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Opening Doors for Children & Families

Punch Buggy No Returns

Today I have the pleasure of going a road trip with my 4-year-old 'niece.' I use quotes because she is my pretend niece, the niece I've never had if you will, since my siblings decided to have all boy children. She loves lipgloss, and dollies, and dress up, and Starbucks so we have a lot in common. I enjoy spending time with her but the longest road trip we have been on is maybe 30 minutes. So what will I do to keep this little one entertained? I can only stop at Starbucks so many times before our trip turns into a tour of gas station bathrooms.

It would be great if I had one of those fancy portable DVD players but I don't. So I have to resort to good ol' car games like the ones I played as a kid. I never had a TV screen in the vehicle on long trips. I didn't have a smart phone, a tablet, a hand held game console. NO! My siblings and I had to make our own fun. Being it's the long weekend here in Alberta, and the nicest weekend we've had in 10 months, I'm sure most of you are heading on some sort of road trip as well. Some of you might also have children in the car, but even if you don't sometimes its just nice to play a game to pass the time.

Some of these games we play in ABC Head Start classrooms, so they have been extensively researched and tested on children for their level of fun and excitement. ;)

1. Of course there is the traditional Eye Spy. Where one person in the car chooses an object around them and gives the others a clue by saying "I spy with my little eye, something that is..."

2. SPELLING BEE! A good ol' fashioned spelling bee where one person in the car picks a word and the others have to try to spell it. For children who are not quite old enough, maybe they can try to get the first letter of the word.

3. Create a family story. One person in the car will start the story with the first line and you build the story line by line, person by person.

4. The alphabet game. This was my favourite and most played growing up. Choose a topic and go through the alphabet naming items that relate to the topic. Some fun topics we played were places in Alberta, sports teams, movies, tv shows, or musicians. To make it easier for smaller children choose topics like animals or foods.

5. Pick-a-colour. Choose a colour and the first person to spot vehicles of that colour yells out the name of the colour. Each person gets points for being the first to spot it.

6. Fortunatley-unfortunatley. The first person will make an unfortunate statement like "Unfortunately an asteroid is going to hit earth." The second person must make a positive statement like "Fortunately I have a laser beam to shoot it before it hits." I love that this game gets children thinking positively.

7. Name that tune. One person whistles or hums a tune and the others have to guess it.

8. Count the... can be anything: cows, telephone poles, headlights, train cars, blue pickup trucks — you name it.

9. Would you rather...This is my nephews favourite game. If you can make it rhyme it's even more fun. For example would you rather kiss a dog? or sleep in a log? The more absurd the more fun!

10. License plate lingo. The goal of this game is to come up with a phrase using the letters on passing license plates. For example, if you see a plate with the letters "EIC," your phrase could be "eat ice cream."

There you have it, a whole list of games to keep you and your road trip compadres occupied. What are your favourite road trip games??

ABC Head Start Society is a registered charity which has been committed to promoting and supporting strong children, families, and communities in Edmonton for over 30 years. We know that by giving children the best possible early learning and development opportunities in life, we ensure the future well-being and prosperity of our families and communities.