It seemed like a good idea at the time... grabbing a couple of maps and guide books and piling the kids in the car to hit the open road. But now it's almost time to go and while you're excited to stop and see The World's Largest Ball of Twine , you're not so sure about days in the car with fighting, screaming, cranky kids who have no interest at all in The World's Largest Ball of Twine.
Don't worry... you can still take steps to make sure your trip is an enjoyable one and that everyone still loves each other when they get home.
Geography is a great way to get your family in an upbeat mood for the journey ahead. How to play: The first person thinks of a place (city, state, country, etc...) then the next person has to think of a place that starts with the last letter of the previous place. Remember that you can't use the same place twice and the place has to be real.
Dad starts with: North Carolina
Jill (daughter): Alabama
Jack (son): New Mexico
2. Twenty Questions
How to play: One person thinks of a person, place or thing and each person in the family has 20 questions to figure out what it is. Remember that "yes" or "no" can only answer the questions.
Dad: Thinks of a person, place, or thing
Jill: Is it a person?
Mom: Is the person still alive?
Jack: Was this person a former President?
3. License Plates
Are you ready to try to find all 50 license plates from around the county? Be on the look out for states that have more than one type of license plate. Bring along a map to help you keep track of what states you should be on the look for.
4. Buzz. Here's a game that will test your math skills.
How to play: Take turns counting to 100. Whenever a 7, multiple of 7, or 7 in the number comes up, say "Buzz". Remember if one person makes a mistake, you have to start the whole game over again.
5. Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger Hunts are great games to play in the car. Before you leave the house, prepare a list of things that you can see easily from the car. Remember to bring a couple of lists along on the trip so your family can play against each other. Also, remind your family that the first one to spot all the items on the list gets a surprise!
Here are some ideas that can get you started on your list:
- Stop sign
- United States of America Flag
- Motor home
- Swimming pool
- Welcoming sign
- California license plate
- McDonald's Restaurant
- Convertible car with the top down (weather permitting)
6. I Spy
I spy is a classic favorite for family car rides.
Remember that you can limit what you see to the interior of the car or you can include things that you have already passed. And the first one to answer correctly goes next. How to play: One person spies an object and the rest of the family has to guess what it is.
Jack: I spy with my brown eyes something large.
This version is a little different from what your family might be use to, but it's a lot of fun. Prepare equal size grids for several colors of cars and X out a square every time one is spotted. The first one that Xs out all the squares wins! Remember to make each grid different so your kids can compete against each other.
Example of the grid: