Travelling with Children

Published: 04 July 2011

School's out for the summer and that's when many families have to travel long distances to reach their holiday destinations. If you are travelling with children, it's not long before you hear 'Are we there yet' from the back seats! So we have put together some tried and tested traditional games to play on the journey, along with some tips to prevent travel sickness.

To Help Prevent Car Sickness

Seaside buckets and spades Buckets and Spades

Here are some tips to help prevent travel sickness:

  • Avoid heavy, high fat meals before setting off on your journey.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks whilst travelling in the car.
  • Keep the windows open slightly to allow in fresh air or keep the car cool inside.
  • Avoid reading or playing hand held games whilst the car is moving.
  • Get sufferers to focus on a non-moving object in the distance, preferably straight ahead, like a tree on the horizon.
  • Play distraction observation-type games, a few suggestions are given below.

Keeping Kids Amused on Car Journeys

Alphabet Game

Firstly choose a theme, for example animals (other themes could be books, countries, food or films). The first person starts off naming an animal beginning with the letter A, the next player has to think of one with the letter B and so on through the alphabet. If someone can’t think of one, they are out of the game and the next person has to try with that letter. This continues until one player is left and is declared the winner.

Spot a Car

Each player selects a colour (or, if they are into cars, the make). They then have to look out for cars of their chosen colour/make driving past. The first one to get to twenty is the winner!

I Went to the Shop

The first player starts the game by saying ‘I went to the shop and I bought ….’ naming something beginning with the letter ‘A’. The next person repeats the sentence and adds an object beginning with the letter ‘B’. The next player repeats the previous list, and adds an object with the next letter in the alphabet, and so on. Anyone forgetting the sequence or the next letter is out. The last player remaining wins the game.

I Spy

An old favourite which children of all ages understand and parents can play without requiring too much concentration! One player picks an item or object that is constant view eg the sky. Then says “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with …(the letter of the object)”. Everyone else has to guess what it is. The winner then chooses the next object.

Number Plate Challenge

Look at the number plate of the car in front and try to make a phrase/name that the letters could be an acronym for.

Twenty Questions

Another classic game, probably best played with two people! The first has to think of an object (you can decide whether it has to be currently visible or not) and states whether it is animal, vegetable or mineral. The second player then asks questions to try and identify the object, to which the answer is only yes or no. If the object is guessed before 20 questions are asked, they are the winner.

Car Cricket

This game doesn’t work too well on motorways, as you need to drive past pubs! You score runs (points) for each leg in the title of the pub. Decide on the rules as to what is going to count as a run eg human and/or animal legs etc.

  • Select batting order, or play simultaneously with two players sitting on opposite sides of the car who each score runs with the pubs passed on their side of the car.
  • Runs are scored when you pass a pub with legs on the sign, ie the Red Lion is four runs, because a lion has four legs.
  • The winner is the one who gets the most runs in a certain time or at the end of the journey.
  • There are lots of variations to this game, such as deducting runs for the number of arms or heads in the name, or inanimate objects such as The Rose and Crown could score a run.
  • This game might require an umpire to sort out disputes such as how many horses are there in the Coach and Horses or bees in the Beehive!

© The Gloucestershire Oracle July 2011