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Are We There Yet?: Summer Travel Survival – Car Games for Kids

Summertime is a fantastic time of year; time for sunshine, playtime and travel. Yet with travel can come long car trips and it can be challenging to keep the kids entertained. Most vehicles now have DVD players or kids have MP3 players or gaming systems; but for those parents who wish to either break up the techno session or break away from it all together, there are lots of fun games and activities that can be done in the car.

These games are simple, appropriate for all ages and use little or no equipment. Why not turn the car ride into some quality family time? Try these games on your next road trip this summer.

Counting Cows
Each person or team counts cows on the side of the road keeping a running tally. This can be quite challenging as you could pass a field that has lots of cows and since you are moving, you have to count fast! If you pass a cemetery, you lose all your cows and start at zero, but only if the other team calls, “Your cows are buried!” This can be lots of fun as people try to create distractions so others miss cows or cemeteries.

Each person takes turns saying sentences starting with fortunately and unfortunately. For example, one person may say, “Unfortunately, there’s a snake in the car.” The next person may say, “Fortunately, he is not poisonous,” and so on alternating back and forth.

Virtual Hide-and-Seek

Think of your house and pick a place to hide, imagine yourself there. This is fun as you can be any size and hide in some unique places. The other players ask questions to narrow down where you are. For example, “Are you in the kitchen?”; “Are you in a cupboard?” Kids have lots of fun ‘hiding’ in places they normally couldn’t.

The Alphabet Game
Each person goes through the alphabet using letters on signs. Starting at A, the first person to reach Z wins. For example, if a person sees the letter A on a sign they call, “A in maximum” and then move on to the letter B. This can also be done with numbers starting at one going up to whatever number you choose.

Licence Plates

There are a couple of games that you can play using licence plates. One is to take the numbers on a licence plate and see who can add them up correctly. Another is to ‘collect’ licence plates by trying to find one of each province or state. This game could last the whole trip or be played throughout the whole summer.

I Spy
One person picks an item either inside or outside of the car and says, “I spy with my little eye something that is green” (or whatever color it is). Then everyone takes a turn guessing what it is. This can be tricky if you are picking items outside the car because if you are moving, there is only so much time to guess before
you pass it.

With all these great games and activities, you’ll have hours of technology-free entertainment. It gives everyone a chance to interact, chat and play with each other and isn’t that what a family vacation is all about?

Carmen is a writer, mother and outdoor educator. She loves to share her passion for the outdoors with all ages, especially with her children.


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