The school run. It’s as inevitable as the sun rising and falling each day. That same journey, whether by bike or by car. That same period of time to fill. So, what can you do to mix things up a little and keep the kids entertained? We’re glad you asked.
Here are some of our favourite games that are sure to get little brains engaged on the drive or ride to school.
Games for the car
1. The spotting game
Our first game is all about observation. You’ll want to compile a mental list of common sights on the school run and then ask your kids to spot each one, with the point going to whichever kid locates the sight first. So, ‘first one to spot a… black car’, ‘first one to spot a… traffic light’ or ‘first one to spot a… zebra crossing’.
Mix up what you’re asking for each time, and this is a game you can play over and over again!
2. The counting game
Eyes closed for this one. The aim is for your kids to count to 10 (or 20 depending on how ambitious you’re feeling) without speaking at the same time. Each time they speak together it’s back to number 1 again.
This is a game that gets better the more players you have, as it provides more opportunity for overlapping, although we’d suggest keeping your eyes open and focused on the road if you want to join in!
3. The number plate game
This is a game that’s probably best suited for older kids as it requires a certain level of English. Pick a number plate on a car around you (the one in front’s always a good bet) and then challenge your kids to come up with a word that uses the letters in that number plate.
You could score them based on who comes up with a word first, or the longest word or how many words they can come up with before the car in front changes and they’re presented with a new number plate to work with. It’s a great way to get their minds working (and to test their spelling!) as you work your way to school.
4. The quiet game
The clue’s in the name here – who can stay quiet the longest? If you’ve come prepared with some clever ideas for rewards, then you could even enjoy a completely silent journey to school for once. Bliss!
5. The pub game
Okay, we’re sneaking one in at the end here that’s much more suited to longer journeys (unless you have a particularly lengthy school run!), but it’s a fond memory from our childhood so here goes.
The pub game involves you and your kids taking it in turns to ‘claim’ any pubs that you pass by. You then get points based on the name of the pub and how many legs that name might have. So for The Robin Hood, you’d get two points and for The Red Lion, you’d get four, but for The Queen’s Head you’d get nothing at all.
Get ready for some lively debates over how many legs The Coach and Horses has (how many horses and how many coachmen?) and Noah’s Ark (is it the boat or the animals inside?) as the miles fly by!
Games for the bike
6. The ‘I Spy’ game
It’s an oldie, but a classic at the same time. ‘I Spy’ is one of the simplest games you can play on the way to school and a great starting point when you’re in the saddle.
Pick something you can see and then get the kids to try and guess what it is by using the traditional opening line: ‘I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with [insert letter here]’. Whoever guesses correctly then takes a turn.
If you’re looking to mix it up a little, you could also switch out the letters for something more descriptive, like ‘I spy, with my little eye, something that’s green and spiky’.
7. The nature game
The nature game’s a bit like the spotting game from our car list, but instead of being the first one to spot something it’s about identifying as many of a certain something as you can.
You can either give your kids a list you’ve defined in advance or simply pick a theme (such as flowers or birds) and challenge them to find as many different varieties as they can.
8. The spelling game
Any opportunity for your kids to practice their spelling is a good opportunity and the school run gives you a handy daily dose of spare time.
Pick whatever words you like, but start small and build up to larger words as their confidence grows. You could even link the words to what you see as you travel to and from school for a double dose of education in the morning or the afternoon.
9. The alphabet game
You can probably guess how this one works from the name. Simply put, the challenge is for your kids to work their way through the alphabet, matching something they can see with every letter.
Okay, we admit they might struggle when it comes to ‘X’ unless you happen to pass by a music shop or hospital, so get ready for some creative answers!
10. The word association (or disassociation) game
Our final game is one you’ve probably played outside of the saddle, but we reckon it works perfectly as a time-filler on the way to and from school. Word association is where each player says a word that links to the previous one. You’ve got to be quick and accurate, and the level of association is always up for debate!
For a change, you could go for word disassociation. It’s basically the same game only you’re looking for words that have no connection to one another instead. There’s loads of room for fun with these ones.
And there you have it: some of our favourite games to play to turn the school run into an adventure. If you’re looking to pick up any cycling or motoring essentials, just pop on over to Halfords and we’ll be happy to help.