There’s nothing more calming than a family road trip. The sound of trees rushing past your windscreen as your tyres smooth out the asphalt, and music blares from your car’s speakers. The kids calmly glued to the backseat, giggling, laughing, crying, and then screaming, “Are we there yet? How much longer? I need to pee. I’m booooored!”
But family road trips don’t have to be an ordeal of monotony. Forget Friday night board games, part of the fun of spending time together in a metal box on four wheels is forced family bonding – and you’ve got hours to entertain.
Don’t panic. We’ve got you covered.
1. Alphabet game – Players have to list objects that begin with each letter of the alphabet and can be seen in an ‘I spy’ style game. If you want to make it competitive, players have to write down what they see and the first one to get a word for each letter of the alphabet wins. The letter X might be a bit of a struggle though, so use it as a joker for an object that can appear anywhere.
2. Animal name –Name an animal (giraffe). Then get the next person to also name an animal that starts with the last letter (elephant), and continue (turtle) until someone can’t think of one (echidna). This game also works with other genres too, like movies, countries or celebrities.
3. Guess the tune – This one is a lot of fun, and there are two ways it can be played. Option A: One player hums a song and the rest of the car has to guess the tune. To make it a little easier, pick a segment like ‘theme songs’ or ‘pop songs’. Option B: Play the first two seconds of a song on the radio or via a CD and then get the passengers to guess it.
4. I spy – I spy is a rite of passage for any road trip. If you don’t know how to play it, all you need to do is learn the phrase, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with”. Don’t let anyone trick you – you actually have to be able to see it. If you’ve got really little ones in the back, you should get some crackers – M for motecontrol (remote control) and F for fongs (thongs), right?
5. Punch buggy – This game is probably the most aggressive, but it’s a favourite. When someone sees an old Volkswagen Beetle, they yell, “PUNCH BUGGY,” and punch someone in the arm. There are modified versions of this though, if you’d prefer not to have your kids punching each other in the back seat. Replace Beetles with taxis or number plates starting with a certain letter. The first to yell out the code word gets a point, and the one with the most points wins – no violence and everyone’s happy.
6. Word by word story – Who doesn’t remember playing this game in primary school? Someone starts off with a word and everyone in the car takes it in turns to add to the story.
7. If I were in charge – Ever wondered what you’d do to make the world a better place? In this game, it gives kids the chance to really use their imagination and get their brains ticking. Everyone in the car gets a turn saying what they would do to change the world and make it better. Kids can come up with some hilarious ideas, and they may even surprise you.
8. Alphabetical categories –Similar to the alphabet game, this game has every person say a word in order of the alphabet. The difference is they don’t need to see it. Pick a topic (countries), and then everyone says a word in alphabetical order. For example, player one; Australia, player two; Belgium, player three; Cambodia, and so it goes. When you reach the end, you go back to A. The person who can’t think of a name with the letter drops out of the game and you start again. You can pick any topic – food, drinks, names. Extra tip for the adults, this makes a great drinking game when no one has to drive.
9. 21 questions – Just like the game ‘who am I?’ the aim of this game is to guess what someone is thinking by asking 21 questions. Questions can’t be repeated and the person to guess the right answer wins and gets to start round two. To make sure no one cheats, ask the kids to write it down on a piece of paper.
10. The cone of silence – The perfect game when you just want a few minutes peace. Tell everyone in the car to stay quiet. First person to break the cone of silence loses, and the one who stays quiet the longest wins. Offer snacks to keep the kids motivated and stop them talking when they get bored, otherwise you could be asking to play this game every 30 seconds. Also perfect when you want to try and get the kids to fall asleep, it’s the perfect ruse.
Now find out what top features to look for in a family car.