We’ve all heard it – the dreaded “are we there yet?” Even though I don’t have children yet, I’ve been (un)fortunate enough to spend an ample amount of time inside of vehicles with children (and adults) who have road patience on par with someone in line for the toilet at a bar.
With oil prices dropping to recent lows and the heavy summer travel season just beginning to gear up, there’s a fair chance you’re going to find yourself stuck in the car with an individual or two who simply has had enough of being in the car.
Luckily for all of us, British car hire service carhiremarket.com recently released an original list of “Top Ten In-Car Games For Kids” in order to help the time in the car pass a little more quickly. It is a brilliantly compiled list, which even highlights the potential pros and cons of each game (e.g. ducking under every bridge could cause back pain in some adults). The list includes classics such as counting the number of blue or red cars to obscure ones such as scoring a running tally of the number of legs featured on the mascots of local pubs.
While none of these make for a quiet or even a relaxed car ride, they hopefully will at least burn enough time to make getting to Ant Edna’s and back a tolerable experience.
Martha recently wrote in a post about road trip games inspired by her 5 day trip across the Canadian praries.
Here is a game that we play on trips. This is a version of the alphabet game. In this version players search billboards and road signs for letters of the alphabet starting with the letter A. A sign can only be used once. Once you see the letter you need, you call out what it is and the sign where you saw it. You have to go in alphabetical order. Once a sign is used you move onto the another letter on another sign. Whoever gets to Z first wins.
And here are three road trip games you can buy. Kevin Joy, a writer for the Columbus Dispatch pulled together suggestions in an article I’ve culled from. These particular three appeal to me because they don’t require technology to play.
Conversations to Go—If you want to think of things to talk about, here’s a solution. This game doesn’t seem to have winners or losers. According to the description there are cards with questions that center on travel. If you’re creative, why not think up your own questions? On the otherhand, pulling questions from a box have a certain random appeal tha breaks down trip monotony.
Miles of Smiles: Travel Games & Quizzes to Go. This one is published by American Girl so the cover looks “girlie”. Hopefully, the games inside would interest boys as well. I like these game books because they provide many options from which to choose. When stuck in a car for the next 50 miles until there’s a highway exit, it’s great to have some control over something.
Are We There Yet? – This one looks like it might be my favorite of the bunch. It’s a card game, scavenger hunt where players are delt five cards with items on them. Whoever finds their items first wins. To speed things up (like in Wyoming it could take hours to see something new) you can put a time limit or within a mile limit on this one.
I spent the last 5 days driving across the Canadian prairies with my friend Sarah. We drove about 2800 km in total (about 1740 miles for you non-metrics), entertained only by a few CDs randomly chucked into the car in haste, one gossip magazine and about 50 country music stations per town. Oh, and a few road trip games made up for such purposes, such as:
Cows: My friend Alissa taught me this. Whenever you pass a field of cows, you yell cows and quickly count the number of cows in the field, to a maximum of 17.You can then bank that number of cows and at the end of the trip, the person with the most cows wins. The catch is cemeteries. If one of your opponents sees a cemetery, they can get rid of all of your cows by yelling cemetery! It’s pretty thrilling when you’re surrounded by pretty much nothing but cows. Though don’t play it on a bus — people will think you’re strange for being so happy to see a cemetery.
License plate: The object of this game is to make the best word or phrase out of the letters on a license plate. For example, a plate that reads JXT 986 could be Juxtaposition 983! (with exclamation mark because you must yell it out.) Or UKJ 123 could be Ukulele Jingle or Yukon Jack 123! The judging part can be a bit tricky, but I guess there are no real winners — it’s about bringing creativity to the car.
Cars: Each person picks a color. Say you pick Blue and your opponent picks white. You count the blue cars that you see, and your opponent counts the white cars. Whoever gets to, say, 15 first wins. Yay!
You know, when you write them down, they sound pretty dull. Here’s a list of some more interesting games that I will bring next time I spend so much time in the car.