October 5, 2015

Long journeys can be fun with these fun car games.

My family and I visit France several times a year, which means we often have long periods in the car together, and – as I’m sure any parent will agree – these can be trying times for everyone involved. Many years ago, I decided that car games were the best way to avoid sibling squabbles and boredom-induced tantrums, and now I’d like to impart this wisdom to you. So, without further ado, here are my top car games to keep you and your family entertained during long (or short) car journeys. Happy driving!

Who lives there?

Get your brain into gear with this fun imagination game, perfect for passing time while driving through residential areas. Each person takes it in turns to pick a house and then tell a story about the people who live there. The aim of the game is to be as imaginative as possible and tell the wildest story you can.

Banana game

The Banana game is a classic gar came, which I’m sure you must have played at least once before. If you haven’t, now is definitely the time to start. The idea of the game is to spot as many yellow vehicles as you can, for the duration of the journey, or for a certain period of time. The first person to shout out when they see one is awarded a point, and the winner is the person who spots the most. All you need is a piece of paper and pen (to keep score) and a keen eye!

 Play the Banana game and see how many yellow vehicles you can spot.
Play the Banana game and see how many yellow vehicles you can spot.

20 questions

Each person has a turn to pick a person, place, film or object and then the rest of the car has to ask them questions and guess what they picked. Although it might seem like an easy game, the questions can only be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If the car doesn’t guess correctly after 20 questions, then the picker wins. My kids love this game!

I Spy

Another classic car game, I Spy is an old favourite for most families (including mine) who are embarking on a long car journey. You know the drill: “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…” and everyone has to guess what they’ve spied. If you want to make the game a little more difficult, try “spying” in alphabetic order.

 I Spy is a great game to play on beautiful roads, like this one to Alpe d'Huez.
I Spy is a great game to play on beautiful roads, like this one to Alpe d'Huez.

Spelling bee

Younger kids who are just learning to spell love to put their spelling to the test, and car journeys are a great time for you to do this as a family. Before you set off, make a list of age-appropriate words for each of your children, and then use this to do a mini spelling bee during your trip. If you’re not sure of which words to pick, you can probably get some inspiration from their year level English text book. Keep track of which ones they get right, and which ones they get wrong, so you know where their spelling needs work.

Team storytelling

This game is particularly good for lengthy car trips because it can go on and on, and on and on. One person in the car starts telling a story – “once upon a time…”, for example – and then everyone else follows on from that, each adding their own sentence. Everyone is free to say whatever they want, so it’s almost certain that the story will get quite wacky. In fact, the wackier it is, the better. As I said, this game can go on until someone ends the story, so it’s best played during long journeys.

 When you’re busy navigating, car games are a great way to keep the kids busy.
When you’re busy navigating, car games are a great way to keep the kids busy.

We all went shopping

How good is your memory? If you’re not sure, this game will put it to the test. First, pick one person in the car to start – we always pick the youngest. They begin with the phrase: “I went shopping and bought a…” and add in what they bought at the end. Keep in mind, this could be anything. The next person then has to repeat what the first person said, while adding their own purchase. The game continues in this vein, with each person having to remember the whole shopping list and make their own addition. See how long you can go without any mistakes!

Quiet game

If you’ve tried all the other games and the kids are beginning to get fidgety, the quiet game is worth a go. The concept is simple: the child that can be quiet for the longest, wins. Add an extra incentive for the kids to stay quiet with small treats, like chocolates.

Start planning your next holiday

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle takes 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais and has direct motorway access at both ends, making your journey simpler than ever before.

Photo Credits:
Play the Banana game and see how many yellow vehicles you can spot - Image by Flickr user Gideon
I Spy is a great game to play on beautiful roads, like this one to Alpe d'Huez - Image by Flickr user Soumei Baba
When you’re busy navigating, car games are a great way to keep the kids busy - Image by Delwin Stephen Campbell
Long journeys can be fun with these fun car games - Image by Flickr user David D

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