Stiff legs. Sore behind. “Are we there yet, Mom?”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to Aspen, New Orleans, or Disney World. Long car rides bore the best of us. One of the fastest ways to bust boredom is to keep your mind active. Pack these nifty word-related car games in your overnight bag the next time you hit the road.
Choose another car and take a good look at its passengers. Each person makes up a backstory about the passengers in the other vehicle and shares it with the others.
If you’re stumped, start by answering these questions about the folks in the other car:
1. Who are they? 2. Where are they going? 3. What are their hopes and fears? 4. What are their flaws and strengths?
Fiction writers use character sketches to spur their creativity. These thumbnails often morph into the fascinating characters we meet it books. You can do it, too – on wheels.
License Plate Decoding Game
What if every license plate harbored a secret meaning within its letters and numbers? That’s the premise behind the License Plate Decoding Game. The game works especially well when you’re caught in traffic because you have plenty of time to peruse and “decode” the license plates around you.
License Plate School
If you’re traveling with little ones, consider using license plates to reinforce geography and phonics lessons learned at school. Edmunds.com suggests that children “collect” plates from the different states or try to find all the letters of the alphabet – first forwards, then backwards.
Related Words Game
The Related Words Game requires each player to brainstorm a list of words that relate to a specific starting word. The subsequent list must bring the topic back full circle. Whoever creates the shortest list wins.
For example, Player One might create a list like this:
• noodles • delicious food • cake • birthday cake • presents • wrapping paper • ribbons • strings • noodles
Player Two might create a list like this:
• noodles • yellow • egg yolks • chicken • chicken noodle soup • noodles
Because Player Two created the shorter list, he/she wins. You can play as many rounds of the Related Words Game as you like, but if you wish to limit the game, choose a random word like PIG. Each time someone loses a round, they take one letter of the word. For example, Player One earned a “P” for this round. Whoever spells the word “PIG” first loses the game.
Round Robin Story Game
Teachers have used round robin reading strategies in the classroom for decades. In this game, car riders use the round-robin style to create a groupthink story. Each rider contributes one word at a time. The entire story lasts four or five sentences. If possible, choose a scribe to write or record the words as they are generated.
If a player thinks a sentence sounds complete, any passenger can insert punctuation by shouting “Period!” or “Exclamation point!”
Here’s an example of an opening sentence created by a four-person car load:
Person 1: Once Person 2: upon Person 3: a Person 4: time Person 1: I Person 2: ate Person 3: twenty-six Person 4: frogs Person 1: and Person 2: turned Person 3: into Person: 4: a Person 1: wombat. (PERIOD)
No matter how silly the story gets, each word must make grammatical sense in the context of the story.
Vacations are essential for happiness and well-being, but getting to your vacation spot can be tedious. How will you break up the monotony during your next long car ride?