Road Trip Games
Summer break is practically synonymous with long road trips. Whether you are heading to the beach, to camp, or to Grandma’s house, you’ll want an arsenal of tips handy to keep the kids occupied after the crayons are broken, after they’ve listen to their iPODS three time through, and after the batteries wear out on their Nintendo.
Why not try some of these old-fashioned car games? Not only are they fun, but they help develop memory and listening skills too!
The I-Packed-a-Suitcase Game
In the repeat-after-me tradition of games, is the always-popular suitcase game. Not only is it fun, but it is also a great way to develop your child’s memory.
Here are the simple rules:
- The first person begins with the sentence: “I packed a suitcase, and in it I put…” followed by an item of that person’s choice, such as “a toothbrush.”
- The second person also starts with the same statement, “I packed a suitcase, and in it I put…” then repeats what the first person said, and adds his own item, “a toothbrush, and a bathing suit,” and so on, until someone forgets to list one of the items!
You can adjust the level of difficulty and absurdity, according to your mood.
My preferred item to pack in a suitcase is a battering ram… you’ll never know when you’ll need one!
Backwards Listening Game
This is a great game to encourage listening abilities. You say a series of random words—and have your child repeat them to you in the opposite order! For example:
You: shirt, cow.
Child: cow, shirt
Start with 2 words and increase the number as proficiency improves. Or, if you are feeling up to it, create a backwards sentence so that when your child says it back to you, he is decoding your message! Hilarity is sure to ensue!
You: cheese, like, smell, socks, Dad’s
Child! Dad’s socks smell like cheese!
The Alphabet List Game
One of my personal favorites is the Alphabet List Game. It’s a very simple game that can present opportunities for some creative thinking.
- Using the Alphabet as the guide, select a theme to create a list about. Some good themes are: animals, cities, fruits and vegetables, sports teams, pizza toppings, underwater…the possibilities are endless!
- Now select someone to start. They begin with the letter A and, based on the category chosen, give an example of something that begins with the letter A. For animals, it would be Alligator, for cities, Amsterdam.
- Then the next person gets the letter B, the following person the letter C…and so on, until somebody can’t think of an example for that letter. Some letters are more challenging than others, so everybody is allowed one pass.
The Classic Game of ‘I-Spy’
Always popular with younger children, the old “I Spy With My Little Eye” is a great game. Simply select anything in the car or room and say, “I spy with my little eye, something that is [that color].” Then the kids take turns guessing what the item is. Adjust the difficulty to meet the age of the child.
Tip: When kids are stumped, give them a phonetic clue. For instance, “it starts with the sound ‘mmmm’.”
Think of something simple…it can be anything at all, though regular play usually limits the choice to something that falls into the categories of animal, vegetable, or mineral.
- When you’ve chosen your item, the game begins. Let the players know that you’ve selected something with the simple statement, “I’ve got it!” Then the kids ask 20 questions to determine what the item is. The trick is that all answers must be a yes or a no, this way, the kids must phrase the questions in a specific way in order to get a yes or no answer.
This game is great practice for children to form questions in a structured way, and even better practice for them to take all the replies and deduce the answer. What a fun way to develop critical thinking skills!