Fun Games to Play with Your Kids While Stuck in Traffic

One of the worst sounds ever is, "Mom, I'm booooooored." It's more than just a bit of information, it comes along loaded with the bad attitude, body language and general grumpiness that we are all too familiar with. "Why don't you read something? Why don't you play that favorite game? Why don't you...." We feed them all the options we can come up with to just make that awful sound go away, but as usual the bad aura has already set in which means that they have decided that nothing in life is worth doing any more. Instead of asking them what they'd like to do, just start playing your own game with them, and in a short period of time they'll get into it and out of the blue funk that was swallowing them up. Here are a few good ones.

For 2-6 year olds:

I Spy With My Little Eye - Think of an object in the room around you, notice its color and then say, "I see something green." Let them start looking around and guessing what it is you have picked out. They can only ask yes or no questions such as, Is it on the ground? Is it on a tree? Is it plastic? Is it smaller than my hand? etc. When they guess it, the turns are reversed and time flies by much faster.

The Rhyming Game - It's self-explanatory, just choose a common word and take turns thinking up as many words that rhyme with it. Start with Street, then you can come up with, meet, greet, wheat, complete, feet, treat, seat, heat etc. There is no winner or loser, just fun in helping them think of words and understanding what it means to rhyme.

For 5 on up:

Who am I? - Think of someone they know about, anyone from family and friends to a cartoon character they know or famous movie star. They have to begin asking yes or no questions and the best ones to start with are: Are you a man? Are you a woman? Are you alive today? Are you famous? Have I ever met you? Are you a cartoon? Are you yellow with square pants? etc... When Mark was 5 he used to be Arnold Schwarzenegger every single time and we had to act surprised - he eventually expanded into being George Bush and Sponge Bob before he really got the hang of it. Now he's a pro and can handle some pretty complex stuff. Still it was fun!

20 questions - A game just like Who Am I for older kids and adults where you have to solve the clues before 20 questions are up. With smaller kids, just let them keep asking until they get it and give them little clues so they don't get frustrated and give up. This is a great game to strengthen their skills in deductive thinking, and how to ask the right kind of questions to get the responses they need.

Country Capitols/ State Capitols - You may need to do some studying up on these if you don't know many, so it's just as good for you as it is for the kids! Name a country or state and have them answer you with the capitol city. Teach them some fun tricks to help them memorize, like when Mark used to forget Moscow as the capitol of Russia, I would moo like a cow (OK this part has to be done in private!) and he'd remember the word "cow" which would trigger the right answer. The ones they get wrong, help them with the answer and go back to later to see if they got them. With each time, you can add a few more new ones to the bunch to increase their knowledge.

What Tune is it? - This can only work if you are not totally tone-deaf! Start humming a familiar tune and see if they can remember the words. Easy!

There are a lot more than just these, but they have served me well over the years. Just yesterday I was asked to do the Country Capitols game and to throw in some new ones - who would think a child would want to know his geography for fun? Before you know it, traffic will lighten up and you'll be at your destination with a happy little camper sitting next to you. Happy trails!

Evelyn Higginbotham

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