Put a stop to children’s restlessness in the car with fun, educational games
ALEXANDRIA: Children get bored quickly, but at the same time it doesn t take much to relieve their boredom. The true challenge, however, comes when children are cooped up in a vehicle for hours at a time.
Instead of unfastening their seatbelts and risking their safety, give them activities they can do while they re buckled in.
The letter game is an educational game that can engage both children and adults. First choose a category; geography is one of the most common ones. The first person chooses a city, a state, a country or a continent, like Egypt for example. The next person would use the last letter in Egypt and think of a place that starts with T like Tanzania and the game continues in this manner.
Another common game is Eye Spy. One person chooses something they see on the road, for example a cable, and says, “I spy with my little eye something that begins with a C. The people in the car have to think of everything that starts with a C in order to guess correctly. This game encourages players to be more attentive to their surroundings.
Another activity that can keep your children occupied for the whole car ride is counting. You can have them count blue cars on the road, dogs on the side or camels they may see. The idea is to choose a category of things that they see a lot of. You should choose something different for each trip.
You can also practice a foreign language with your children. If they are learning a new language you can have them name the things they see around them in that language and they can try to formulate sentences and so on.
On the more creative side, you can also play a game where one person starts a story and everyone gets a chance to continue it. Have an adult or an older member of the family write down the story in the end in a journal.
Parents can also get a small journal or a scrapbook for the children and let them create their own travel log, writing notes and keeping track of the road and its landmarks. The journal can also be used for mementoes from the trip. The children can write down interesting quotes or anecdotes told by the other passengers – anything they want. Keep the journal for them to use every year and when they grow up, it makes an excellent memory.
With some prior preparation, children can enjoy numerous activities. Before you get in the car, prepare a list of things you might see on the road. Give the list to the children and let them spot the items mentioned on the list. Whoever manages to spot all list entries gets a prize when the family reaches its destination.
To add an artistic touch to the trip, parents can bring along aluminum foil and let children create masks with it. It doesn’t cause a mess and at the same time it keeps children occupied.
Even with games, children may still get bored, especially if it is a long car trip, repeatedly asking the infamous question: “Are we there yet? The happy news is that you can turn this question into a game.
Before you leave, draw a map of where you are going. Whenever anyone asks the question, have them look at the map and mark the current location of the car, with a different color crayon. Each time they mark the map, have them look around them and write down an interesting item they spot on the road at that place.
When preparing the road trip you should plan ahead for the whole car ride. If the game is monotonous, the children will still get bored. You can have snacks prepared for the trip. Try breaking the car ride into parts such as games, snacks and even singing. Think of songs the whole family can sing together.