Sometimes we lose touch with human interaction when we are so involved with the latest social media notification or when bombarded with emails and text notifications.
Our family recently took a road trip from Rhode Island to Miami, Florida with stops in D.C. and Myrtle Beach. Along the way we tried out a few different car games with our 2.5 year old son.
Play Guessing Games in the Car
Michael and I both realized that our son, Kai, enjoys playing guessing games! Below are some guessing game suggestions and ideas for you and your family to try while at home, on road trips, or waiting in line at an amusement park or simply when you have time and are bored with your toddler.
I Spy Guessing Game
This is a classic childhood car game that brings back memories! The object of the game is to guess the thing(s) that are a certain color.
- Example: mommy says, “I spy with my eye something that is the color green.” Toddler replies, “trees?!”
- We found that focusing on objects that are seen for longer periods of time proved to be better for us, since our toddler’s reaction time isn’t the quickest, especially when driving 60 MPH.
- This game doesn’t usually last us a long time, unless we also focus on items INSIDE the car. Then we can play for a little while longer. Also try and change it up and ask your child to ask the adult or other siblings what he or she spies!!! We have fun guessing too:)
Guess the Animal
Not sure if this has another name, but that’s what we call it in our family! Objective is to guess the animal.
- Example: daddy says, “baaaa”, and asks children to guess what animal. Child replies, “sheep!”
- This game is fun and the child also had a blast getting involved in mimicking animal noises.
Guess the Color
As the name of the game provides a wonderful explanation of objective, which is to guess to the color of what is being described.
- Example: grandma asks, “what color am I thinking of? Apples, stop sign, cherries, raspberries, roses…” child replies, “red!”
- We have tried playing this game when our toddler was a bit overtired and let me tell you it was an epic failure! He would not concentrate AT ALL and would constantly laugh 😂 which would make me laugh even harder! It was hilarious!
Guess the Item
This game can be played several different ways depending on the children’s ages. The way we have played is fairly simple. Example: grandpa says, “I am thinking about something, this something is the color red. You can eat it. It is sweet. It is a fruit. It’s crunchy. You can pick it off a tree in the fall. You can make pie with it.” Child says, “apple!?”
- The adult can go on and on and provide detailed descriptions of the item he or she is thinking about until the child guesses correctly. We have found that, depending on your child’s comprehension and vocabulary level, it might be best to start with very simple things.
- When your children grow older you can start doing the role reversal so they can ask you to guess the item they’re thinking of.
Imagination and Reading to the Rescue!
In addition to occupying your children’s time with guessing games, another form of entertainment we have found to be fun and stimulating is your imagination.
If you’re a creative and imaginative person this is right up your alley! The object is to use descriptive words and tell a fun story.
Unfortunately my attempts at telling our son a story has failed on numerous occasions. It just doesn’t “flow” for me. Therefore, I rely heavily on resources that are available to us.
My default: the library! If you have a library card you most likely have access to borrow e-books and audiobooks.
- Prior to our road trip or even during the long drive, I log into my online library account and search for some children audiobooks. I am able to download them right then and there through an app called Overdrive or listen to the book right through our browser. My son loves Curious George and Pinkalicious and enjoys listening to the audiobooks. I have also realized they seem to calm him down and put him to sleep (on a good day).
Similar to story-telling, but we are the ones in the “story”. My husband does such an amazing job with this game! Typically we do this at night when we are winding down from a busy day, and if we decide not to read a bedtime storybook.
- Example: daddy says, “are you ready to go on a safari adventure? What animals do you want to see today?” Then he describes going into a Jeep and buckling up and seeing all of the sights with animal sounds and all! Being in a moving vehicle we could pretend we are in space and seeing all of the spaceships and other life forms go by us, as we are riding.
Other Activities and Ideas!
Here are some other suggestions and things we have tried with our toddler on our long road trips.
Sometimes bringing his favorite toy(s) are extremely helpful! If your child has a stuffed animal he or she can play pretend and feed it snacks and have fun. Kai enjoys playing with his “shark blaster,” which has lights and sounds.
Snacks & Food
Kai loves snacks! Eating and snacking on stuff keeps him occupied and entertained for a long time. I usually try and find some healthy snacks for him to munch on. His favorites include the following:
When all else fails, we do resort to playing movies or TV shows on his tablet. This is the one we have, along with the case we got for him:
Some of the toddler games are very educational, but we have found that we need to sit down with him and show him how to play the games before we sit in the car. The games are a little complex for him to figure out all on his own after downloading them.
I recommend letting your child play games that he or she is already familiar with so they can explore on their own. Otherwise, you will have a toddler constantly asking you how to do this and that in each level or in each game.
Play Packs / Coloring Activity
Our son doesn’t typically have the attention span to sit for long periods of time, but when we are in the car he actually enjoys coloring and playing with some stickers. He has been rather intricate with his coloring nowadays…compared to just a few months ago he would just color a few lines and said he was all done.
We hope these road trip ideas are helpful for you and your family during long drives or when you’re traveling:) Enjoy!