It's seven o'clock on the morning of your first family summer road trip. The car is packed with clothes, toys and snacks for the drive. Your weary family members are in their seats, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes as you head for the coffee shop on your way out of town. As the kids slowly come out of their early-morning haze, you notice the toys aren't keeping them as quiet as you'd hoped. Dolls and figurines get discarded, colouring books are thrown to the floor and soon they become restless and irritable.
So how can you ensure your trip is as peaceful and headache-free as possible? Games that are both fun and challenging to your kids are your best bet to keep them busy -- and possibly quiet -- for hours. Here are a few games your kids can play with you or on their own that are sure to make the journey as much fun as the destination. All games are for ages four and up.
• License plates: Print off a list of all the provinces and states and have your children keep track of how many you see from which province or state. Add challenges like making phrases from the letters on the plates (ZXY would be Zelda Xylophones Yearly) or holding a contest to see who can guess how many plates from which area will be spotted.
• Counting games: Pick a make or colour of vehicle and keep track of how many you see. Give each person playing a different colour or make to spot and see who can reach 50 first. Add variations to make the game more challenging -- if you pass an auto repair shop and someone says "your blue cars are in the shop," then you're back at zero and must begin counting again.
• Word games: Put those pesky billboards to use by playing an alphabet game. Start at the letter A and find a word that uses that letter. Once you see the word, say it out loud, then move on to B. Make the game more challenging by saying the word can only have the letter once, or that it can't have the letters that come before or after your letter in the alphabet (the word for E couldn't have D or F in it, for instance).
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover fun road games with words on page 2
• Road Games: If the scenery isn't keeping your kids amused, pop one of these CDs from Rumba Games into the player and keep your kids guessing for ages. The two new editions to the popular Road Games set are Spelling Bee and Famous Quotes of the 20th Century. The questions begin easy and gradually become more difficult as you work your way through the game. One person is charged with keeping score and the person with the most points wins. You can also hit Random on your CD player to switch up the order, mixing difficult and easy questions together to keep everybody guessing. Both CDs are $9.95 and will be available in June.
• Cube Word: If you're hoping for some quiet time for yourself, get the kids in the back going with Cube Word, a new offering coming in June from Rumba Games. Touted as "15 games in your pocket," Cube Word tests your child's ability to form words on a playing surface to earn the most points. The game comes with cubes that have a letter, number or blank face on each surface, as well as a carrying case. By placing cubes on the playing surface, moving them around or turning them to show a new letter, your child must discover how many words they can make to earn the most points. The game will retail for $9.95 and also includes a solo version of the game for one-kid adventures. (And if all else fails, learn to relieve muscle tension in the car for piece of mind until the next rest area!)
Read more: Educational games for kids.
Page 2 of 2