Many of us will be counting down the days to our family holidays. With so any beautiful places to holiday in the UK versus the cost of flying, many of us have chosen to stay put. In fact since Brexit, staycations have risen by almost a quarter. If you are anything like me, I book in haste and get all excited about the things we will do once at our destination, not even thinking about the ‘getting to’ part of the holiday. It suddenly dawned on me the other day that we have a seven hour journey in a camper van. SEVEN HOURS! What was I thinking??!! Hence, I decided to put together a handy list of car games.
I realised that I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make this epic journey run smoothly. I have got this…..for the first two hours if I am lucky. Slightly panicked, I thought I would ask my blogger friends for their ‘are we nearly there yet’ avoidance tactics and amalgamate the best ideas into a first aid kit for car journeys. Join me if you will on my far fetched vision of happy smiling families, on very long car journeys with not one fall out to report. Ok, I know. It is not entirely realistic, but every little helps as they say.
My Saving Grace
My top tip is to have a whiteboard and some colourful whiteboard pens at hand. My kids spend so much time playing with these, and they have done for years. We keep these in the car at all times and they are used every journey. For suggestions on things my kids use them for, here is a post I wrote on just how useful these are http://www.kizmetcava.uk/car-journeys-with-kids-made-easy/ They would be handy for most of these games too.
This is a ‘spot the car colour’ game with the rules of snooker. You have to find a car the colour of each snooker ball in order. So that you don’t need to google which order this is, I have put it here… after googling it… which I have to do every time. So this is for me too.
Red, yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black.
There must be an anagram to help us remember the colour order. Anyone? Obviously finding a pink car can be tricky but this can be helpful. It allows the eeking out of time whilst also highlighting those in the family who suffer with temporary colour blindness.
Number Plate Maths
Trust me, this is much more exciting game than the title will have you think. The aim is to be the person nearest to a given number, dependant on age. We aim for 100 (my kids are 10 and 7 and it makes the game quicker). You use the number plates of the cars on the opposite side of the road or if on the motorway, the overtakers. Decide who goes first, they add the numbers on the first plate together, once they have done that then they add on the next number plates numbers, and the next and so on. Once the near the designated goal, they have to decide whether to stick or continue to try and get nearer. Note down how many off they were, and when everyone has had a turn, the person who was the closet wins.
Guess the member of family
This is like the old ‘yes/no’ game but we got bored of playing that with animals so now we play it with members of the family. One person thinks of a member of the extended family and we all take turns in asking a question that can only be answered with yes or no. The person who guesses it right wins. We try to guess the person in so many questions to make them really think about what they are asking.
You need a whiteboard for this. My youngest loves this game and I get quite into it too. It can get a bit hectic at times. You decide which vehicles are doing combat. We always choose camper vans vs caravans vs motorhomes. You section off the whiteboard into three equal sections and label each accodringly. Their job is to keep a tally in each section as the vehicles are spotted, but the rest of the family help too. It helps if each person has a vehicle to spot, otherwise tallies get muddled and trust me, that can causes massive meltdowns, tears, shouting and blame which lets face it, we are trying to desperately avoid. It is basically a camping road survey but they don’t need to know that do they? After a designated time, they add up each section and whichever vehicle has been spotted more times, wins the battle!
So those are my top tips… that I think you will agree, may get us from Kent to, well, the outskirts of Kent. Thank goodness for my blogging buds who have come to the rescue with some fab ideas.
Jane at Falcondale Life https://falcondalelife.com who says, ‘We play Alphabet Lorries where we tick off company names on lorries in alphabetical order, but we got stuck at the letter U for 4 years’
I bloody love this idea. How have I not heard of this before. Can anyone help Jane with this? UPS maybe? Any others anyone? It is clearly bothering Jane.
Julie at Pondering Parenthood https://ponderingparenthood.com has a great idea too. She says ‘When I was a child, I loved to play Animal, Mineral, Vegetable in the car. To play, choose something and declare which of those categories it fits into (e.g. a famous person or animal would be animal; a inanimate object would be mineral; vegetable is self explanatory!). Then players get to ask 20 questions (this is flexible!) which can only have a yes or no answer, to try to guess what the animal, mineral or vegetable is. It’s a bit less boring than I spy, which can be challenging in a moving car.’
Jennifer at My Mummy’s Pennies http://www.mymummyspennies.com has clearly been on long journeys before and has got this locked down. She has a bag of tricks and says they play word association games.
For those of you that used to love Mallets Mallet, the word association game where you mustn’t pause, mustn’t hesitate…this sounds like a winner.
Stephanie at Renovation Bay-Bee http://blog.bay-bee.co.uk says ‘We take the last 3 letters of the car in fronts number plate and see what silly words/sentence we can come up with!’
I like this idea, I can see this being really funny. The whiteboard may be handy though for younger children so that they can see the letters once the car has gone. I am thinking a time limit and then share your funniest ones?
Victoria at Parenting Peace and Quiet https://parentingpeaceandquiet.com must have quiet and peaceful journeys with her recommendations. She says she uses audio books…. Sometimes long ones, sometimes short ones.
We have the Road Dahl stories and we have all enjoyed these. If you have a stereo wth a fader, you are onto a winner. The kids can be educated by Dahl whilst you have a good catch up in the front.
Now I know I said ten ideas but there were so many amazing ones that I didn’t think you would mind me sneaking in an extra. So, finally, when all else fails, Hannah at Solo Mum (Planes, trains and Meltdowns), http://www.planestrainsandmeltdowns.com says they play ‘please let the iPad battery last the whole journey.
That is one adrenal filled journey right there Hannah, especially if you have packed the chargers in the depths of a case!
So there you are, your car travel first aid kit. I hope that it makes any long journey you take this summer a little less stressful. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions. If you have found this useful, please share. If only so that it makes a family journey a little less stressful. After all, the holiday should begin when we leave the house, not when we get to the destination. However bloody far that is… did I tell you it is seven hours? SEVEN HOURS!!
Thank you for reading and happy travels!