You are taking a trip and bringing your kids along. You have remembered to plan the route. You have brought along clothes and toiletries. You have packed snacks and drinks and planned for rest stops. Now almost as important as any of those things are the games to keep your kids occupied.
There are a plethora of games that can be played by children in a range of ages that involve searching for something as you travel. One classic example is “I Spy” where a child finds something and describes it to their travel-mates. A problem with this game is that while you are moving it is hard for other people to see everything that everyone else sees. Another classic is the game where you start with the letter A and try to find it on a sign (or a license plate). This game can get competitive if played individually which can cause fights, so I would recommend finding the letters of the alphabet as a whole family. Finally, finding as many different states as you can by looking at license plates is another great search game that helps to teach some U.S. geography along the way.
Question games are great for children that are a little more advanced and they work well when it gets too dark to see the signs or license plates or if you are traveling somewhere a little less populated. “I Spy” is a possible question game but the classic example is “20 Questions”. In this game, kids think of something and others need to ask no more than 20 questions to try to figure out what the kid has thought of. This works best if they can write the thing down or whisper it to a parent so that no one can be accused of cheating. It happens. You know it does.
Crayons and Coloring Books
While taking along a book to read in the car might not be a wise choice for many kids because focusing on the words can cause motion sickness, coloring a picture might be okay. Buy new coloring books and boxes of crayons (come on, they aren’t that expensive) and make sure that if you have more than one child, you have more than one box of crayons. It is easy to lose crayons in the seat cushions also so be prepared with some back-ups just in case, especially if it is a long trip. Another possibility is to go on-line and print out some coloring pages that relate to the areas that you will be traveling through or the destination itself. It helps kids learn more about the world around them while having fun at the same time.
The Nintendo DS game system is fairly inexpensive and there are a million games available (well, maybe not that many). This portable game is perfect for travel, especially if your children are old enough to share, or if you are generous enough to allow more than one in the family. The big thing to remember when traveling with an electronic game system like the Nintendo DS is to bring along the charger. Chaos will ensue if you don’t. No really, ask me how I know.
Another, less expensive option is the battery-operated games that you can buy at Wal-Mart like Sudoku or electronic Uno or Yahtzee. The great thing about these games is that you don’t have to worry as much about them getting lost in a gas station restroom because they weren’t terribly expensive to begin with. Of course, whining about losing the game will occur but that is what earplugs are for, right?