Remember what road trips used to be like? Boredom, arguments, the whine of “When are we gonna get there?” Ah the good ole days… and yet, my memories of family road trips are happy ones. Treasured. Because while my brother and I certainly bickered, and my father often made us “hold on” until we thought our bladders would burst, we actually spent time as a family. We’d play road games, talk and sing. My mother would even yodel. (Sorry mum.)
Nowadays the kids are belted into their seats and wired up to their iPods and portable DVD players. As a parent, it’s easier to drive long distances, but it’s not only time and kilometres that pass by with Angry Birds and Disney, it’s also the opportunity to talk to your kids. I love road trips because the kids can’t get away from me. Next time you’re on the road, turn the technology off and play these old-fashioned road trip games with your kids.
Search for an A. You might see it on a street sign, on a number plate or on a shop front. First one to spot an A yells bingo! Then the search for B begins. This isn’t a great game if you’re driving for hours across the Aussie Nullarbor Desert…
Try another version of I-Spy. Give the kids a list of things to spy. Try finding a red car, a post-box, a plane, someone walking a dog… a cow, if you’re in the country. Cows are more difficult to spot if you’re driving through Sydney.
There Once Was A Man From…
Make up limericks about each town you drive through.
There once was a man from Taree, who got stuck up a tree…
There once was a lass from Sydney, who gave away a kidney…
You get the picture.
Noticing Number Plates
Hours (or at least a good fifteen minutes) of fun can be had with number/license plates. Read out the numbers and add them up. Point out number plates that end in an odd number. Spot personalised plates and make up stories about the owner. Take the letters of a number plate and make up a sentence using the letters. For example, WEC could be, Weary Elephants Cry. Or how about, Would Emma Care? Wash Every Car.
The Fifth Car Is Mine
Take turns counting cars. The fifth car you pass belongs to the person whose turn it is. Then tell everyone else about how you got the car and if you like that car. Are there any amazing imaginary trips you’ve taken in that car?
Jane Tara is an author, travel writer, and director of the children’s travel publishing company, Itchee Feet. She has lived in Tokyo, Taipei,
Vienna, London and New York, but currently lives at Bondi Beach with her partner and their four sons.
The above activities and many more can be found in Jane’s travel activity book, “Around the World in 80 Ways” published by Itchee Feet.