The kids and I are in the car a lot during the course of the school year and that time probably triples during the Summer as we go on road trips and I take them here and there around town. Since we're in the car so much, I've compiled a list of games we can play while Mom is driving so that World War III isn't breaking out in my back seat. Here are some of our favorites:
- The Crazy License Plate Game – Take the license plate in front of you and make up crazy phrases to describe the driver. For example, FCB21M could translate into Five Cute Babies with 21 Moms.
- Count The Number Of Fools On Cellphones – Here's a diversion with a message. In my area, many people still, unfortunately, talk on cellphones while they're driving even though it's DANGEROUS and AGAINST THE LAW. The kids know this is wrong and we've talked about why it's so bad, but we can't do anything about it, so we've turned it into a challenge. We try to count how many stupid adults they see driving while talking on cellphones. Another benefit to this game is that it alerts me to which idiots probably do not have their minds on the road. Our highest count so far: 15 people in 30 minutes. Shame on those drivers!
- Where's The Alphabet – Use road signs, billboards, shop names — any reading material outside the window qualifies as long as it's spotted on your side of the car. If you're the front-seat passenger, focus on the right. Look for every letter of the alphabet, in alphabetical order, although the letter can be located anywhere in the word. For example, if there's a sign for a farm, there's your A. The exit for the Broad Street Bridge would cover B, Road Closed is C and so on. First one to the letter Z wins.
- What Are They Saying – Some people in traffic are quite animated. Try to figure out what the relationship is between drivers and passengers and what they might be saying.
- Count...Something - Count the number of...whatever. It can be anything: cows, telephone poles, headlights, train cars, blue pickup trucks, etc. All you have to do is shouting out the thing to keep track of the number.
- Car Colors – Pick a time limit, like 10 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on the length of the drive. Have each player guess how many cars of a certain color will be spotted during in that time. The closest guesser wins. You can also do this in “hotseat fashion” by using 3-minute intervals as the time limit. Whoever is closest gets a point for that time segment. The first one to reach 5 points wins.
- The Picnic Game – In this memory game, one player says, "I went to a picnic Saturday and I brought..." then says a picnic favorite that begins with the letter A, like apples. The next player repeats the opening phrase, and after "...I brought" they repeat the A item then add one that begins with B: "I brought an apple and some bananas." The third player repeats the opener, the A and the B portions, and then adds something that begins with C. Can players get through the alphabet, remembering all the items everyone contributed?
- What Are They Doing – Sometimes you can see into people's houses while you're traveling. We try to guess what they're doing and, if they're watching television, what they're watching.
- Hold Your Breath – See who can hold their breath the longest while going over a bridge or through a tunnel. Obviously it should not be played by the driver who could get lightheaded, but everyone else can try.
- Odd Or Even – Each rider guesses how many of the next 20 license plates will end with an even number. The closest guess wins.
Getting places can be almost as fun as being there. The challenge is making that car-time entertaining. Try the games above and the time will pass quickly with everyone arriving at your destination in, hopefully, a good mood.
Note: Image of family in a van provided by ClassroomClipart.com.