“Are we there yet?” Who hasn’t heard this while in the car or bus (or plane or train) with kids? Whether it is short or long trips, time spent traveling with your children is a great time to talk or play games. Not only does it help to pass the time, it provides a welcome opportunity to have some fun together and encourages conversation, imagination and observation.
So turn off the devices, and try some of these ideas:
- Look for street signs. For example, have everyone look for stop signs and count the number you see on the way to your destination. This would work best for shorter trips in town.
- Look for anything that is common such as billboards, trees, bus stops or bridges.
- Look for as many things as you can that are a certain colour.
- Play “I Spy”. A couple of examples are: “I Spy with my little eye… something that is blue”, or “I Spy with my little eye… something that starts with the letter B”.
- Play license plate games. There are many different ways to play, such as finding plates that have a certain letter or number in them. Try to come up with silly phrases based on the letters on the license plates (BDEW – Big Dinosaurs Eat Windmills). Or if you are on a longer highway trip, you can look for license plates from outside of Ontario.
- Listen to audio books. There are many available at the library. Older kids can also read along with the written book while listening.
- Play rhyming word games.
- Read aloud from your favourite books.
- For longer trips, look at a map together ahead of time and map out your route. Encourage older children to follow along while on the trip by ticking off exits or towns on the map. You could also draw your own map that is simpler to follow and includes things you know that they will see along the way.
- Listen to songs and sing along!
- Sing favourite songs like Old MacDonald.
- Tell jokes. Who doesn’t love a good knock-knock joke? There are lots of joke and riddle books at the library for kids of all ages.
- There are also many guessing games that you can play. Some of these are: hum the beginning of a song and have others guess the song; 20 questions; Who am I?
- Alphabet games can be fun too. Take turns saying a word from each letter of the alphabet or say a word and the next person has to think of a word that starts with the last letter of the word before (cat, tree, elephant, truck, kite, etc)
- Tell a never-ending story where everyone takes turns adding to the story.
- Or just talk about anything that your kids find interesting. Ask about their day. Show them you are interested in them!
Most of all, have fun!