Road Trip: Car Games

What If

All you need for What If is some imagination and maybe a map. Some of the best games you'll ever play with your kids are games that involve creativity and imagination.

In this game, you pose a “what if” scenario to your child and he or she has to describe the conditions and possibilities.

For example: Ask your child, “What if the car trip we're taking was actually in a covered wagon?” The questions the child should consider answering are things like:

  • How long would the trip take?
  • How many times would you have to stop to feed and water the horses?
  • What would you eat?
  • How much water would you need to bring?

You can look at the map with the child and try to imagine what the country looked like with single lane dirt roads. What kind of obstacles would you encounter on these roads?

A map is an excellent prop for this game. Use some of your own historical knowledge to liven up the discussion. If you have time before the trip, study up on the history a little bit and offer information to the children to liven up their imaginations and knowledge that much more. You can even bring along a couple of books on the topic. If someone else is driving, you can always look at the pictures in the book with the child and talk about what life in the “olden days” was like. If you are the only one driving, brush up on the geography before the trip with the kids, circle highlights on the map, and have the kids spot them as you continue the journey.

You can also set up an even more imaginative scenario: What would the trip be like if you did it a thousand years from now? Would you be traveling to other planets? What kind of vehicle would you be traveling in? What kind of fuel would it take? What would you be eating and drinking? What obstacles could you encounter? Kids will love this game. There's no history lesson to teach, just a lot of creative energy to indulge.

Camping Trip

Camping Trip is a game my friends and I used to play when we couldn't sleep at night. It can be a memory or guessing game, and for some reason, stretching my memory always made me sleepy.

There are a couple ways to play the game. You can play it as strictly a memory game or you can play so that the other players have to guess the rules of play as you go along:

The first person starts off by saying:

“I'm going on a camping trip and I'm going to bring …”

High Score

If you play Camping Trip as a memory and guessing game, you might want to have an adult keep track of all the things on the camping trip list. That way, you can have a referee to guide the game along.

At this point the person says something he or she would want to bring on the camping trip. Let's say it's a “toothbrush.” The next person would then say:

“I'm going on a camping trip and I'm going to bring a toothbrush and …” This person would then have to add something else that they would bring on the trip. But this time, the object must start with the last letter of the pervious object. In the case of “toothbrush,” the last letter is “h,” so the person would have to think of an object that starts with an “h.” Let's say the person chooses “horse.”

The third person would then have to say, “I'm going on a camping trip and I'm going to bring a toothbrush, a horse, and an electric guitar.” The game continues until someone forgets an object on the list. That person is out and the game continues until there is only one person left.

You can simplify this version of the game by taking away the memory element. The children don't have to repeat the other objects on the list; they just have to add another item to the list that starts with the last letter of the previous item.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Family Games © 2002 by BookEnds, LLC. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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