December 12th, 2011
Travelling with kids can be a bit of a nightmare at times - no wait, scrap that - a LARGE nightmare ALL of the time. Especially if your journey is taking you across country, with many hours spent in the car.
So, if you know you're going to get sick of the "I'm bored!" and "When are we there?" laments, arm yourself with an artillery of entertaining travel games. P.s. They're great for adults too!
You probably know the drill, but just to recap... Someone has to choose an object (person, place, animal etc) and everyone else has to ask them "yes/no" type questions to guess who or what they are. If you're playing in a large group, the person who guesses correctly gets to choose an object next. However, taking turns works better in small groups.
Hint: Make a rule that the object has to be relevant to the area you're travelling through. So if you're in the Karoo - sheep, windmills, farmers and towns will be good choices.
While Twenty Questions can keep the entire family entertained, I-spy is much more suited to the attention span of kids. You can play using alphabet letters or colours e.g." I spy with my little eye something starting with an A" OR alternatively "I spy with my little eye, something yellow."
Hint: Limit guesses to three or four per person
Rock, paper scissors with a twist
While rock-paper-scissors can kids entertained for hours on end, keep it fresh by adding new hand signs every so often. One site suggests the addition of Spock and Lizard, but the possibilities are endless! Get your kids to each come up with a brand new sign with a special set of rules. It will give them a sense of control and keep the creative juices flowing.
Road trip treasure hunt
Make a comprehensive list of items to spot along the road while travelling. The items can be as commonplace as a South African flag, or as obscure as a white and black dog. The important thing is to make the list long enough to keep you busy for at least the entire day on the road, if not your entire holiday.
You can either opt to play in a large group, celebrating the completion of the hunt with some sort of treat, or against one another, where the one who manages to spot the most wins a prize. Make it even more exciting by rewarding each sighting with something special for the whole group. What this will be is up to you, but we suggest keeping it simple, like each person getting to play their favourite song.
Talk like a pirate
Have a jolly good time in the car by temporarily transforming it into a vessel of the vast seas. Each person has to pick a pirate persona, with the driver automatically being the Captain. The captain can appoint a first mate, a navigator and a lookout, and the rest of the passengers can perform various important tasks assigned to a pirate crew. Stick to calling each other by these names, handing out appropriate penalties for those who forget. And, talking about names, your car will need one too!
Now, determine yourselves a vocabulary of pirate speak and stick to it as you go along. A good idea would be to write some pirate words down beforehand with their meanings. Check out this list on MomsMinivan.com if you need some inspiration.
And... when you're finally there...
Don't let the kids slip into despair! Keep the smiles on their faces by introducing them to those good old-fashioned games you used to play when the backyard was your kingdom and the sidewalk your parade.
Hopscotch, What time is it mister wolf? (Wolf, wolf hoe laat is dit? In Afrikaans), Cat and Mouse and Sardines are all great fun and sure to keep the kids begging for more. Forgot the rules? Check out Today's Parents comprehensive list to brush up on your facts.
Do you have any other game suggestions? Tell us in the comment section below!