Old Classic Memory-Based Games

As part of our '15 Games to Entertain Kids on Long Car Journeys' series to help you survive an upcoming trip in one piece, we have listed some of the lesser known memory games for the whole family to play.

I Heard it First!

In a nutshell:

Pick a word at random and hope that it comes on the radio before the word which another player has selected.

This will stop you getting asked "are we nearly there yet?" for...

Probably about 10 minutes.

LOL factor:

Medium. This game can get quite fun!

Required Mensa levels

Pretty easy this one. Young children aged 6 and up will enjoy ‘I Heard it First!”

Old Classic Memory-Based Games - I Heard It First! game cards

Instructions

With the radio off, all players must choose a word at random from a hat using our list below.

Once the radio is turned back on, whoever’s word is heard first (spoken or sung), wins the round and scores one point. The radio is then turned off and players choose another word. The overall winner is the one who scores the most points after a number of rounds or is the first to score so many points.

Some tips, and variants:

  • Try creating your own words rather than using our suggested ones
  • Think about changing the channel after each round to get a cross section of radio stations with different themes

Let’s Go Shopping!

In a nutshell:

Remember all the items which were bought at the supermarket – every time a new player goes, another item gets added and so the list gets longer!

This will stop you getting asked "are we nearly there yet?" for...

About 15 minutes

LOL factor:

Medium. When someone forgets something it can cause a few giggles!

Required Mensa levels

Easy to start with (harder as it goes on!), young children aged 6 and up will enjoy ‘Let’s Go Shopping!”

Instructions

Each player has to think of things which could be bought from a supermarket. The youngest player then starts the game by saying -'I went to the supermarket and I bought...' adding the name of an item they've chosen.

The next player must repeat the sentence ‘I went to the supermarket and I bought…’ and say what the previous player bought, and then add what they themselves bought. This carries on until a player forgets one of the items on the list, in which case they are eliminated from the game. The game continues until only one person is left.

Some tips and variants:

  • If playing with younger children, keep the items simple such as milk, sugar, potatoes, etc. If playing with older children or adults allow your imagination to make the list as difficult as possible such as ‘a green dress size 12’ or ‘a jar of mixed pickles’!
  • To make it a bit easier, use the alphabet to choose items. The first item must begin with an 'a', the second item with a 'b' etc. This makes it easier to remember what has been bought for those of us with poor memories!
Old Classic Memory-Based Games - Let's Go Shopping car journey game

The Chain Letter Game

In a nutshell:

Working within a category, you must think of a word which starts with the last letter of the previous word.

This will stop you getting asked "are we nearly there yet?" for...

About 15 minutes

LOL factor:

Medium. Always fun when someone gets stuck.

Required Mensa levels

So long as you don’t go for obscure words, little ones aged 6 and up will be able to enjoy ‘The Chain Letter Game’

Instructions

Players agree a category such as animals. The youngest player then starts the game by naming something that fits within that category, for example Dog.

The next player must then name something else that fits within the category which hasn’t been said before but must start the word with the last letter of the previous thing e.g.

Dog

Goose

Elephant

Etc

Play then continues until someone cannot think of something that begins with that letter, in which case they are eliminated and the next player must think of a word beginning with that letter.

The winner is the last person remaining.

Some tips and variants:

  • When playing competitively, try and think of words that end with an obscure letter that could win the game, such as Fox.
  • Instead of eliminating players and having a winner, play the game as a whole team in the car and see how long you can keep the chain going without someone breaking it by not being able to name an animal. Then try again to see if you can beat it.
  • Try different categories such as Countries, Counties, Cities, Boys names, Girls Names, Fruit and Vegetables, TV Programmes, Famous People, Pop Bands, Films, Football Teams.

Number Plate Scrabble®

In a nutshell:

In the same sequence which they appear, make up words using the last 3 letters on car number plates. So for the number plate ‘WL15 MTN’, an acceptable word could be MOUNTAIN or MELTING.

This will stop you getting asked "are we nearly there yet?" for...

Probably about 15 minutes.

LOL factor:

Medium. Although testing the brain cells, some funny words will result in some giggles!

Required Mensa levels:

Better for older kids this one. Ages 11 and up will find ‘Number Plate Scrabble®’ a nice challenge

Instructions

Players take it in turns to choose a car that is either going to pass them going in the opposite direction, or overtake them, or be overtaken by them. It is important when choosing a car that no-one can see the precise details of the number plate of the chosen car.

When the chosen car comes into view, the game is a race to be the first person to make a word from the 3 consecutive letters at the end of the number plate. The word must begin with the first letter of the three letters, and contain the three letters in the same sequence as those on the number plate but they do not have to be consecutive. See examples below:

GV65 BDR – Acceptable word could be BADGER or BORDER

B65 DTY – Acceptable word could be DIRTY or DUSTY

The letter before the number is not part of the game. If the number plate of the chosen car does not have 3 consecutive letters, then the round is void and the next player chooses a car.

The winner of the round is the one that shouts out an acceptable word first.

The overall winner is the one that wins the most rounds in a set amount of time, or the one that wins the most rounds after a set number of cars.

Some tips and variants:

You could add more spice (and complication!) by having a scoring system that awards points based on how many letters are in the winning word. So if someone shouts DUSTY – they would win the round with 5 points.

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