Recently, I took a nine hour road trip to a family gathering. I had the pleasure *forced smile* of riding with a five year old, who hadn’t developed the skill of amusing himself.
Luckily, as with most children growing up in this age, they are addicted to television and will zone out into that peaceful quiet as soon as you press Play.
Unluckily, technology isn’t fool proof and no one had thought to make sure the laptop was fully charged before packing it for the road trip. So, shortly into the trip, I was forced to ravage my childhood memories for a few games to keep the “Prince” amused. Here a few that I came up with.
1) I spy. In my family, we used colors. One individual will say, “I spy something (insert color). The other players would attempt to guess what you see within a few seconds. It’s a fun and easy game, especially for younger children.
For example: I spy something yellow. In response: That tractor.
2) Road Trip A-Z. In this game, begin with the letter A, and as the trip progresses, try to name an item for each letter of the alphabet. The item must be something that you see during the trip and that is outside of the car. For younger kids, you may have to sound out the letter, and give a few examples. They catch on fast.
For example: A – advertisement; B – baby; C – cow, until the letter Z.
3) Punch Buggy. Keep your eye out for Volkswagon Beetles. When one is spotted, someone must yell out “Punch Buggy” and its color. When I was younger, my brother and I would actually punch each other, but this is not mandatory. It’s exciting to spot the cars before anyone else.
4) Fairy Tales. Begin to tell a familiar story. At certain points in the story, pause to allow the child to interject his own nouns. Use these nouns and continue the story. Be ready for the absurd.
For example: You – Once upon a time, there were three little _________.
Child – Dogs!
You – The three little dogs wanted to build _________.
Child – Cars!
You – One little dog built his car out of straw, another little dog built his car out of sticks and the last little dog built his car out of bricks. One day….
You can change the story so that it makes sense, just remember to use the nouns provided. Although, the child will probably correct you if you don’t!
5) I didn’t check Edmunds before my trip, but this site shares its own list of fun road trip games for families.
As you can see, I did survive the road trip, although I didn’t do nearly as much reading and writing as I had planned. And just in case you’re wondering how I got anything done, the little one fell asleep.
He’d just eaten lunch and we’d already finished a couple of stories. When we started on “The Three Little Bears”, I noticed that he was getting tired.
So, when the three little “fish” caught Goldilocks, they had a very long discussion with her about how it isn’t nice to eat someone else’s “chicken nuggets” and sit on people’s “horses” and sleep on people’s “couches” without permission. I also gave Goldilocks a lesson about how she must stay in school and go to college and get her own apartment and learn to manage her bills, etc, etc.
After a long ten minutes of this stream of conscious conversation with Goldilocks, I turned around and the “Prince” was sleeping.
Enjoy the games and I hope you’re as lucky.
Share your own games below.