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Old Fashioned Travel Games for the Car

Updated on August 9, 2013
Image from Life Magazine
Image from Life Magazine

Being confined in a small space for long periods of time can be wearying and if you are travelling with children, the boredom of a lengthy road trip can lead to trouble in the back seat. Playing games on a long family car trip can be great fun, keeps the kids occupied and it's also a good way to keep the driver awake and alert. The following games are old standards that have probably been played by families for as long as car trips have been around. They require no special bits and pieces...just simple thinking. Old but still good...

Yes or No

bet I can make you say yes or no...

Yes or no is a fun game that requires concentration and evasion skills. The object of the game is to make the other person answer yes or no to a question. For example, one player might ask..are you a girl? The other player must answer honestly but evasively to avoid saying yes or no...such as, I am a girl or A girl is what I am.

It can be quite hard to keep your concentration as the other player may fire off several questions in a row that don't have a yes or no answer and then suddenly come out with a yes or no question, thus tripping up the other player.

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral

Animal, vegetable or mineral is a variation of the Twenty Questions game, which was also a popular quiz game in the 1940's and works by a process of elimination. One person thinks up an animal, vegetable or mineral, which can be an object or animal (can be a human) . Everyone else must take turns asking a question s that can only have a yes or no answer. For example, the first question might be..is it an animal? If the answer is yes then the guesser has another turn. If it is no, then play passes to the next player.

If a player guesses the correct answer within twenty questions, then it's their turn to choose a mystery animal, vegetable or mineral.. If no-one guesses for the whole twenty questions then the player gets another turn at choosing.

I Spy

I'm sure most people would have heard of I,Spy but in case you're one of the few people on earth who hasn't, it goes like this. One person looks around the car and finds something to fix on - a seatbelt or perhaps something a little more challenging, like an earlobe. That person then calls out "I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with e" or whatever the first letter of the spied object is.

Now it's up to the rest to try and guess what has been spied. You only get one go at a time and if someone guesses correctly it's their turn to spy an object. Note that the object has to be in car, as it's no use spotting a cow or an object that will have been left far behind by the time players get a chance to guess!

Image from Life Magazine
Image from Life Magazine

Spotto

Spotto is an easy game for all ages and keeps children quiet for a while as they concentrate on the game. One person is nominated to select something to spot, such as a blue car or a church or a traffic light etc and the first to spot the object calls out spotto!

If they've spotted the correct object, then it's their turn to choose something to spot. iI's very simple but it does keep everyone occupied.

Botticelli

Boticelli is a fun game best played by adults and older children, as it's really too complicted for younger players and requires a good general knowledge. Its a guessing game with a twist as there are two kinds of questions - direct ones and indirect ones. One player chooses the last initial of a famous person...let's say it was Alfred Hitchcock. The player would say I am H...all other players must try and guess the identity of the mystery player by asking questions.

However, they only get to ask a direct question about the mystery person if they stump the player by first asking a question about a person who's surname begins with the letter H. Both players thus must think up famous people whose surname begins with H. The questioner may ask, for example, are you a German dictator? The answerer may then say No I am not Adolf Hitler. ..and play then moves to the next person. If the answerer cannot think of a German Dictator who's name begins with H then the questioner gets to ask a direct question about the mystery person, such as are you a man? ...which the answerer must reply to truthfully. Note the questions must be able to be answered with a yes or no.

Play can go on for a long time but an incorrect guess on the part of the questioner means they have lost the game. You can only get to the correct answer by a process of elimination, If for example, you think you know who the mystery person is..you may ask..are you an English film director? If the answerer can't think of another English film director whose surname begins with H, then he has to admit he is stumped and you get to ask a direct quesion, which to narrow it down, might be something like did you direct a film called Psycho? If the player says yes, you know you have the correct answer and can then say I'd like to make a guess. Don't guess though, until you are sure of the answer, as you'll be out of the game if you're wrong.

The Birth of Venus by Boticelli
The Birth of Venus by Boticelli

Singing Games

Believe it or not, kids in the car will love to sing the old-fashioned, repetitive and mind-numbingly monotonous songs below. Each child can play a character or one child can ing the whole thing and by the time they get to the end you'll have travelled quite a distance. Plus they'll probably want to sing the whole thing again. Unlike adults, children seem to have no trouble with repeative activities. have you ever noticed how they can watch the same dvd time and time again..? Well it's the same with the songs...

Found a Peanut

Found a peanut
Found a peanut
Found a peanut just now
Just now I found a peanut
Found a peanut just now.

Cracked it open
Cracked it open
Cracked it open just now.
Just now I cracked it open
Cracked it open just now

It was rotten
It was rotten
It was rotten just now.
Just now it was rotten
It was rotten just now.

Ate it anyway
Ate it anyway
Ate it anyway just now
Just now I ate it anyway
Ate it anyway just now.

Got a tummy ache
Got a tummy ache
Got a tummy ache just now
Just now I got a tummy ache
Got a tummy ache just now.

(add the "just now's" below)

Went to the doctor
Got an operation.
Died anyway
Went to heaven
Saw Saint Peter
Didn't like it there
Went the other way
Saw the devil
Didn't like it there
Got reincarnated
Found a peanut

There's a Hole in the Bucket

There's a hole in the bucket,
Dear Liza, dear Liza
There's a hole in the bucket,
Dear Liza, there's a hole.

Then fix it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
Then fix it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, fix it.

With what shall I fix it,
Dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I fix it,
Dear Liza, with what?

With a straw, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
With a straw, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, with a straw.

But the straw is too long,
Dear Liza, dear Liza
But the straw is too long,
Dear Liza, too long

Then cut it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
Then cut it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, cut it.

With what shall I cut it,
Dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I cut it,
Dear Liza, with what?

With an axe, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
With an axe, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, an axe.

The axe is too dull,
Dear Liza, dear Liza
The axe is too dull,
Dear Liza, too dull

Then sharpen it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
Then sharpen it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, sharpen it.

With what shall I sharpen it,
Dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I sharpen it,
Dear Liza, with what?

With a stone, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
With a stone, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, a stone.

The stone is too dry,
Dear Liza, dear Liza
The stone is too dry,
Dear Liza, too dry

Then wet it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
Then wet it, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, wet it.

With what shall I wet it,
Dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I wet it,
Dear Liza, with what?

With water, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
With water, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, with water.

How shall I get it,
Dear Liza, dear Liza,
How shall I get it,
Dear Liza, how shall I?

In the bucket, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, dear Henry
In the bucket, dear Henry,
Dear Henry, in the bucket.

There's a hole in the bucket.
Dear Liza, dear Liza
There's a hole in the bucket,
Dear Liza, there's a hole.


Ten Green Bottles

Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle should accidentally fall
There'd be nine green bottles hanging on the wall...and so on.


Keep going until there are no green bottles hanging on the wall.

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