Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Car Games for the Long Road Trip

The Brave Astronaut clan is readying itself for the big trip north to celebrate Brave Astronaut's dad's 85th Birthday!  We usually amuse ourselves with the Alphabet Game (it really has helped both LBA and SoBA learn to read) and the License Plate Game on long car trips.  Here's a long list of other car games that you can give a whirl the next time your in the car. From BuzzFeed.
  1. Car Cricket (Baseball) - Probably the oldest game of all. Each player takes it in turns to bat. One run for each car you pass, two for motorbikes, four for a van, six for a bus or truck. If it’s a red car, you’re out, and the next player goes into bat. Variation: Car Snooker. You get one point when you see a red one, then you have to wait for a different color: yellow (two points), green (three), brown (four), blue (five) – etc. If you see a white car, it’s a foul, you lose four points, and it’s the next person’s go.
  2. The Yes/No game - How hard is it to avoid saying “Yes” or “No”? Harder than you think. Whoever is ‘It’ has to answer all questions without saying “Yes” or “No”. The classic tactic is of course to say “You said ‘yes’ just now” - to which the inevitable response is: “No I didn’t!”
  3. Think of Something - Each child is asked to think of an object with a particular characteristic. The game’s success depends on the parents varying the question to suit the ability of the child. Young children might have to think of something green, or made of wood, say, the older ones might have to come up with something Japanese, or Elizabethan, or soluble. It’s a great learning tool as younger children aspire to the knowledge of their elders.
  4. Car-color bingo - An easy game for younger children. Pick a color, score a point for each color you drive past. The winner is the first to reach, say, 20. Insider knowledge: if you want to win, pick silver.
  5. 5-4-3-2-1 - Players take it in turns to spot an interesting object, out of the window. Say it’s a cow: they then shout “Cow! 5…4…3…2…1”. The other players have to locate, point to and say the name of the object before the countdown reaches one. Whoever identifies it is the next spotter. You can add to your score the number the questioner reached. Not one for the driver, obviously. 
  6. Character counting - How many characters are there in your favorite films and TV shows? Each player takes it in turn to name a character, with others helping out if they get stuck. It’s a collaborative game, where you’re all working together. Suggestions: Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, Disney films, Lord of the Rings and so on…
  7. Countries of the world - The first player names a country beginning with A, such as Afghanistan. The next player then has to think of a country that begins with the last letter of the country just named – Norway, for example. You can make the kids think of cities as well if you want the game to be easier.
  8. The name game - The first player say the name of a well-known figure, including a description of what they’re famous for – such as “Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister”. The next player has to name someone who shares the same first or second name: “James Brown, singer”. It continues – by specifying the occupations, you prove the person you’ve named is real. 
  9. Name that tune - Each player takes it in turn to hum the theme tune to a well-known film or TV show: whoever guesses it correctly gets the next go.  My mother and I used to play this with the "seek" or "scan" buttons on the radio.  First to identify the song when it stops on a radio station, wins.
  10. Alphabet shopping - The first player begins: “I went to the supermarket and I bought an apple.” The next player has to think of something you can buy in a supermarket beginning with B, and so on. You vary the game by visiting other shops – bookshops, record shops and so on.
  11. Uncle Bobby - Uncle Bobby reads books but not magazines. He’s a good accountant, although he can add, but he can’t subtract. He eats noodles, but not pasta. He likes the color green, but not blue or red. Uncle Bobby, of course, only likes things that have double letters in them. Once each player works out the rules, they can take part by saying other things Uncle Bobby likes and dislikes. And if that’s getting old, Aunt Jemima only likes things ending in a vowel.
  12. What has an eye but no nose? The answer, of course, is a needle. It’s a game that can be extended endlessly with little mental effort – you’d be surprised how many body parts are used figuratively in everyday speech. Here are some examples:
    • What has a tongue but no teeth? A shoe. 
    • What has teeth but no lips? A comb. 
    • What has legs but no arms? A table. 
    • What has arms but no hands? A coat (or chair). 
    • What has hands but no fingers? A clock. 
    • What has a neck but no head? A wine bottle. 
    • What has a face but no hair? A watch. 
    • What has ears but no cheeks? Corn. 
  13. Celebrity Challenge - You think of a well-known figure – they could be real, or from a cartoon, say; the kids have to ask questions about their lives and accomplishments to work out who the person is. “Dead or alive,” “Real or imaginary”. Make sure you mix things up when it’s the kids’ turn by dropping in random questions like whether they like mashed potato or own a hairdryer. 
  14. Car Singalong - Try to do it this well. Somewhere at the launchpad is a sing-along book.
  15. Scavenger hunt - You can actually go the extra mile here and prepare a list of items for kids to look out for on the journey, and print it off. If it’s a route you know well, customize the list by adding things you know you’re going to pass on the way. - Dog walker - Police car - Ambulance - A ‘School’ sign - McDonald’s - A dog in another car - Someone picking their nose etc. 
  16. We’ll be there before you can say… “Sixteen slimy serpents slithered surreptitiously on the silver sand as they sped silently southwards.” Or “On Monday morning I made a model of a magical mouse with many mandibles, and mailed it to a man in Manchester.” It takes a bit of thought to come up with alliterative sentences. Learn the phrase, try to get the kids to repeat it word-for-word. 
  17. BONUS: I feel sick! Not a game – but a couple of tips for when you hear those words. Opening the window does actually help, as does closing your eyes.

1 comment:

Anna van Schurman said...

We used to add the numbers on license plates until you got a single digit. So FXL 1643 is 1+6+4+3=14; 1+4=5.