Alphabet games are Go!
There are so many alphabet games that you’d have to be making a round-the-world trip to fit them in; they are educational but don’t let the children know that or they’ll think you’re trying to trick them into doing homework. One good A to Z game is spotting things that begin with each letter, whilst keeping track with a pencil and paper, but good luck with X unless you plan on driving by the xylophone factory. Alphabet list games can be fun, for example, each person in the car can name a food beginning with ‘a’, then ‘b’ etc. You can also combine the alphabet with a memory game; the first person says, “I went to the shop and I bought (something beginning with ‘a’)”, then the second says, “I went to the shop and I bought (something beginning with ‘a’) and (something beginning with ‘b’)” and so on. If you forget an item or can’t think of an item, you’re out!
What’s the word on word games?
Choose your word games carefully, for instance, The Rhyme Game requires you to pick four words from signs or shops that you pass and then make them into a little poem, so the ‘contestants’ need to recognise rhyme. Or you could make up a story by letting each passenger say a line; it could take a funny turn and should keep everyone busy for a while. There are more ideas on this website.
Are we there yet?
There are loads more games to play in a car: I-spy (but make sure you spy something that will be visible for a while), Twenty Questions, Noughts and Crosses (a wipe-clean board is better than paper and pencil) and ‘pub cricket’, where you count the legs on pub signs and that is how many ‘runs’ you score. These are a few ideas and you probably have your own favourites, but if none of them work, there’s always ‘1000 green bottles’!
Amy is a freelance feature writer from the UK
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