Holidays are often synonymous with long car trips. To keep your little ones happy, try keeping them in engaged with these fun activities.
License Plate Lingo – This can be played two ways. First, you and your kids can take turns to make words out of the letters on the license plate of the car in front of you. For example, 894 GKP could become Green Ketchup People or Gold Kitchen Pickles. The other way to play the game is to find personalized license plates and try to decipher the meaning—some are pretty simple—others not so much!
Are we there yet? – Provide each child with their own mapped route from starting to end point (print out a Google or MapQuest trip map) and have the kids check road signs against map markers to see where they are on their journey. Kids can also use markers or stickers to identify locations they’ve passed throughout the trip.
Eye spy – An all-time favorite! One occupant starts the game by “spying” something—inside or immediately surrounding the vehicle—and then says, “I spy something that is…” and then uses a color or the letter the item starts with to provide a hint as to what they’re looking at. Everyone takes turns guessing until the actual item is identified. If no one guesses the item, the Spy gets a point. Each correct guess also earns a point. The player with the most points can decide the next game or could be rewarded with a trinket from the next stop.
A to Z – This game starts with someone naming an animal that begins with the letter “A,” as in ape. Each kid can take a turn naming an animal with the next letter of the alphabet, skipping over Q and X. Continue through the alphabet, omitting animals that have been named in previous rounds, and omitting players who can’t think of an animal for their letter, until one player remains, who is named the winner.
Scavenger Hunt – Print out a list (or use images if your kids aren’t reading yet) to identify targets that your kids need to be on the look out for along your drive. A specific vehicle (motorcycle, van, RV, trailer, boat), a license plate from a particular state (not the one you’re driving in), an animal, a particular road sign, service station logo, fast food restaurant, and so on. When seen, the person needs to shout out and point to the target, with the first person to identify the target getting a point. Points can be redeemed for trinkets or treats.
Inner Artist – Invest in a set of washable window markers and a package of wipes and let your little Picassos express their inner artist on your car window. Being allowed to scribble on the car window is pretty exciting, and wipes can clear the “canvas” for other inspirations. A small white erase board can be provided to the kid sitting in the middle seat, and seats can be rotated so that everyone gets a turn at window design.
Activity Books – There are many great choices available, and you might want to consider from Silver Dolphin Books The Big Book of Monster Stickers—with more than 500 stickers and hours of awesome activities, The Big Book of Monster Stickers is so fun it’s frightening! Each activity helps your child learn simple concepts while exploring the exciting world of stickers. Kids can learn their numbers by counting the number of eyes each monster has (some have up to eight!) They can learn their shapes by separating square monsters from circle monsters. And they can learn their colors by matching each monster to the color it likes to eat. There are monsters in space, monsters at sea, and monsters running a race. There are twin monsters and germ monsters, monsters who love the color pink and monsters who bake cakes. But these many monsters have one thing in common—they can all help teach kids simple facts and concepts in an enjoyable way. Silver Dolphin has many other activity books to choose from. Check them out here.
Sing Alongs – Bring a couple of your kids’ favorite CDs or holiday songs CDs, or load up your portable music player and the kids can take turns choosing their favorite song for everyone to sing along to!
Finally, there is always the parental favorite—The Quiet Game. This game challenges kids to be the quietest for the longest period of time. Each kid takes a turn saying Did too or Did not, back and forth, getting quieter and taking longer to say their response with each turn, until someone says their response so softly that it isn’t heard by the other person, and thereby wins the game. Loud outbursts automatically lose the game for whoever makes them!