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Sugar Bowl Mix: Taming long car rides

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taming long car rides

We've given up the carpool. For now. It's temporary. It simply wasn't working very well. So I'm driving to and from school twice a day. Most mornings it's thirty minutes. An hour round trip. In the afternoons it's faster but then there's the carpool pick-up line to contend with. 

Katherine has a hard time riding in the car for more than ten minutes. So this is three times her limit. Let's just say we've had some difficult car rides. On long car trips the girls bring the dvd player and watch movies. That usually entertains Katherine for at least an hour or so. But given that we have strict TV and movie-watching rules I can't bring myself to let them watch movies before school and after school. Every day. 

Besides, thirty minutes seems like it should be manageable. We've tried bringing activities like paper and crayons, books, Benderoos. We've tried listening to different kinds of music. Everything works well. For about five minutes. 

So last week Katherine and I had a talk about it. What could we do about this problem that was becoming a bigger problem every day? She came up with the idea to call a relative who always has great ideas for fun things kids can do in different situations. And this relative came through. 

She sent Katherine the following suggestions for games to play. So far we've played the Alphabet Collection, I Spy, Going on a Trip, Going on a Trip (We came up with some very funny sentences - "I'm a tree, wearing a pink scarf, making soup, going to the moon.") and the 100 challenge.  Tomorrow we're going to try Virtual Hide and Seek.

So far our car rides to and from school have been much more pleasant. 

Do you have favorite games that you play in the car with your kids? Share them in your comments!

Alphabet Collection
Work together.  Find objects that start with every letter of the alphabe beginning with A -- such as Auto, B -- bus, C -- cloud etc.

Animal Alphabet
One player calls out a letter.  Then, everyone has to name animals beginning with that letter.  When no one can think of any more animals, another player calls out a different letter.

Going on a Trip
The first player starts off by saying, "I'm going on a trip and I'm taking along. . . "  That player then has to state an object beginning with the letter A.  The next player repeats the first players statement but adds an object beginning with B.  The games dontinues with each player in turn adding an object that begins with the next letter in the alphabet.  Keep going until some can't think of an appropriate object or forgets any of the items.

Say it Backwards
Can you say the alphaget backwards without making a mistake?  One player can say Z, the next Y, the following person X and so on.  For an extra challenge, try singing the alphabet backwards to the tune of the alphabet song.

100 Challenge
Try to spot the numbers from 1 to 100 in order. look at road signs, addresses, license plates and other sources for the numbers.

String Games
You will need a cotton string (24 to 30 inches long) knotted to make a circle.  It is fun to learn to make crow's feet, cup and saucer, Jacob's ladder etc. Check this link for specific directions.

Virtual Hide and Seek
Think of some place to hide inside your house.  You can be any size.  For example, you could hide in the silverware drawer.  The other players ask questions that can be answered by "Yes or No" to figure out where you are hiding.

Spelling Bee
Have the adult call out words for each player to spell.  See how many you can spell correctly before missing one!

I Spy with My Little Eye. . .  Something shaped like an triangle and is yellow.

Ask each person to name their favorite color.  Then someone else can ask for favorite songs, movies, toys, games, animals, books etc.

Begin a story. Each person has to add a sentence.  At some point someone has to put a closing to the story.  One day I was walking down the street with my friend.. . . . .

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At October 12, 2010 at 11:23 AM , Blogger AirForceWife and Mommy of Two said...

Thanks for the follow. I am now following back :)

At October 12, 2010 at 11:47 AM , Blogger Nicole Bouchard Boles said...

Great resources you have here, Anne! Following you back from

At October 12, 2010 at 3:28 PM , Blogger Liz said...

I have strict TV rules, too, but I let things slide in the car. I guess it's a "pick your battles" thing.

At October 13, 2010 at 10:25 PM , Blogger Leanne said...

Oh, these are fanTAStic car games to play ... LOVE them (and am printing them out for reference - thanks!) We do play a radio game where my girls get to sing a song and I change the radio (or pretend to) and make a "beep" sound, and they have to change the song. It gets kind of old rather quickly, though, so I would stick with your list. ;) (sorry!!!) LOVE your list!!!

At October 14, 2010 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Carol said...

What a great idea! Car rides can be so stressful when little ones aren't happy. Luckily my oldest has learned how to entertain herself in the car and can ride for hours with nothing to do but stare out the window. I'm sure our youngest won't be quite so easy!

I'm following you back!


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