Games for the Road
The Car Next Door Invent stories about the people in the car next to yours. What do you think they do for work? What's their favorite food? Where do they go on vacation? Get into lots of details, such as whether they snore loudly or are afraid of spiders. Give them names, hobbies, pets, and so on.
Buzz This is a team effort to try to reach 100 without making a mistake. Take turns counting, beginning with 1. Every time you get to a number that's divisible by 7 (7, 14, 21) or has a 7 in it (17), say "Buzz" instead of the number. If one person forgets to say "Buzz," everyone has to start over. If this is too hard, say "Buzz" for every number that's divisible by 5. If you want a real challenge, try Fuzz Buzz. Say "Fuzz" for every number with a 3 in it or that's divisible by 3, and "Buzz" for every number with a 7 in it or that's divisible by 7.
Alphabet Starting with A, find words on signs that begin with each alphabet letter. The first person might spot a billboard with the word "all" on it. The next person might spot the word "brake" on a road sign. After you get through the alphabet, find all the numbers from 1 to 100.
Where Do You Do It? One person mimics a sound, and everyone tries to guess where this sound is performed. For example, you could make the sound of computer keys tapping, and the answer would be "in an office." This game can degenerate quickly into bathroom humor, which may be why kids love it.
Building Words Take turns saying letters and building words together. Someone starts with any letter, maybe an R. The next person thinks of a word, such as rake, and says A. The next person thinks of a word, such as rabbit, and says B. Each player must have a real word in her head before speaking. If you challenge someone and they don't have a word, they're out.
I Spy Someone says "I spy with my little eye something green." Whoever guesses correctly what green thing the spy sees goes next. You could limit the items to what's in the vehicle. Or, you could get tricky and play I Spied, selecting items that you've already passed.
Counting Cows Play as individuals or teams. First, decide on a destination where you will stop counting. Then, count the cows on your side of the road while the other players count cows on their side of the car. The goal is to have the highest number when the destination is reached. Pass a cemetery on your side and you have to start over again. If there aren't any cows on your route, try counting red cars, mailboxes, or phone booths.
20 Questions One player thinks of a famous person, place, or thing. Everyone else gets to ask the player 20 questions, which must be answered "yes" or "no." For example, "Does it know how to read?" is a valid question, but "What's its favorite book?" is not. Whoever guesses correctly gets a turn to think up something.
Rock, Paper, Scissors Two players each put one hand behind their backs. Each person turns that hand into a scissors, using the index and middle fingers; or paper, by holding the hand flat with the fingers straight; or a rock, by making a fist. Both players say "One, two, three," and show their hands. The scissors beats paper because it cuts paper. Paper wins over rock because it can wrap up the rock. And rock beats scissors because it makes them blunt. Play until boredom strikes.