Vocabulary word game ideas for car journeys

Jul 2013
Car games that develop language skills
There are games you can play to keep your children entertained during the drive that will develop language skills

You are ten minutes into the four hour drive to visit friends and family and the fateful question has just passed from the lips of your, already bored, child in the back seat. Fear not! There are games you can play to keep your children entertained during the drive, and not just 'I spy with my little eye'!

Here are a few suggestions for ways to keep your children occupied, whilst also helping improve their vocabulary and language skills.

The number plate game
There are a number of ways you can use number plates to keep your children's minds occupied. For the younger children, why not ask them to call out the letters they see in alphabetical order; using the cars around them to say the alphabet in full. The first one to reach 'z' wins.

For older children, why not ask them to make words out of each number plate they see. Two points for using all the letters on the number plate, and five points for using them in order. The first to 50 points wins. You could award bonus points for creativity or complexity of the words.

Count the cars
Again for the younger children who are learning their numbers, set the task of counting the number of yellow cars on the road, for example, the first to reach 20 wins, one point to the first person to spot the yellow car. After yellow cars why not red vans or green lorries?

Alphabet game
Use road signs, animals, trees, anything you can see from the window to go through the alphabet. Each player must call out the letter with the explanation as to where they have seen it: 'A as in Ampthill', 'B for bike', 'C for caravan', 'D for dashboard'. By covering each letter of the alphabet you are challenging your children to think more creatively to find something beginning with that letter.

Who am I?
Think of a character from your child's favourite book, or television programme, or something relevant to the region you are travelling to; if you are going to York for example you could be a Viking. Once you have chosen your character everyone in the car asks you questions to which you may only answer 'yes' or 'no'. Each player takes it in turns to try and work out who or what you are, but if you answer 'no' to any of their questions the game moves on to the next player. The winner is the person who finally guesses who you are.

Story time
This can be fun for all the family and encourages your children to be a bit creative and use their imagination. Start a story and take it in turns to each say a sentence or two. You will be amazed as to where 'once upon a time, in the depths of Nottingham forest, there was a girl who...' can take you! The challenge for you will be steering the story to a conclusion.

Happy travels one and all; we hope your long journeys become something to look forward to, during which you can enjoy hearing your children's vocabulary expand with each game.