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Travel Games for the Road

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By Teresa Mills, Kid-Friendly-Family-Vacations.com

Travel games are a great way to break up the monotony of a long distance trip whether you are traveling with kids by foot, car, train or plane. And while board games, printable puzzles and word searches can provide hours of fun, they may not involve everyone in your group and are tough to play while walking or touring. Guessing games, word games and memory games may be old fashioned but they are easily adapted for age and interest, do not have little pieces or take up valuable space, they cost next to nothing, and provide hours of fun and a bit of learning as well. And they can become a family tradition.

The following travel games have smoothed many a family road trip and grown with our four kids from pre-school to middle school.

I'm thinking of a person
"I'm thinking of a person" is one of our favorite guessing games. It is easy to play and is easily tailored to the age and interests of the kids. One player thinks of a person such as a family member, friend or, with older kids, someone famous. The other players take turns asking simple yes and no questions that will help them guess the person's name. The questions can be anything at all. Is the person an adult? Is the person a female? Does this person have children? Do they have red hair? The players ask questions until someone guesses correctly. The winner thinks of the next person.

Points can make the game more difficult. The player that guesses correctly gets 2 points and 1 point is deducted for each incorrect guess.

I'm going on a trip
In its simplest form, "I'm going on a trip" is a memory game that is lots of fun. The first person starts by saying I'm going on a trip and stating the object they are bringing. For example, I'm going on a trip and I'm bringing a suitcase. The second person repeats what the first person said and adds something new. I'm going on a trip and I'm bringing a suitcase and a stuffed animal. And so on. When a player makes a mistake they drop out. The game continues until only one person is left.

Adding rules, such as ABCs or first letter sounds, can increase the difficulty and change the nature of the game. The first person brings an object that begins with the letter A. The second person brings an object that begins with the letter B. For Example, I'm going on a trip and I'm bringing an apple. I'm going on a trip and I'm bringing a banana. Now you have a word game. Combine the two and increase the difficulty of the game.

With older children the game can get even more complex and become a logic puzzle. Rather than stating the rule at the beginning, the players have to guess the first person's rule. For example, I am going on a trip, and I am bringing a towel. (My name is Teresa, so the item that I am bringing must start with a "T".) If the next person selects something that does not begin with the first letter as his or her first name, they are told that they cannot go on the trip. The game continues until each players adds an object that meets the rule.

Toss Up
One of our children's favorite travel games is called "Toss Up". In Toss Up, my husband simply tosses questions up. For instance, "Who was the first president of the United States of America?" or "If I had 5 apples, and I gave 3 apples to Tom, how many apples would I have left?" Social studies, science, history, math, trivia… they all work. If you are traveling with children of various ages, you might toss up general questions to all of the kids but ask specific questions to specific kids. For example, say this toss up is just for Adam… and then ask a question that is tailored to his age

This game was a huge hit with our children when they were aged 3 to 5. Yet at 11 and 13, they still often say, 'Hey Daddy, throw us a toss up.' Believe me, coming up with questions for smart middle-schoolers is tough!

So the next time you get out your hiking boots or pack your suitcase for a family trip don't forget to put old fashioned travel games on your list of travel activities for kids. And enjoy hours of fun.

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