In-car games: I-Spy beats iphones. Old favourites are best for long drives

In-car games

Keeping kids smiling when you’re on a long trip can be a challenge

Old-style in-car games such as I-Spy are the most popular ways to occupy kids on road trips. They beat smartphones and tablets, which astonishingly, are among the least popular choices to keep young passengers happy on car journeys.

New research by YouGov for garage rating organisation Motor Codes tallied with a recent study by Green Flag which found that travelling together is an opportunity to spend quality time with the family. The increasingly popular driving holiday is seen as a time for families to ditch technology in favour of entertainment that encourages creativity, learning and laughs for the whole family.

Looking out of the window and playing age-old observational in-car games such as I-Spy were cited by more than 60 per cent of drivers as the best way to keep youngsters entertained. This was the particular favourite of 18 to 24 year olds and over 55s.

Great in-car games to play with kids

Twenty questions

One person thinks of an animal, mineral or vegetable. It’s the job of the car’s other occupants to find out what it is by asking questions that can have yes or no answers. For example: Is it furry? Or does it have four legs? If they haven’t figured out the correct answer within the 20 questions, each competitor has a guess.

Would I lie to you?

Each player has to come up with three ‘facts’ about themselves or their lives. However, only two of those really are facts. The third is a fib. It’s the job of the other occupants of the car to work out which one is the untruth by asking questions. It could be very simple fabrication such as: “We played football in PE on Wednesday”. Or it might be a bare-faced lie. The secret to success is to have lies that could easily be true and truths that are so off the wall they could be made up.

The alphabet game

The two players each choose a different side of the road. The idea is to spot the letters of the alphabet in A to Z order on road signs and advertisements as you pass them. Each person calls them out as you drive past and the first person to get to Z is the winner. If you enjoy it and fancy a slower start, you can always do it backwards and challenge competitors to start with Z!

Road cricket

Each car occupant chooses two car colours. One colour is for runs, the other loses a wicket. Every time the competitor spies an oncoming car of their chosen colour they score a run. Whenever an oncoming car is the second colour, they’re bowled out. As in cricket, when 10 wickets have fallen, the innings is over. The player who’s out for the most runs is the winner.

Car bingo

This can be as complicated or simple as you want. In its easiest form, each player chooses a colour or type of car. Once they’ve seen 10/20/100 (depending on how long the journey is!) of that colour or type of car, they shout bingo. Alternatively, the adjudicator gives each person a list of items that they should be able to spot. For example, these could be a blue van, a cow, a five-bar gate, a fuel tanker and a petrol pump. Each player has a different selection and whoever sees all their items first is the winner.

The theme song game

People take turns in humming the theme tune from a famous TV show or film. The other occupants of the vehicle then have to guess what it is. Whoever guesses correctly gets to go next.

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