Whether you're heading out across town, across the state, or all the way cross-country, spending time in your car with the kids can be both fun and frustrating. What might seem like a nice, quick leisurely drive for adults can feel like an eternity for children who are stuck staring at the back of your head, strapped into a booster seat.
Thankfully, road trips don't have to be filled with tears, screams, or repeated cries of "Are we there yet?" With a little planning, you can keep everyone happy with car games for kids.
Of course, lots of parents make sure their kids have a kid-friendly tablet computer, books, or small toys to keep them entertained while in the vehicle, however, you can also go low-tech and enjoy the fun of an interactive game with your kids while on the road.
Here are three simple, fun car games for kids you can use on your next outing with your children:
1. The Alphabet Game
This car game requires two or more players; one chooses the right-hand side of the road, and one player picks the left. Both players search their designated side of the road, looking for letters of the alphabet that appear on billboards, mailboxes and license plates. The trick is that the letters have to be spotted in alphabetical order, starting with 'A' and ending at 'Z'. The first player to find all 26 letters in the alphabet wins!
2. Twenty Questions
This interactive game involves one player thinking of a vegetable, fruit, or animal, or other object. All the other players take turns asking yes-or-no questions to try to figure out the secret answer, such as "Is it red?" or "Does it fly?" After all the players have asked 20 questions, each one gets to guess what the secret animal or object is.
3. Cow Count
If you're heading out into the country, this game is a great way to pass the time and get your kids interested in the surrounding landscape.
Using the clock on your car or a timer on your smartphone, pick a set amount of time during which each player has to find as many cows as they can. If there are no cows in sight, go ahead and substitute any other animal, a particular model or color of car, or specific objects like silos, tractors, or barns.
The player who counts the most designated objects or animals within the set time wins.
Car Game Prizes
Wondering what you can give your kids as 'prizes' for winning at a car game? If you happen to have a van or SUV that's equipped with an on-board entertainment system, you can let the winner of your car game pick the next DVD to watch.
You could also let the winner choose where you'll pull over for your next bathroom break or snack stop, or the winner could get to pick the next radio station. No matter what you decide to do, it's important to keep it fun and light-hearted. Remember, with a little pre-planning, road trips and short hops across town with your kids can be fun.