7 Car Games for Kids to Keep Them Entertained
Going on a road trip with your kids? Turn off the DVD player or iPhone and try these games instead.
"Are we there yet?" You'll hear it more than once on your next road trip. It might be tempting to hand over your tablet or a video game to keep your kids happily entertained. Instead of relying on devices like those, however, assemble an arsenal of car games for kids that engage their imaginations and bring you closer as a family. Laura Garland of Horizon Health, a speech pathologist and mother, explains that "children need to interact with their caregivers and form bonds, and screens cannot offer that interaction."
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On your next car ride, try these seven games with your kids:
- I Spy
It's a classic among car games for kids for a reason. It's ideal for the younger crowd and can be played with any number of players. Ask one of your kids to choose an object and say, "I spy with my little eye something that is red" (or any color she chooses). The others will take turns guessing the chosen object. Simple, right? Add a twist to the game by using letters or rhyming sounds. For example, you could say, "I spy with my little eye something that starts (or ends) with the letter E," or "... rhymes with plane."
- License Plate Bingo
This game will have your little ones' eyes glued to the windows, looking at every license place that goes by. Ask your kids to find the letters in their names or in the name of your destination. If you really want to up the ante, ask them to be first to get through the entire alphabet. Don't be surprised if you join in on this one; it's a great way to pass the time for any kid (or kid at heart).
- Spelling Bee
You may have to do a little prep beforehand, but this is an excellent game to entertain kids while reinforcing school lessons. Prepare cards at the vocabulary level for each child and ask them to take turns calling out words. They earn a point for each word they spell right -- their teachers will thank you!
Pick a number in a sequence that you can't say. You also are not able to say any multiple of this number. For example, if the chosen number is three, the sequence would be "1, 2, buzz, 4, 5, buzz" and so on. Don't get caught calling out a wrong number because the other players will yell "BUZZ" to let you know.
- The Alphabet Game
If your little car mates get restless, ask them to choose a category such as "animals" or "fruit." Beginning at the top of the alphabet, take turns naming one item from that category for each letter of the alphabet. The first person to be stumped is out of the game. They can play as long as you can keep coming up with topics.
- Story Starters
If you want your backseat to erupt in giggles, try this game. Have kids take turns telling a story sentence by sentence. Kids go back and forth until the silly story is told. Make it tricky by asking them to add in random characters and settings. Garland says that games that promote creativity are key. "Exercising your brain can help keep school skills fresh and can prevent the regression we sometimes see after an extended absence from school," she says.
- Find It First
Do as the name suggests -- find it first. Whether it's a school bus or a cow grazing in a field, spot the item first for the win. Make sure you have a number of examples ready to keep this game going on and on. This game is great for kids of all ages, and can be made more difficult depending on your child's age (simply pick hard-to-spot objects, like bird nests, for older kids).
Want more fun ideas? Check out these 53 Fun Car Games for Kids .
Take full advantage of your time on the road by playing these car games for kids. In addition to reinforcing school concepts, interactive games like these allow your kids to practice valuable interpersonal skills. Erin Sharpe, author of the blog Ausome Sharpe, encourages her kids to play interactive car games because her children "learn essential skills like communication, turn taking and winning and losing graciously" -- important skills for any kid to practice!
Shanell Mouland writes for Huffington Post as well as her own blog, which is dedicated to telling stories of the care and raising of her autistic daughter, Kate, and her super sibling, Grace.