Heading Out On The Open Road? Not Without These Road Trip Games

For most families, summer is synonymous with road trips in the car.  But, those many hours spent cooped up can lead to boredom—and after a while, even iPads, MP3s, and video games can get dull.

Why not use this opportunity to introduce the kids to these classic car games? Not only are they fun for the whole family, they challenge the brain in different ways that today’s techno-generation may not be used to.  As an added bonus, they help develop focus, listening, memory, and attention skills—but, shh! Don’t tell the kids that!

And don’t forget! The rules are flexible and the point is to have fun and challenge the brain while passing the time together.

The Alphabet List Game

How to play:

Select a theme. Some good themes are: animals, cities, fruits and vegetables, sports teams, pizza toppings, underwater, etc.

The first person begins with the letter A and gives an example of something that begins with the letter A. For animals, it would be Alligator, for cities, Amsterdam, etc.

Then the next person gets the letter B, the following person the letter C. Take turns, each person coming up with an example for the letter that they land on, until somebody can’t think of an example.

The Listen-Backwards Game

How to play:

Say a series of random words—and have the kids repeat them back in the opposite order.  You: “cat, shed.”  Child: “shed, cat”

Start with 2 words and, as proficiency improves, increase the number of words. Try creating a backwards sentence so that when the kids say it back to you, they are decoding a message.

The I-Packed-a-Suitcase Game

How to play:

One person begins with the sentence: “I packed a suitcase, and in it I put…” followed by an item of that person’s choice, such as “a swimsuit.”

The next person also starts with the same statement, “I packed a suitcase, and in it I put…” then repeats what the first person said, and adds his or her own item, “a swimsuit, and a towel,” and so on.

Adjust the level of difficulty and absurdity, and play until someone forgets an item.

The I-Spy Game

How to play:

This easy-to-play game is always popular with younger children. Simply select any object in the car, or in the scenery and say, “I spy with my little eye, something that is [that color/shape].” Then the kids take turns guessing what the item is. Adjust the difficulty to meet the age of the child.

Tip: When kids are stumped, give them a phonetic clue. For instance, “it starts with the sound ‘mmmm’.”

Twenty Questions

How to Play:

One person selects something from the category of animal, vegetable, or mineral.

Everybody else has 20 questions in which to discover what that something is.

The trick is that all answers must be a yes or a no. This challenges the asker to phrase the questions in a specific way in order to get a yes or no answer.

This is a great game to develop critical thinking skills.

Oxford Learning provides supplemental education services across North America. It offers programs for young people from preschool through university, and its cognitive approach goes beyond tutoring to ignite a lifelong love of learning. Find out more at http://www.OxfordLearning.com.