Travelling with children is a special experience, but one that also requires strong nerves at times. The little ones are bundles of energy and want to be kept busy. Usually a walk or a visit to a park can help. But if you’re on the road, in a car or plane, your freedom of movement – and your choice of possible activities – is limited.
But even simple games can help make the time seem to fly by and make travelling with kids so much easier. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money either. Sometimes all you need is a bit of fantasy and imagination. Here are some tips for free games to keep your kids happy – and off your nerves.
I spy with my little eye…
This must be one of the most popular children’s games out there. You choose an object that is visible to all and the other players take turns asking questions to guess what it is. For example: “Is it blue?” Or “Is it an item of clothing?” This game can keep kids occupied for some time – and helps to build their vocabulary while they’re at it.
Who am I?
The basic principle of this game is similar to “I spy” in that the players take turns asking questions to guess the right answer. Except that the thing that is sought here is not an object but a person. The player who is “it” chooses a real person or a fictitious character. Possibilities include family members, cartoon characters or historical personalities. The important thing is that only yes/no questions are allowed.
The last letter game
This game is another one that most people will know. The players choose a category – animals is a typical example – and the first player starts with a word beginning with the letter “A”. The last letter of the first word becomes the first letter of the next word.
1st player: Alligator
2nd player: Rat
3rd player: Tiger
And so on.
I packed my bag…
This classic car game requires good powers of recollection. Players mentally pack a bag and in each round all of the previously packed items must be recounted and a new object added.
1st player: I packed my bag and in it I put a toothbrush.
2nd player: I packed my bag and in it I put a toothbrush and sunglasses.
3rd player: I packed my bag and in it I put a toothbrush, sunglasses and my passport.
And so on.
Crossing off words or numbers on a piece of paper isn’t just for little old ladies in the bingo hall. It’s also a great way to keep the little ones busy on the road. All you need is a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and a bit of creativity.
You could choose things that are easy to find at the airport, for example, and enter them into the grid. Words like “pilot” or “airplane”. As soon as the child sees one of those things, he or she can tick off that word. The player who first completes a row, column or diagonal cries: “Bingo!”.
If it’s all getting to be too much for you, you could always resort to the famous “Who can be quiet the longest?” game. Present kids with a challenge like this, and suddenly it’s all quiet.