“Are we there yet?” Whether travelling by land, sea, or air, parents need many tricks up their sleeves to prevent the boredom that provokes this repetitive question. Take a moment to remind yourself of the old-standby no-supplies-required car games, and browse printable sheets and activity books, portable games, and apps to entertain kids en route. One tip for breaking up travel monotony is to pull out games and toys in increments so that surprises are always in store.
Here are a number of game suggestions that can be found online, in stores, or just in your imagination:
Games that require no supplies:
- I Spy: This is an old favourite and can be modified to accommodate anything a child is currently learning or practising. For very young children, focus on objects with particular colours; for young readers, focus on phonemic awareness (i.e., “I spy something that begins with the sound /sh/”, or “I spy something with two syllables”). This game works well on road trips.
- Last Letter, First Letter: Players pick a category, such as food, animals, or cities, and one player says a word from that category, such as ‘elephant’, and the other player has to think of a word within the same category that begins with the last sound of the previous words, such as “tiger”.
- Twenty Questions: One player thinks of a person, object or place (you may want to set specific categories), while other players take turns asking yes or no questions until someone figures out the answer.
- License Plate Math: Each player adds the numbers up in a license plate, and the one with the largest total wins the round. This is a great way to practise mental math. For an extra challenge, players can round answers up to the nearest ten or hundred.
- If you are visiting a city in the U.S., Education.com has printable sheets filled with fun facts about different cities.
- Why not create your own customized crossword puzzle or word search based on facts about your vacation? Discovery Education gives step-by-step instructions on how to input clues and generate puzzles for free.
- Of course there are endless education apps for the iPad available for downloading. Everythingmom.com suggests the most popular.
- A simple deck of cards can transform common games, such as Go Fish and War, into educational activities. Try to collect “ten partners” (number pairs that equal 10) in a game of Go Fish; turn War into multiplication (or addition/subtraction) practice – each player selects two cards and multiplies the number, and the higher answer wins the round.
Being armed with the right toolbox can make any road travel more enjoyable and less tedious for youngsters, which lets you focus on the road!
For more information on educational game ideas, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit www.ruthrumack.com.