Car games for long journeys
This works well with big groups and can go on for a long
time! The object of the game is to count down from ten to zero and to sing the
song as fast as possible.
bottles hanging on the wall,
ten green bottles hanging on the wall,
and if one
green bottle should accidentally fall,
there'd be nine green bottles hanging on
Once you've sung each verse the number is replaced by the next number
in descending order. Great fun!
Alice the camel
This is another fun game that can get very raucous! Again it is a game where
you recite a verse which goes as follows: "Alice the camel had ten humps, Alice
the camel had ten humps, Alice the camel had ten humps, so ride Alice ride."
This verse if repeated until you reach the number zero and is best fun when it
is sung really fast!
Name the theme tune
famous theme tune or sing it in a different style. The first person to guess the
Road trip maths
A great way to get your children learning
while you are on the move. Tell them your average speed and challenge them to
calculate how long it will take to reach your destination based on this figure.
Then ask them to predict how much it will cost to fill up your petrol tank at
the next stop based on the price per gallon.
The car is the perfect place to practise a new language. As
you travel through a foreign country point out objects, places etc and recite
the word in the relevant language: Spanish, French etc. Get the children to
recite the word and ban anyone from speaking in English for the next 10 miles.
Think of a category, eg sport,
and then think of 20 words relating to that area. The challenge is for the
children to spell the most words out of that category correctly. Obviously
adults can play this too with slightly more taxing language!
is very funny and an opportunity to get really inventive. Everyone writes
farmyard animal names onto small pieces of paper- be inventive and think of
chickens, cows, pigs, horses, pheasants, sheep etc. Players take turns to pick
these out of a hat and do their best impersonation of that animal.
Name the noise
Think of a familiar sound. It can be completely
abstract so could be someone opening a can, horses hooves going along the
street, a creaky door opening etc. Have a go at re-creating the noise and get
your fellow players to try and guess what it is.
One of the funniest games to play in a large group
particularly if you have a good mix of accents in the car! Each person takes
their turn at impersonating a famous person-from Marlon Brando, to Arnie, to
Buzz Lightyear to Michael Jackson, to Madonna give it a go!
sheets with sights you might see on your travels. For example: aeroplanes,
birds, houses, oak trees, various traffic signs. Each is represented by a
picture. Once you see that particular object call it out-the first player to say
it is the one who marks it off on their card. You car use pennies or loose
change as mock-counters.
Guess the number
of a number between 1 and 1,000, but keep it to yourself. Players then take it
in turns to have a guess at what the number is. Each time they are wrong you can
respond "higher" or "lower" until the correct number is guessed.
Odd or even?
This is a variation on the theme of Guess the
Number but it's a little bit more advanced, so it's great for slightly older
children. Choose a number and get other players to have a go at guessing what it
is, but begin the questioning with: "Is it odd or even?"
Look around and
pick an object you can see either in the car or along the road. Then give others
a clue such as, "I spy with my little eye ... something green;" or "I spy with
my little eye... something brown and furry;" or "I spy with my little eye...
something beginning with S:" Continue to give more clues until your friends or
family can guess what it is.
The number plate game
First get someone to choose a number plate series - say the year or place prefix/suffix, numbers or letters
and this is where you can get really sneaky and even choose a model of car! Then
give yourselves a time limit of around 30 minutes and whoever spots the most
vehicles with the appropriate number plate wins!
Take a look at the map and talk about what route you are
going to take. Then trace the outline of the map and mark on the key landmarks
as you pass them. Marks go to the artist who is the most creative, so get
Start with the letter "A" and find a word beginning with that
letter on a sign, truck, building or licence plate, say the word and then move
on to the next letter. You can do this as a competition or together as a family
for younger beginner readers. The first one to get to the letter "Z" is the
Think of an object- it
can be anything. The first question players need to ask is: "Is it animal,
vegetable, or mineral?" or "Is it a person, place or thing?" The players then
ask any question that will help them guess what the object is, so long as it can
be answered by a straight yes or no answer. The object of the game is to
correctly guess the object in less than 20 questions.
Take turns thinking of words that have different
meanings when they are spelt backwards and forwards. Players are awarded one
point for each letter in the word. Three-letter words score three points,
four-letter words are four points, etc.
Think of someone you know or a famous
celebrity. Give the other players a two-word description of them using their
initials. For example you may say "fabulous singer" and the other players have
to think of a famous person who matches that description and those initials, eg
Frank Sinatra. The first player to guess is the winner and chooses the next
One player is
selected as the director. He or she picks various emotions or moods for the
players to act out, for example happiness, hate, surprise, boredom etc. Each player gets
one chance to impress the director. The actor who the director feels puts on a
winning performance is awarded the Oscar. The player with the most Oscars wins
Create cut-out hand
puppets which you give out when your journey begins. You have until the next stop
to think of a storyline. At the next stop it's time for curtain up!
Set the children the task of spotting around five landmarks you
know will crop up during your journey. These could be farms, family theme parks,
motorway restaurants, rivers etc. If you stop off in the surrounding area,
challenge them to collect something (while you're with them) to prove that they
have visited there. Whoever spots the most is the winner.
Mobile nature trail
This is fantastic if your journey takes you
through country lanes. Give the children a list of animals to watch out for, eg
a Friesian cow, a baby lamb, a sheared sheep, deer or a chestnut horse. The
first person to see the entire set wins the game.
Pick out some key characteristics of the county you are
travelling through. For example in Kent, look for oast houses, hop fields and thatched
cottages; in Cumbria look for mountains and dry-stone walls. The first person to
spot as many as they can in half an hour is the winner.