Traditional Children's Games for a Car Journey

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 oldest (and still the greatest) games for the whole family to play.

Who am I?

In a nutshell:

Think of someone known to all players in the car and then let the others try to work out who you are with 20 questions.

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

Hours of fun.

LOL factor:

High. This can get pretty funny, especially with some of the questions asked when it is a friend or family member.

Required Mensa levels

If you are old enough to talk then you can play ‘Who am I?'!

Traditional Children's Games for a Car Journey - Who Am I? Car journey game

Instructions

Take it in turns to choose a person. The other players in the car must work out who you are by asking questions to which you can only answer Yes or No. This person can be anyone: famous, infamous, a friend or a family member.

You score one point for every question / guess that it takes the rest of the players to work out who you are. The winner is the one with the most points after a certain number of rounds.

Some tips and variants:

  • If playing with younger children, allow them to ask more open ended questions which allow for more than just Yes or No answers.
  • Encourage players to ask questions that build on answers already given. Follow “Are they a film star?” with “Have we seen them in a film recently?”
  • Players can guess at any time but if they get it wrong that costs the team a question. The team have a free guess after the 20th and final question.
  • If no-one guesses ‘who you are’ after twenty questions then award yourself a bonus 5 points on top of the 20.
  • You can reverse the game and write down the name of someone on a post-it note and stick it to a player’s forehead for them to guess.

I-Spy?

In a nutshell:

Unlikely this will need any explanation as it is probably still the all-time favourite game with families on long car journeys.

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

Hours. It will probably be the parents wanting to change the game!

LOL factor:

Medium. Always a rib-tickler when you “give up” and discover what it was!

Required Mensa levels

Great for all ages including dinky-winky ones

Instructions

Players take it in turns to choose an object that everyone can see. The other players then try to guess what it is, with their only clue being the words: "I Spy with my Little Eye something beginning with (insert the first letter of the object's name)." The player who guesses the object gets to go next.

The tricky part; making sure that if the object is outside of the car, it remains in view for the whole time that the other players are guessing!!

Some tips and variants:

  • Objects in the car are better than those outside, particularly if you are racing along the motorway!
  • If playing with younger children, adapt the clue to the colour e.g., ‘I Spy with my Little Eye something coloured red’.
  • If playing with older children or adults, allow more obtuse objects with multiple words and numbers. Example clues could be:

‘I Spy with my Little Eye something beginning with ‘GC’. Answer = Green Cardigan!

‘I Spy with my Little Eye something beginning with 3B on the CS’. Answer = 3 buttons on the car stereo!

Traditional Children's Games for a Car Journey - I-Spy car game for long car journeys

What’s the Time Mr Wolf?

In a nutshell:

A good game to play to calm things down! Set a target time and see how close the players can get to guessing the actual time. Count up all the scores after 6 rounds to get a winner.

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

Unless you are going to set unrealistic times, this will only buy you around 20 minutes of peace and quiet.

LOL factor:

Low. This is all about quiet time!

Required Mensa levels

6 years and up will enjoy What's the Time Mr Wolf? Just make sure they can count to the target number!

Traditional Children's Games for a Car Journey - What's the time Mr Wolf score card

Instructions

One person needs to be the time and score-keeper.

There are 6 rounds in the game and each round has a target time. Players take it in turns to play each round individually. At the start of each round, the timekeeper resets the stopwatch to zero and tells the player the target time. When the time-keeper says ‘Go’ and presses the start on the stopwatch, the player must then judge when to tell the time-keeper to stop the watch, aiming to be as close to the target time as possible. The time-keeper then records how far off the player was from the target time, and then resets the watch for the next player in that round.  A player’s guess can be under or over the target time.

Once all rounds have been played, the winner is the one whose total time is the lowest.

Some tips and variants:

Make sure none of the players have a phone, watch or other device with the time on it. You might also need to cover up the clock in the car if it's visible or pulses with each second.

If you want even more peace and quiet in the car whilst people are concentrating then try our 2 minute version of the game. In this version, the target time is 2 minutes and all players play at the same time. The aim is to be the closest to the 2 minute target but not go over. The time-keeper does not stop the watch in this game until the 2 minute target is reached, and their job is to judge which player said ‘Now’ closest to but not beyond the target time. So if a player says ‘Now’ at 1 minute and 50 seconds, and all the other players don’t say anything until the 2 minute time is reached, Player 1 wins.

The winner in this version is the person who wins the most rounds.

Buzz

In a nutshell:

The aim is to count to 100 without making a mistake, taking it in turns to say each number. Oh, and every time you reach a number which contains 4 or is divisible by 4, then the number needs to be replaced with the word ‘BUZZ’ – get it wrong and you’re back to the start!

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

However long it takes you to get to 100!

LOL factor:

Very high. This is a really fun game for everyone in the car to play.

Required Mensa levels

You need to be able to know your times tables. Anyone ages 7 and up will enjoy Buzz.

Instructions

Begin with the youngest person who says aloud the number ‘ONE’. The next person then says ‘TWO’.  Play continues with players taking it in turns to count up to 100.  Every time you reach a number that is divisible by four (4, 8, 12, 16, etc) or has a four in it (14, 24, 34, 41, 42 etc) you say `BUZZ` instead. If someone makes a mistake then you go back to the start.

An example game would start: "one, two, three, BUZZ, five, six, seven, BUZZ, nine, ten, eleven, BUZZ, thirteen, BUZZ, etc."

 

Some tips and variants:

  • Once you have cracked FOUR, try again with numbers divisible by three, six, seven etc.
  • If playing with younger children the easiest number is FIVE.
  • If you are up for a serious challenge try ‘Buzz-Fizz’. In this challenge you say ‘BUZZ’ for every number with a three or is divisible by three and ‘FIZZ’ for every number with a seven or is divisible by seven. So the start would go like this - 1, 2, BUZZ, 4, 5, BUZZ, FIZZ, 8, BUZZ - and we're not even to 10 yet! Any number that is divisible by both 3 and 7 (21, 28, 35 etc) must be called as BUZZ-FIZZ!
  • If that's still too easy for the budding mathematicians in your car, substitute the words BUZZ and FIZZ for different words each round!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments will be approved before they are published.