Are you fed up of hearing ‘Are we there yet?’ when travelling with your kids? Occupying your little ones during car journeys or even longer school walks can be a dreaded task for all of us parents. But it doesn’t have to be that way. All you need is a bit of creativity (and patience!). Leo and I love making up games when we walk to school every day and in the past we would also create new games in the car on the way to his nursery or back home.
Leo’s been very excited about helping me write this post so we hope you enjoy it with your children. We’d also be grateful if you could leave a comment for Leo at the bottom of this page. Thank you 🙂
1. SPOT THE COLOUR
Rules: You give your child a colour and their task is to find five things that are of that colour. You can make it easy by asking them to find anything that they can think of or you can increase the difficulty by asking them to find five specific things that they can see around them. The second option is particularly good when driving as they have to look around and the chances are they will need a bit longer to find their things. You score each other one point for each answer.
Want to make it even more fun? Our favourite twist to any game is that if you can’t come up with an answer (in this case, if you can’t find five things), then your opponent takes away all your points. Leo loves collecting all of my points!
2. ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Rules: Essentially, the aim of the game is to arrange words that you give to your child in alphabetical order. They will need to remember the words that you give them and then say them in the right order. The possibilities for themes are endless – you can do animals, fruit, vegetables, first names, football teams or whatever else your child may be interested in. You can also make it completely random.
Want to make it even more fun? Depending on your child’s age, you can make it easier or more difficult by changing the number of words they need to remember. So for the little ones, you can ask them to arrange just two words (e.g. giraffe and crocodile) and for the older ones, you could increase the number of words to five or even higher to really put their memory to the test (and yours as well!!).
3. QUESTION TIME
Rules: There’s no real rules here – the sky is your limit. For the little ones, you can start by asking simple ‘What’s your favourite?’ questions, along the lines of ‘What’s your favourite meal/ toy to play with/ bedtime book?‘ and make it a bit more conceptual for the older preschool/ school children. Our favourite ones are:
- ‘What kind of superpower would you like to have and why?’
- ‘If you had three wishes, what would they be?’
- ‘What would you do if you were a Queen/ King for a day?’
- ‘If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why?’
Want to make it even more fun? Another great version of this game is asking the ‘Would you rather…? questions. These are excellent to spark off some great discussions. Some of the questions are: ‘Would you rather eat snails or insects?’ or ‘Would you rather live in a cold country or a hot country?’. Once again, possibilities are endless here.
4. STORY TELLING
Rules: The aim of this game is to fire up your child’s imagination by asking them to tell you a story using the words: ‘first’, ‘next’, ‘then’ and ‘at last’. You can give them a theme for their story if they are struggling to start off (e.g. by giving them a few characters to play around with) or (even better) let them come up with whatever they want.
Want to make it even more fun? If you have more children travelling with you, you can ask them to take it in turns to add a sentence to the last part that their sibling has said. Naturally, you will want them to keep adding ‘and then’ to describe what happened next in their story. If they enjoy this game, it’s sure to occupy them for a long time.
5. COUNTRIES AND CAPITAL CITIES
This is Leo’s absolute favourite as he’s been obsessed with geography since his preschool discussed countries taking part in the Rio Olympics last summer. He now studies his globe and a map hanging on his bedroom wall pretty much every day, and his knowledge on countries is astounding. I personally don’t know another five-year old boy who knows the capitals of far away countries such as Kazakhstan or Ethiopia. In fact, I don’t think many grown-ups know these either! 😉
Rules: You can either play this game by going through letters of the alphabet and each person has to give one capital beginning with that letter to score a point (e.g. Astana/ Amsterdam, Bogota/ Berlin, etc.). Or you can give your child a country and ask them to tell the capital city.
Want to make it even more fun? You can also pick a country from the continent of their choice and keep going through all continents to ensure you test their knowledge on the whole world. Another way to make this game a bit more fun is to ask your child to come up with up to three-five things (depending on their age and interest level) that they know about the country that you give them. E.g. for France, it could be: Eiffel Tower, baguettes, croissants.
6. ‘I WENT TO…’ MEMORY GAME
This is a fairly well-known game but we threw it into the mix as we really enjoy playing memory games.
Rules: The first thing you need to do is decide on a country that you want to go to for an imaginary visit. Then you take it in turns to come up with things that you’ve bought in this country. They can be country-specific things or completely random things. The aim of the game is to remember all the things that you said and that the others have said by repeating “I went to (country) and bought x, and y, and z, and… “. The more players play, the more difficult (and fun!) this games becomes.
Want to make it even more fun? Come up with actions to describe your things – in fact, this will actually help you remember each item as our brains register the actions more than the words. This part always causes a great deal of amusement to us as we like to come up with the funniest actions to describe everyday items – after all, what action would you come up with for bread, for example, to help you remember that you said it?
7. ‘I DARE YOU’
Rules: We recently came up with this game and haven’t really ‘polished’ it but Leo seems to enjoy it so far. The aim of the game is to say a sentence with a word given to you by the other person whilst doing a ‘dare’. So for instance, you could ask your child: “I dare you to say a sentence with the words ‘Mum’ whilst wiggling your bottom.” 🙂 We think it’s a really fun game but at the same time educational as it helps children practise sentence making.
Want to make it even more fun? You could increase the difficulty level by asking your child to use two or three words in a sentence.
Do you have any interesting word games that you play with your children? Leo and I would love to find out.
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