Who likes car trips?! To be quite honest, our family loved them. It was our time to spend uninterrupted hours reading, singing, playing car games and guessing games, reminiscing about previous car trips, camping trips, family vacations or family disasters! Talk about a captive audience!
Granted, it’s not always hunky-dory and there are definitely ages and stages when it is easier. I remember traveling with our firstborn when he was very little. He didn’t care for the car seat much and often worked himself up into a tizzy until we finally pulled over, took him out and tried to calm him down. However, once he was put back in, it would start all over again. Traveling with little ones can often be exasperating! Never did we travel with him NOT in the car seat however…that’s just asking for trouble, or worse. One time he got himself so frantic that both of his eyelids popped inside out, which totally freaked me out, which in turn totally freaked out my husband! “What?! What?!” he screamed as he yanked the steering wheel to pull the car off the road in no time flat. I had no idea a baby could do that!
One of the things that we never had “back in the day” was a TV in the car, so we had to revert to our own family entertainment. Once the kids got older we would spend the hours on the road playing games like: 20 questions (where you guess what the person is thinking of by asking questions like: is it inanimate? Is it bigger than a breadbox? Is it used in the house or outside? that sort of thing), The Alphabet Game (where you decide on a category: someone starts and says a word in that category and the next person has to take the last letter of the previous word as the beginning of their word in that category). You can play the same game with geography words, using anything found on a map.
The license plate game requires the players to look at license plates and come up with a word that uses the letters in the license plate in the same order. Another way to use license plates for a game is to compete and see who gets the most plates from the most states? Once called out, another person can’t claim that particular plate. Then there’s the name game with famous people’s initials. You think of a celebrity or world renowned person in history, dead or alive, give everyone the initials and have them ask questions: is this person male or female, dead or alive, in politics? in entertainment? in sports? It’s great fun~
Have you ever played the word game where each player takes turn adding one letter at a time to a word while trying not to complete the word. Here’s another fun completing game: one person starts to tell a story and stops whenever they wish~ It can be in the middle of a thought, or even in the middle of a word. (This is a good one for little people!) The next person has to pick up the thread and keep weaving the tale…it gets more and more convoluted or wonderfully creative and imaginative, depending on the age of your children!
A tricky one is “Aunt Annie went shopping and she got apples.” Then the next person says, “Aunt Annie went shopping and she got apples and a basketball.” The next person could say, “Aunt Annie went shopping and she got apples, a basketball and a cornucopia!” etc. all the way to the letter Z. To make it even more challenging for older kids, have them repeat things backward, starting with the letter they have, then reciting everything back to A in reverse! You’ll soon have everyone rolling!
Whatever happened to the good old days, when car trips were for enjoying time as a family? Now, everybody hunkers down with their Smartphones and texts their friends, plays video games, or puts on their headphones to listen to their favorite hard rock music and drowns out the rest of the gang! I miss the old days…