Fun on the Road
Looking forward to your vacation, but dreading the car trip with your kids? To make the trip more enjoyable, play games along the way.
“Mom, are we there yet?”
“Dad, are we there yet?”
“How much longer, Mom?”
“Can’t you go any faster, Dad?”
Sound familiar? As every parent knows, on a car trip, kids just can’t wait to arrive. They get bored very quickly in the confined environment of the car, and then we find ourselves yelling at them to stop whining and fighting. In the end, it does seem like the trip takes forever. You can bring coloring books, toys and kids’ tapes to help pass the time, but there’s another way to keep the whole family entertained. Play games! We’ve come up with several activities that you can enjoy with your kids while you travel. The parent who is driving will need to concentrate on the road, so the other parent should take charge of these games!
Name That Tune
(sharpens listening and attention skills)
Hum a familiar song and ask your child to guess which one it is. Then ask him to hum a tune and you guess the song.
Don’t Say Yes or No!
(strengthens attention skills)
Ask each other questions, and the first person to answer with the words “yes” or “no” loses.
On the Farm
(develops attention and imitation skills)
Each child is responsible for imitating the sound of one or more animals: a dog, cat, cow, sheep, bird, etc. Assign the roles, then make up a story about animals on a farm. Each time you mention an animal; the person responsible for that sound must imitate it. There’s a lot of fun and laughter as people forget to make their sound or make the wrong one.
I Like, I Don’t Like
(teaches children how to express themselves and listen to others)
Set a 30 second time-limit for each person, then take turns saying what you like and what you don’t like. It can be foods, colors, clothes, actions, objects or anything else. For example: “I like ice cream, I don’t like medicine, I like chicken, I don’t like carrots…” After 30 seconds, another player takes over, alternating between “like”and “don’t like” items.
Shapes In The Clouds
If there are clouds in the sky, ask your child to say which shapes he sees in the clouds. For example, one cloud might look like and elephant; another might seem like a person’s face. As the clouds shift, encourage your child to shift his imagination with them.
The Word Game
(strengthens vocabulary and encourages fun with words)
Decide on a subject, then set a time-limit, 10 or 15 seconds to begin with. During this time, a player has to say as many words as possible on the chosen subject without stopping and without repeating words. For example, if the subject is “sports” you might say “swimming, football, tennis, coach, goal, gold medal, Olympics…” etc.
(promotes reflexes and attention)
Agree on different sounds your child can make with his feet, hands and mouth. For example, he can tap his feet, slap his knees, clap his hands, snap his fingers, whistle, and squeak. Tell a story and have your child insert the sound effects. For example, if the hero is walking slowly, your child can tap his feet gently. If the hero opens a door, your child can make a squeaking sound.
(develops memory and pronunciation skills)
You start by saying a word. The second player repeats it and adds a new one that is related. The third player repeats both words, and adds a third. For example, you say, “birthday.” The second player says, “birthday, presents.” The third player says, “birthday, presents, cake.” A player who cant think of another word or forgets the previous words is out. The last one left playing is the winner.
(just for fun!)
Agree to replace one word with another, then make up funny sentences using the substitute word. For example, if you’ve decided to say cow instead of shirt, the fun begins when you make up sentences like, “Put on your cow,” or “I went to the shop and bought a striped blue cow to wear to the party.” You can start with one substitution, and go up to as many as you like as long as you can keep track of them. The purpose of playing these games is to have fun, not to determine who wins or loses, but you can always pack some special treats to give the winners and “don’t feel bad” gifts for everyone else. If your child or children lose interest in a game, try another one, or give them a few minutes of quiet time. Before you know it, the trip will be over and you will have heard very little whining and fighting along the way. Some of these games were developed from a booklet by Retz, called “Games and Activities for Five Year Olds.”
Our extensive collection of articles spans the efforts of over 20 years of work and covers a wide range of topics having to do with family and child care. Our articles are all developed and updated with the assistance and support of leaders in the fields of medicine, nutrition and parenting, among others.