Road trips can be difficult with children in the back seat - make sure they're occupied and having.
“Summer vacation is a time when parents realise that teachers are grossly underpaid"
1. Going on a trip
This is a memory game where each person in turn tells what he’s taking on a trip. The first person thinks of something that begins with the letter A, the next person the letter B and so on. Each person has to remember and recite all the things that have been mentioned thus far. For example, “I’m going on a trip and I’m taking an anvil.”
“I’m going on a trip and I’m taking an anvil and a button.”
“I’m going on a trip and I’m taking an anvil, a button and my cat.”
There are lots of possible variations to this game. Try “I’m going to the supermarket” or, for older kids, the book shop, the music store or the nursery.
2. He is, she is
This game is great for playing on car trips. Look at the car next to yours and make up stories about the lives of the passengers. Challenge kids to be outrageously creative. What do they do? Where do they live? How many pets do they have?
This is a classic car travel game. Divide the car occupants into teams - left side and right side. Count the cows you see on your side of the car. If you pass a field full of cows, you’d better count fast! If you pass a cemetery on your side of the car, you lose all your cows - but only if the opposing team calls out "Your cows are buried!" Decide on an end point, perhaps first to a 100, or the person with the most points by Bloemfontein, wins.
4. The ABC game
The objective is to complete the alphabet from A to Z. As you see the letter on billboards and signs you shout out the letter and point. You can either play competitively, or see how quickly you can get to Z working together.
5. Number plate games
Make an interesting or funny three word phrase from the letters of the number plate. So if the letters are VWK, you might come up with Very Crazy Kids or Voracious Cannibals Knit.
An alternative is to make a word that uses all three letters in it. To make it harder, you might introduce a rule that the letters have to be used in the order they appear on the number plate.
Challenge your children to complete certain tasks. Perhaps recite the alphabet forward (younger players) or backwards (older players), or name all nine provinces, or count in 5s to 200.
7 Word ladders
Pick two four-letter words, such as WARM and COLD. Challenge the other players to change WARM to COLD by changing only one letter at a time so that you have a new four-letter word at each step. See the example below.
W A R M
W A R N
B A R N
B O R N
C O R D
C O L D
Get a singing contest going in the car. Sing along and you’ll be there before you know it. There’s a lot more to singing in the car than just what’s on the radio.
Use a simple word, like "cap." Everyone takes turns going around the car, finding words that rhyme with the chosen word.
Are we there yet?
Photocopy the relevant map page for each child. Show them how far you have come, how much further there is to go and let them mark it with a crayon. Every time someone asks "How much further?” let them see for themselves. You might also get a compass and show them how it works along with the map.