Last summer my family flew up to Seattle for a family vacation. We had a lot of fun activities planned for the girls who were four and three at the time. In my head, I envisioned us clapping with glee as we saw Orca whales in their natural habitat, splashing through unexpected rain showers, and growing closer together as a family. Instead, I was ready to ditch the girls at the side of the road in Vancouver. All the "fun" activities on our itinerary required a lot of driving to reach these locations. The girls fought, screamed, whined everyday while in the car. I was prepared for the airplane ride, but now I know that I should have also prepared for all the car travel. Here are some car games for young children that are sure to keep them occupied—adult interaction most likely required. But hey, it beats hearing "Are we there yet?" for the millionth time, right?
Everyone takes turns choosing a word and finding a rhyme to the word. For younger kids, have the kids tell you a word and you find a rhyme. As the kids get older, you can give them the word and they need to find the rhyme. Eventually, the kids can do it all on their own and leave you in peace.
Search for the Alphabet
Have the kids work in a team to find all the letters of the alphabet in order. Only one item per letter can be used. For example, if a sign says "ABC Plumbing," the kids can only count "A" from the sign, and need to find another sign or license plate that has the letter "B."
Make up your own silly sounds. Make sounds for different things you see. For example, say "beep-beep" when you see a yellow car, "ding-dong" when you see a yellow house, "ho-ho-ho" when you see a red house, and "honk-honk" when you see a goose, etc. You want things that you don't see too often. Big kids like this game too!
Other activities that need advance preparation:
Map to Destination
Make a map for each child that indicates the starting point and destination. You can also include some cities or interesting landmarks that you will be passing, as well as any stops that you know you will be making. If your children can read, have them find the signs for the cities you are passing along the way. Otherwise, you can give your children crayons and they can mark their maps as you pass each point of interest specified on their maps. This will give the kids a sense of how long it will take to reach the destination.
Who Am I?
Make cards with a different character or animal on each card and put them into a bag. Everyone takes turns picking a card out of the bag and giving the rest of the family clues about his/her identity.
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