Hit the Road: 8 games to play in the car with kids
Car journeys used to be the stuff of family legend. They’re not quite the same now kids can just plug into devices, but there is still room to strike a balance with some good old fashioned car games. Here are eight that promise to help make memories and also sneak in maths, memory, storytelling and reasoning skills.
1. Animals, Fruits and Vegetables
One person chooses an animal/fruit/vegetable and the others try and guess by asking yes or no questions. My son often chooses a fictitious animal of his own creation just to keep us on our toes, like the time we spent miles and miles trying to guess he was a ‘skeleton ghost wolf’...
2. Pub cricket
This is great for winding country routes. Play altogether or get competitive and divide the car into teams. You have to count the limbs in each pub named passed. So The Brewers Arms would be 2 (arms only), The Queen would be 4 (arms and legs). If you are playing in teams, when you hit a non-limbed pub, eg The Millstone, then the other team take over and bat. Great bit of sneaky maths. Taught to me by Mr Rowley on my Year 6 school residential to Wales.
3. Fizz Buzz
I vaguely remember this one from school. Practice counting to 100, but every multiple of five has to be replaced by the word buzz. Miss one and the whole team starts again. Add to this with other multiples, e.g. tens are fizz or odd numbers are pop. Older kids can tackle more complicated multiples.
4. Banana cars
Count the yellow cars. Add giving a light punch to your neighbour on spotting a yellow car… if you think your kids can keep it under control!
5. I went to the shops/on a picnic/on an awesome adventure and I bought…
Take it in turns going round the car, and through the alphabet. The first person buys something beginning with A, second B, third C etc. Each time you have to remember all the things that have been bought.
This game is always started with enthusiasm, although we have rarely got past H in all honestly. Still, every minute when they aren’t fighting counts.
For younger children or when we are short on focus we just play it without the memory element, so let’s take it in turns to name animals through the alphabet, or girls’ or boy’s names, films, or foods.
6. Would you rather?
Stroke a rat or a snake? Fall down a toilet, or into a vat of cockroaches. Appeals to kids natural attraction to things deadly, gruesome or toilet humour related. They get good at making their own up after a while.
Take it in turns to look out the window and make up stories about who the first person you see is. What are they doing, where are they going, what is their job, their top secret? Obviously to be played with kids who understand the need to play this with some discretion!
8. Cloud shapes
I love this one, no rules to argue over and it is very soothing. Look at the sky and tell me what you see kids!