Great Ideas for Long Journeys

Keeping kids amused on long journeys is half the fun of a road trip. So, what kind of activities and games will keep them occupied without resorting to the DVD player or DS? It’s important to judge the children’s abilities, whether they enjoy competition or prefer quiet contemplation – getting the balance right can help reduce the stress. Although, you may have to resign yourself to a certain amount of excitement coming from the back seat!

Mini Bash
A modern variation on the old “yellow car” – whenever the players spot a mini, they shout “Mini bash”. The first to shout out gets a point. You can allocate two points for an old-style mini as these are quite rare. The player with the highest score at the end of the journey (or whenever you decide to stop) is the winner.


This can be played individually or as teams. You can make up endless number of alternative “shout outs”. Here are a few made up by children under 10, you can invent your own:
Vauxhaul Vicar
Flashing Ford
Or some that are not car related:
Hay bail
Mobile phone mast

Family car activities

Bird Spotting
Birds of prey love to hover by the side of motorways. It’s hard to travel any distance on the M40 without spotting red kites – they are becoming quite numerous in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, as well as Wales and other parts of the country, after an intensive breeding programme, bringing them back from the brink of extinction. Buzzards, hawks and hen harriers are also common in most parts of the country. Once you’ve started noticing them, it can become quite addictive – Find yourself a good bird of prey guide and you can begin to learn which is which.

Cloud pictures
Don’t underestimate the fun of this old favourite. Rediscover the joy of spotting dinosaurs, turtles, dragons and famous faces in the clouds!

Alphabet game
Take it in turns to say a word beginning with each letter of the alphabet. This can be made more challenging by thinking up categories, car names, fruit and vegetables, famous people etc.

Last letter
The first player says a word then take turns to say a word beginning with the last letter of the previous word eg, bat – toaster – rabbit – top – panda – apple. This gets difficult once you start running out of t, r and e words. Make it even more difficult by only playing words in a certain category, or not allowing words of the same root eg, toast and toaster.

I went to the shop
The first player says “I went to the shop and I bought…”, then states an item. The next player will repeat this including the first player’s item and adding their own. The game continues until someone makes a mistake. This is great for increasing short term memory skills.

Who am I?
One player thinks of a famous person – writer, singer, actor, etc. The other players have to guess the mystery person by asking questions which can only be answered with “yes” or “no”. eg, Is the person male? Is he an actor? Etc The person who guesses correctly is the winner and they get to think of the next mystery person.

Image: digitalart /

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