We’ve prepared a list of 20 listening, logic, and abstract game ideas especially for you. Perfect for a long journey when you’re traveling with your kids to visit grandma, to the Baltic Sea or somewhere far, far away.
Kids don’t like things to be dull. So, we present games that you can all play interchangeably. Mix together in different variations: short listening challenges; music games; logistical games; tasks to stimulate the imagination; abstract games; and games which are simply fun!.
Have a fun and safe trip!
Abstract Thinking / Imagination
They say kids should brush their teeth differently every day. One day they should do it with the right hand, the other with the left one; one day they should uncap the toothpaste and keep the cap in their hand, the other they should put the cap away. Non-standard, abstract, out-of-the box thinking will free your imagination and will help you find solutions to unsolvable things in the future.
- WOULD YOU RATHER…?
Ask your child two abstract questions and tell them to decide what they would rather do. Think of something funny. This will motivate children to have their own ideas.
For example, would you rather: a) come face-to-face with a shark that is jumping out of a puddle, or b) fall into a spaceship-made crater?
- TOMATO GAME
This game needs no introduction. No matter what question you ask, your child’s answer has to be ‘a tomato’. For example, ‘What are you wearing on your feet today?’, ‘What is your friend’s name?’, ‘What do bears like to eat?’, ‘What was written on your kindergarten certificate?’ and so on.
- TRUE OR FALSE
This game not only stimulates abstract thinking but also helps to learn about various unusual events that have happened in the lives of parents and their kids. Tell your child two very short stories: one real story and one that is made up. Will they be able to guess which one is which? We guess it would be even more exciting to listen to their stories! 😊 ‘When I was your age…’, ‘One day at my work there came…’, ‘Yesterday I looked through my window I saw…’.
- FEELY BAG* / * requires some prep work
Do your kids like riddles? Do they have a well-developed sense of touch? Prepare a dozen or so small objects before you set off: matches, a pen, an eraser, a spoon, a marker, glasses, an old cassette, a toy car, etc. Put them all into a bag. While you’re traveling, put the objects one by one into a non-transparent bag and encourage your child to guess what’s inside it.
- Charades *
required: a pen, a pad of paper / a notebook
Just change categories (animals, plants, animated movie characters, family members, etc.) and you will have enough ideas to draw or show (if you’re all sitting in the back seat) to have fun for at least 20 minutes.
- GET DOWN, MR SMEE!
While looking for game ideas, I came across something that made me laugh out loud. Maybe, as an educational website, we shouldn’t recommend games like this one but since it made me burst into laughter, I assume kids will also be rolling on the floor laughing.
When the kids are already fed up with the long drive and any intellectual games are a no-go, you can be saved by the game called ‘Get down, Mr Smee!’. Each time you’re driving under a bridge, under a footbridge, next to a large factory, etc., or during any moment the kids might feel like screaming for whatever reason, all you have to do is call:
‘Get down, Mr Smee!’ Kids then have to bend over and be quiet for a moment, while hiding from imaginary danger.
One of the kids is making strange faces and the other’s task is to imitate them. Change roles after one minute.
Numbers and letters
- HOW LONG IS A KILOMETRE?
Travelling by car is a great opportunity to teach kids how much time it takes to cover certain distances. Ask the child to close their eyes. They can open them only when one kilometre has passes and you call ‘That’s it! One kilometre is over.’ You can make it a competition after every two attempts. The person who opens their eyes closer to when one kilometre is over wins.
- THINGS THAT START WITH…
If you’re travelling a scenic road, be it a coastal or a mountain one, and there are lots of things going on outside, you can play ‘Things That Start With…’ – here you can put any letter you want, e.g., ‘What things can you see that start with the letter C?’ A cat, a cottage, a cookie, etc.
Concentration, Listening, Attention
- TUPTUPTUP TALES
TupTupTup tales are best to read in a car. Use questions provided below every tale to capture your listener’s attention. Just say that the person who gives the correct answer will, for example, get a sticker. Or can be the first to get into the sea….anything goes.
- TRACING THE ROUTE ON THE MAP
Hardly anyone still uses maps in the GPS era. Yet kids will be happy to follow your route if you let them trace it on a map with their fingers. ‘What town are we approaching?’, ‘Can you spot a river anywhere near here?’, ‘Let me know when you see a sign indicating the road leading to Gdansk.’, etc.
- TONGUE TWISTERS*
*you will need to prepare several short poems beforehand
Who can repeat the following?
There was a fisherman named Fisher
who fished for some fish in a fissure.
Till a fish with a grin,
pulled the fisherman in.
Now they’re fishing the fissure for Fisher.
Luke Luck likes lakes.
Luke’s duck likes lakes.
Luke Luck licks lakes.
Luck’s duck licks lakes.
Duck takes licks in lakes Luke Luck likes.
Luke Luck takes licks in lakes duck likes.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
- ROAD SIGNS
Everything’s as clear as day here.
- CAN YOU SEE…?
‘Can you see…?’ A lamp post, a grey dog, a woman in a headscarf, and so on. The person who is first to spot the object gets a point.
Another version of this game is to guess what the other person can see:
‘What I see is big, black, standing in front of a house and it has paws instead of hands.’ To make the game more difficult, there can be no more than 10 hints. The fewer hints needed, the more points one can get.
- I AM GOING ON HOLIDAY
The adult starts the sentence: ‘I am going on holiday and I am taking… a backpack.’ Each subsequent person has to add one additional item, e.g., ‘I am going on holiday and I am taking a backpack and a book.’ The person who makes a mistake is out. The winner is the one who can recall the longest list of things that were taken on holiday correctly.
- WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
All you need to play this game is a piece of paper and a pen. Writing down license numbers and giving oneself points for spotting license plates from other cities or countries is great fun. Each number in a license plate equals 1 point. Letters indicating that the vehicle comes from a different country are worth 10 points. If you are able to guess which Polish city the car is from, you get 15 points.
Travel Gadgets and Games
There’s a multitude of travel-related gadgets for kids available on the market. Some are less practical and some are more so. Below you can find only a few examples of those gadgets that have proven useful on the road several times already.
- MAGNETIC CHESS SET
- HAND PUPPETS
- SMART PLASTICINE * some versions can glow in the dark
- COLOURING BOOKS WITH STICKERS