The alphabet game can bring out the competitive side of everyone in the car. This also helps parents kill time as the hours drag on heading to the destination. You can make up your own rules, but when we play someone has to find a word outside of the car that starts with the letter A and so on. Q, X and Z are almost as easy as spotting a unicorn. But here’s a hint, look for Quality Inn, an Xterra or Zaxby’s Chicken. On a particularly long drive you can start the game over by finding words that END with the corresponding letter. It’s an even greater challenge, but fun none-the-less. Also, try finding license plates that represent all 50 states. Chances are you might come across a few Canadian ones along the way too.
“I spy” is a good way to engage the family in a conversation while on the road. The person in charge comes up with an item and everyone asks yes or no questions. The goal is to narrow down what the object is by the time question 20 is reached. The process starts off broad and quickly becomes more specific.
“I’m going on a picnic.” This is a test of memory and alphabet skills. Someone starts with “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing (something that starts with A).” The next person repeats that and then adds an item with the letter B and so on. It’s fun to see who remembers what and sometimes with younger children a little prompting can be helpful. This isn’t a game that anyone “wins” it’s just a fun way to pass the time and help build memory skills.
Crossword puzzles, word searches, MadLibs or even just plain paper with crayons or markers can provide hours of enjoyment and spark creativity in kids of all ages. Younger kids might enjoy a coloring book, but now so-called adult coloring books are taking the world by storm so tweens and teenagers may get in on that action as well. If you’re on a bumpy road staying in the lines won’t be a requirement.
If you’re comfortable with your kids having a tablet or electronic device, there are a number of age appropriate apps they can play. Rodeo Stampede, Ice Age: Arctic Blast and GIFYme are a few of the new apps on the market that are free and kid appropriate. Libraries also allow you to download audio books. Decide on some stories that the family can agree on and you can play it through the car’s radio. Try and balance screen time with conversation time to engage your kids on the trip.