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Car Games

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Summertime often means more time in the car, and listening to the back seat bickering and endless “Are we there yet,” can make trips – long or short – unpleasant and stressful. My father was in the army and often assigned to new posts ahead of us, so my mother often found herself travelling alone with two young girls. She was amazingly creative with some of her distractions. Here are some of my favorites.

SITZ! I’m pretty sure she made this one up, but the first one to spot a completely white horse, slapped her index finger against the palm of her hand and hollered “sitz.”

License plates. We kept track of the states we saw on the license plates and whoever had the most at the end of the trip won. Younger travelers can holler out the letters in the alphabet in order. The first one to reach Z is the winner. Keep a list of the personalized plates and guess what they stand for. Here are a couple to start with: 10SPRO; 2TH DR; AU YLOCKS; BCNU2.

I SPY. One person chooses an object and the others have to guess after one clue is provided: “I spy something that begins with a D.” Or, I spy something that is blue. Rule: can’t be something that flashes by at 70 mph.

20 Questions. One person thinks of something – animal, vegetable, or mineral – and everyone else asks yes or no questions that will more specifically identify the “something.” For example, “Does it bark?” or “Can you peel it?”

Geography. Start with any place in the world – London, for instance. The next person has to name a place that starts with the same letter that ended London. New Zealand would work as would Nebraska.

Memory game. One person starts the game by saying, “I’m going to the beach and I’m going to bring my…” Fill in the blank with anything – flip flops, for example. The next person says, “I’m going to the beach and I’m going to bring my flip flops and my sunscreen.” Play continues until someone forgets an item or changes the order.

Counting game. You can count anything – cows, telephone polls, sheep, gas stations, red trucks. Shouting out the name of the object is all that is required.

Here are some less common but just as much fun.

2-Minute Tens. Players take turns challenging the rest of the group to name 10 things in any category: cars, cookies, dog breeds, athletes. They have 10 minutes to complete the list.

A is for Armadillo. Starting with A, each person tries to be the first to spot and name three items beginning with that letter. The first person to name spot and name three things – auto, apple, armadillo – chooses the next letter.

I would love to hear about your favorite car games. Send them to