Car Games for Families
From frenzied to fun
Creativity is the key to making car travel games fun, and as long as you have the time and two or more people in the car, you can come up with tons of ideas. Nancy French, of Philadelphia, plays a cause and effect game with her children called What Caused It? “I’ll say, ‘Camille, you walk into a room, and there is water all over the floor,’ and she’ll say, ‘The plant leaked’ or ‘Someone left the bath water on.’” The opposite of French’s What Caused It is a game called What Happens Next? She’ll offer a scenario such as “We’re on our way to the store when we see it’s raining outside.” Her three-year-old son, Austin, may suggest they wait for the rain to stop or they grab their umbrella. Then Nancy provides the next scenario, based on Austin’s answer, and so it goes. “These are great ways to teach logical consequences and causes of action,” said French, who jokingly says her favorite car game is called If You Make One More Sound, I Will Turn This Car Around Right Now. She says, “The kids don’t like this one as well, but it helps pass the time away!”
What better opportunity to teach your children about the world than by learning about the cities and states you are passing through and heading toward. Laurie Borman, editorial director for Rand McNally, offers some suggestions for fun geography car games appropriate for young children. “Parents can reduce backseat bickering and front-seat frustration, while encouraging learning and family interaction, with activity books and maps.” Rand McNally offers a series of books for children that not only entertain, but educate as well. The Kids’ Map of the United States is geared to children ages five and up, and is an illustrated, easy to read folded map that includes national parks, state capitals, fun games, trivia and points of interest. This is a great way to keep the children busy while they learn about their country.
Julie Wenckowski, of Lake Zurich, IL has a fabulous way of passing the time in the car while offering a geography lesson to her two daughters. She prints a map of their trip and puts it on the window in the backseat, so her girls can track their travels. “Laurel and Emma put stickers on big cities as we get there,” said Wenckowski. “This gives them a sense of progress and time.”
Let’s Sing and Dance
For those musically inclined, there are CDs the whole family can sing along with including the popular “Kidz Bop” series that features hip songs both you and your kids are bound to know. Most children’s movie soundtracks have songs that adults will love too. Shrek 2, Freaky Friday and The Wild Thornberrys are just a few movies that include songs you and your children may agree upon. Or, if your family is fond of karaoke, make a small investment in All-American Car-I-Oke by David Schiller (Workman Publishing, 2003), a book and CD for backseat singers. Other great CDs include Under A Big Bright Yellow Umbrella by Yosi, Zak Morgan’s When Bullfrogs Croak and Milkshake’s Happy Songs, all of which have won or been nominated for parenting awards.
So leave behind the DVDs and hit the road ready to experiment with some fun new ways to pass the time en route. Who knows, you might even learn something! Getting there really can be half the fun.
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