When I was a kid, long journeys were all about the games. At the first whimper of “Muuuum, I’m booooored” she would shoot right back at me with, “Let’s play a game then”. I spy, the number plate game and 20 questions were all firm favourites in the car when I was a child.
In the digital age, it’s all too easy to rely on technology to keep children entertained on long car, train or plane journeys. However, spending too long looking at a screen can make kids carsick or suffer from headaches or a sore neck. Plus, playing traditional car games is a great way to bond as a family during the journey so it’s a good thing to keep doing.
Here are five of the best games to play while you travel…
1. The number plate game
There are many versions of this game, which you can adapt depending on which country you’re in. In the USA, the game is known as the license plate game and involves spotting license plates from different states. In the UK, you could look for number plates starting with different letters, or in Europe you could even look for ones from different countries. All you need is a piece of paper to scribble down the number plates that you spot. The person who gets the most wins. The great thing about this game is that it works just as well for one child as it does for siblings.
2. I spy
“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…” I spy has been a popular game for as long as anyone can remember. Once you’ve got past the common choices of ‘road’, ‘trees’ and ‘sky’, the game often gets trickier, particularly once your kids start thinking out of the box and coming up with things like ‘teeth’. Playing this game with young children is always funny, especially when you spend ages guessing everything you can think of beginning with S and then they tell you the answer was ‘ceiling’! For very young ones who can’t spell, you could switch letters for colours and spy things that are green.
3. Memory game
Also known as ‘Granny went to the supermarket’, this game involves making and remembering a growing shopping list of items that start with each letter of the alphabet. For example, I might say: “Granny went to the supermarket and bought apples” and you would stay: “Granny went to the supermarket and bought apples and bananas.” Other names for this game include The Picnic Game and The Casserole Game. Perhaps you could come up with your own themes, such as what you would pack to go camping?
4. Things beginning with
In this game, one person thinks of a category, for example, things you can wear. The other thinks of a letter, like B. Then you have to take it in turns to come up with things you can wear beginning with B. This can be a tricky game and is just as well-suited for adults as kids. Descriptive words are okay in this game, so “big knickers” would be allowed! But that then means that you can’t have anything else ‘big’ or any other kind of knickers! Some of the answers are hilarious once you get past the obvious ones.
5. Would you rather?
Would you rather wear a wedding dress every day or a swimming costume every day? Would you rather have twelve fingers or two belly buttons? The possibilities for this game are endless and all you have to do is decide which is the lesser of two evils. If you’re stuck for questions, there are some hilarious would you rather questions you can look up online.
So, there you have five games which should keep the whole family entertained the next time you travel. None of these need any equipment and many will have children of all ages not just entertained but laughing their heads off! So next time you have a long car journey, or even a flight, give these games a try and you may even be able to leave the kids’ tablet computers at home.
This article was provided by Simon Hansen from Family Travel Planet.