It is holiday time and you are all set for that driving vacation with the family.
Comfy cushions? Check.
Kids getting bored in the car? Check.
If you are wondering what to do to keep the kids occupied in the car and avoid the age-old question, “Are we there yet Papa Smurf?”, here are some activities and games you can play as family in the car on your next road trip.
Have a great drive ahead!
26 Fun and Creative Activities for Kids on Driving Holidays
1. Animal Alphabets
Each person takes turns naming an animal in alphabetical order. The first person names an animal starting from the letter ‘A’ such as “alligator”. The next person names an animal starting with the letter ‘B’. This carries on until you reach the end of the alphabet.
2. Bingo Cars
Prepare a bingo sheet with colours in the squares. Every time a car in the colour on the sheet is spotted, one square can be crossed out. The first person to form a straight line calls out “Bingo” and wins!
3. Cloudy Shapes
Look at the clouds in the sky. Get the kids to use their imagination and describe what the cloud looks like.
4. Do Together Doodling
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Prepare a blank piece of paper. Each person takes turns drawing one line. The next person adds on to the picture by drawing another line. This goes back-and-forth until the picture is complete. See how creative you can get.
5. Ear-dio Book
Worried about the kids getting nauseous while reading in the car? Pick up an audio book instead. There are titles available for download from the App Store and Google Play, and some are even available as free podcasts.
6. Family Harmony
Teach the kids how to hum a single musical note. Ask them to hum the note and add on to it to create harmonies. Each person in the car takes turns layering notes to create different musical harmonies.
7. Good Thing I’m Here…
Each person takes turns to complete the phrase “Good thing I’m here …” with a silly phrase. For example, “Good thing I’m here and not dangling above the fiery pit of a volcano.”
8. Hand Puppets
Use a marker to draw a face on your hand. Use the “hand puppet” to tell a silly story to the kids.
9. In a Round
Split the people in the car into two groups and warm-up those voices to sing in a round. Each group sings the same melody but starts at a different time. Popular songs that can be sung in a round include Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Are You Sleeping.
10. Ji Gu Pa Tournament
Get your hands out for some Ji Gu Pa action. Ready those digits and put on your best Bruce Lee impersonation. Hai ya!
11. Kitty’s Cradle
An oldie-but-goodie. To play Cat’s Cradle, all you need is some string.
12. License Food Plate
Use the alphabets found on the license plates of passing cars as the acronyms of a food dish. For example, if the license plate says “SFB”, the name of the food could be “Super Fried Burger”. The person with the most creative dish name gets to choose where to eat for dinner!
13. Mind Chain
This is a simple word association game that can be played in the car. The first person starts by saying a random word. The next person has to say a word associated with the first word that comes to mind. This carries on to the third person and so on. See how long the family can keep this going.
14. Name the Imaginary Animal
Write down the name of animals on individual pieces of paper and fold it in half. The player will pick out two pieces of paper from pile. The first paper represents the head of a make-believe animal and the second paper, its body. As an example, if the first paper says ‘camel’ and the second paper says ‘turtle’, the imaginary animal has the head of a camel and the body of a turtle. The player has to name this “new” animal and articulate the sound it makes. For older kids, you can ask them to describe more characteristics like what the make-believe animal eats and where it lives.
15. Outer Alphabets
Look out of the window for objects starting with the letter of the alphabet. For example, beginning with the letter ‘A’, a player can say “airplane” if they spot one. The next object to look out for is then something beginning with the letter ‘B’.
16. Pipe Cleaner Monsters
Bring some pipe cleaners along and ask the kids to create a monster using the pipe cleaners. After they are done, ask them to name the pipe cleaner monster and tell a story about where it comes from.
17. Question Me
To play this game, shuffle a deck of Old Maid and Donkey cards together. The first player draws a card and keeps it secret from the rest of the players. The others have to ask “yes” or “no” questions to try and guess what card the player is holding.
18. Ringside Thumb Wrestling
You can’t go wrong with good old-fashioned thumb wrestling. “One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war” and off you go.
19. Story Words
Ask the kids to suggest random words. Write down each word on a separate piece of paper, fold the paper in half and collect them in a pile. The first person chooses one of the pieces of paper and starts telling a story by saying, “A long, long time ago…” and incorporates the word written on the paper. The next person picks another piece of paper and carries on the story using the word he or she picked.
20. Tick-tock Treat
Pack a little treats such as sweets or a small toy inside individually labeled packets beforehand. Each packet should be labeled from ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ and so on. Prepare a set of cards with the same numbers written on them and give them to the kids. Tell them that they can redeem a treat every half-hour by presenting a card. When the time comes, let them choose which card they want to submit and redeem a treat. A great way to break down a long road trip into smaller sections of time.
The first person starts the game by describing an “unfortunate” situation and the next person has to respond with a counter-statement that sheds a positive light on the situation. For example, the first person could say, “Unfortunately, we are being chased by a giant robot”, to which the second person can respond with, “Fortunately, we are in a super fast spaceship is zooming us to away to safety.”
22. Vehicle Rally
Each person gets assigned a make of car (“Toyota”, “BMW”). The first person to spot 20 of their assigned make wins.
23. Window Scavenger Hunt
Ask the kids to keep a look out for the items on a scavenger hunt list out of the car window and to tick them off when they are spotted.
24. X Marks the Spot
One person is assigned as the Pirate. Using a place that everyone is familiar with as a reference (e.g. your home), the Pirate will mentally choose a spot to “bury” the treasure. The other players take turns guessing where the treasure is buried. The pirate says “hot” or “cold” depending on how close the guess is to the treasure until someone “finds” the buried treasure.
25. You are Special
A great way to encourage kids to be nice to each other, each person in the car takes turns addressing the next person and saying something positive to him or her in this format “__________________, you are special to me because you are ________________.”
When all else fails and you need some peace and quiet, play the sleeping game. Everyone (excluding the driver of course) has to pretend to be asleep. The last person to “wake up” wins! Wink, wink.