Vacation time often means long journeys by cars, trains or planes. As much as my husband and I love traveling, it can be a challenge since our children tend to get very restless in long journeys. So over the years, I’ve discovered and devised several games to keep them occupied during the travel. Here’s my list:
1. Virtual hide and seek: This is a fun game that lights up your child’s imagination. Your kids can think of unusual hiding places inside your house. Since it is only virtual hiding, they can pick any unusual place, like the refrigerator, the crockery unit or even inside the school bag.
Activity: The person hiding will imagine a hiding place inside the house. The virtual seeker can ask questions which can be answered with Yes or No. When the seeker guesses where the imaginary hiding place is, the game finishes. Take turns and start again.
2. Weaving a story, turn by turn: My daughter and me have always enjoyed playing this game. This game encourages children to put on their thinking caps and get creative.
Activity: Take turns to tell a story, turn by turn. The first person starts the story with one sentence. The second person then adds his bit to the story and this goes on. You can see the story take fascinating twists and turns and the little ones let their imagination go wild!
3. I Spy: Another fabulous boredom buster! We start off with this game just about anywhere, any time. Picking up teeny weeny inconspicuous objects is what my daughter loves doing, while playing this game.
Activity: One player spots an object or a sign or anything he can lay his eyes on and say “I Spy” followed by a description of the object, like “ I spy with my little eye, a red triangle”. The other player has to spot the object and then it is his turn.
4. Licence plate game: A fun game to play while traveling by car, this game also makes kids comfortable with numbers.
Activity: Each player picks a different number between 2 and 9. As each car passes, players have to find a car with any two digits on the number plate adding up to the number chosen by the other player. For example, if my son chooses 8, I spot a number plate that says MHC 352. Then 3 and 5 add up to 8.
I get 2 points for spotting this number. And the game continues.
5. Rhyming words: Kids have a penchant for rhyming words. It’s a wonderful way of having fun with language and building vocabulary.
Activity: First player says a word and the other player says a word that rhymes with it. And this goes on.
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Playing rhyming words with Mamma…
6. Stone Paper Scissors: A classic hit with kids, this game can cheer up your little ones in a jiffy!
Activity: Both players begin the game simultaneously with one palm face up and laying their other fist on it and then pound their fist into their hand as they say “Stone, Paper, Scissor”. On saying “scissors”, they turn the fist into the object of their choice. There are three objects to choose from: stone (a closed fist), paper (an open palm) or scissors (two fingers in a sideways V shape). A stone wins by crushing scissors, paper wins by covering the stone, and scissors win by cutting paper. If both players come up with the same shape, they go again.
7. Hand clapping games: Engage in your fondest childhood activities while you travel with your kids.
Activity: Clap away with your little one to match the beat of any of these catchy rhymes/ songs
Eenie Meanie Sassaleeny
Atchi Katchi Leberachi
A sailor went to sea sea sea
Uma Joshi, Yeah Yeah Yeah
Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
Visit www.funclapping.com if you want more handclapping songs.
8. Fingers out: This fun guessing game will bust the silence around and fill up your travel time with squeals of delight.
Activity: Have the kids face each other and stretch out one hand. On the count of three, the children should spread between one and five fingers, immediately after which, both players take a guess and say out a number. Whoever guesses correctly scores a point. Add up the score and find the winner.
9. Finger Puppets: Let your little director put on a puppet show with his favourite finger puppets.
Activity: You and your kids can use finger puppets to enact their favourite story or just come up with one, straight out of their imagination.
10. Connections: This is a wonderful game that will encourage children use their imagination and help them correlate.
Activity: One person starts by saying a word, example ‘cow’. The other player has to say the first word they can think of when they hear this word. So here it could be ‘farm’ or ‘animal’ or ‘milk’ or ‘moo’. Then take turns and play again. You can keep playing this game until your little one tires and dozes off.