Call me crazy, but we do not allow the kids to have iPads or any electronics in the car – even on long journeys.
We often travel up to the Murray to visit family. I see it as an opportunity that the kids HAVE to listen to me because they can’t get away! When they were younger there was lots of nursery rhyme singing, language modelling as we talked about things we saw, counting, learning colours etc. (they also used to sleep which was blissful!)
Now that the kiddies are 4, 7 and 9 here are some of games we play (and the the pro’s and con’s of each one!:
1. Spotto – a player chooses an object that the first one to see yells ‘spotto’ and then it is their turn.
Pros – teaches new vocabulary. My oldest said to spot a ‘windmill’ which created a discussion about wind power, turbines, clean energy etc.
Cons – the fights about who said ‘spotto’ first!
2. Car cricket: cars coming the other way are assigned a number value based on colour, with a particular colour being out. For example, white is 1 run, blue is 2 runs, trucks are 4 runs etc. You have to add up your runs.
Pros – teaches kids plus sums
Cons – that my 9 year old is quicker and more accurate than me at addition!
3. Eye spy: originally, we started this with colours but now do a combination of colours and letters it starts with so all can join in.
Pros – teaches initial sound in words (we use the sound not the letter name) which is a literacy skill. Teaches new vocabulary and to observe the world around them.
Cons – Can’t actually think of any! I love this game!
4. I went shopping and I bought…….(everyone has to remember the ones said before them before adding their own item)
Pros – works on memory and concentration skills.
Cons – a bit difficult for the youngest, so I give him the start of each word (that’s if I remember!)
5. Hey DJ – we take it in turns to choose a song to listen to
Pros – teaches turntaking and respecting others choices without making fun of them.
Cons – my son LOVES ‘Let it go’ from Frozen which I have already endured once before with my 9 year old!
6. 20 Questions – Player One thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After each answer, the questioner gets one guess. Play continues until a player guesses correctly.
Pros – great language game to teach questions, thinking in categories and thinking about information to work out the answer.
Cons – bit hard for Mr 4 year old so we usually play this one when he is asleep
AND my all time favourite –
7. ‘dead fish’ – whoever is the quietest for the longest is the winner!
Pros – the silence!
Cons – there aren’t any!
We don’t play these games the WHOLE car trip. Sometimes the kids just chat or fight amongst themselves.
I hope I have given you a few ideas for games so that you don’t hear “Are we there yet?” every 5 minutes!
Happy travels these school holidays!