It’s that time of year again—summer. A time for vacations and long road trips to see grandparents or travel the country. If you’re looking for some fun activities to keep your kids from asking the infamous question, “Are we there yet?!” then consider this list of fun games the whole family can enjoy! Not only are your kids sure to have an adventure, these games will keep the family looking out the window, helping them see the landscape and preventing the onset of motion sickness.
The Alphabet Game. Have your children look for the letters of the alphabet in order from A to Z, and as they see the letter they can shout it out so that the family can move on to the next letter. If you drive by a letter that nobody calls, then it cannot be counted later. The person who spots it must call it out!
The rules can be modified depending on ages of kids and length of your trip as well as availability of signage on the road. Make it more challenging by discounting license plates and bumper stickers. For older and more competitive kids, have them find the letters individually but keep calling them out as the letters are seen and see who gets to Z first. Just be sure to have fun!
Counting Cars Game. This is a very easy and uncomplicated game that is great for anyone who knows colors and numbers. Call a color and have the kids count every vehicle—moving or parked that is that color. If you want to play to win, then see who gets to 100 cars first! For toddlers, stick to counting up to the numbers they know.
Increase the challenge with a penalty. If you pass a cemetery and it’s on your side of the car, you lose your cars and have to start counting from zero again. For older kids, change up the colors from time to time. This is a great game for all ages to play in the country or the city.
Family Trivia. Even if you didn’t bring a set of trivia cards, any family can play trivia in the car or on a plane ride. Have your child pick a topic or theme to be quizzed on. You can create your own categories such as American history, geography, science, mathematics, TV, movies, and even family members (yes, quiz them on what they know about your family!). Toddlers don’t usually understand the concept of categories, but you can help them by asking them what or who they like and then ask questions on that topic.
Parents create the question appropriate to age level, and the child attempts to give the correct answer. If the child doesn’t know the answer and there are other children, see if any of the other kids can guess. Take turns, see what your kids know, and learn something too!
I Spy. This game is about something you’ve seen on the road that would be memorable or visible to everyone in the car. Start by having a parent give a clue to the kids, such as “I spy something green.” As the kids guess, gradually give out more clues until they figure it out.
Looking outside the car is important for keeping car sickness at bay, so even with I Spy, keep talking about something outside. You will be amazed at what your kids are paying attention to on the long drive. And a bonus this helps build mindfulness in our children. By getting them into the present moment. Helping them move through boredom by being here NOW and accepting it for what it is (even if it’s unpleasant) is a great skill building for delayed gratification and being mindful…
Our toddler Ayaan loves playing this game at the airport and on the airplane when delays are inevitable. There is so much new to see and for him to experience. Sometimes he just needs a gentle and playful redirection by us to be present to all the new things to explore.
Let us know if you try one of these games and how it worked for you!
This summer, we at BBANJ hope you enjoy your family vacations and quality time spent together. May you have a safe and fun journey, and we’ll see you when you get back!
Chirag and Tejal