Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to Stop the Question "Are We There Yet?"

I used to laugh when the kids on TV would get in the car then ask almost immediately, "Are we there yet?" I used to- now I totally sympathize with the parents.  I don't like when my kids show little patience, however, I also totally get it sometimes (I'm ready to be there too).  So how do you keep your kids busy in the car so they don't ask the dreaded question (and keep you focused on driving, not breaking up fights)? Here are 10 ideas: (This post may contain affiliate links)

1. Mad Libs- I love Mad Libs. They are especially great once your kids understand what nouns and adverbs are but still doable without that knowledge.  Take turns being the person who writes down all the nouns, verbs, and more then have fun laughing! I bought a packet from Scholastic but you can also print some out at Teach-nology or try the ones I have on my Pinterest board.

2. ABC Game- There are a couple of ways to play this game. What I grew up doing was each person had to find letters outside of the car for each letter of the alphabet (no using the same letter). The first person to finish wins!  For example, I see a billboard with the phrase, "Don't Drink and Drive" I could use the D and E. You can also take turns finding objects that start with the letters so Mom finds an Arrow and daughter finds a Balloon, etc. Or you can just go through the alphabet saying words that begin with the next letter: Dad starts with Alligator, son says Baboon, daughters says Circus, etc.  Either way you play, its great practice and fun- no supplies needed!

3. Storytelling- Lots of fun ways to do this one as well.  I like to have one person be the referee.  The referee chooses who goes and when they stop.  When the referee says "Stop" the storyteller must stop immediately- no finishing the sentence!  The next person has to pick up right away.  Or you can try saying one sentence only and doing it in alphabetical order.  So Dad has to start with A- "Apple trees were blooming but the ogre wasn't happy." Mom has to do a sentence that starts with B- "Bananas made ogre happy, not apples."  You can also try saying just one word and seeing where in the world the story goes.  Tend to get stumped? Read how to make your own Tell Me a Story cards.

4. Sing Songs- Choose silly songs, religious songs, songs from, or even play Name that Tune.  Just be sure its a song that you can live with in your head for the rest of the day. My kids love to sing but I'm getting a "The Other Day" or "Singing in the Rain."
little tired of "Let it Go." Camp style songs are great for car rides. Try

5. Car Bingo- Print out our version below or find some others on my Pinterest Board.  I like to laminate mine or put them in a plastic sleeve.  Then I give my kids washable markers- they wipe right off.  The winner might get to pick the radio station or be the first one out of the car.  The Bingo board is easy to adapt to wherever you may be.  For example the horse could be any farm animal, the blue car can be any car with stripes, the police car can be any emergency vehicle, and the red car can be a convertible, a sports car, or just a red car. This you can change things up as well as end the game before it gets frustrating.
Travel Bingo Download here
Download version 2 for Travel Bingo here
And version 3 here
6. Find an Object- My kids do this one on their own all the time.  I grew up playing slug bug and with a sore arm so instead of that, we pick an object that we all know and find it.  The first person to spot it gets to pick the next object we find. Or just pick red cars and see who can find the most.

7. Share Some Jokes! Here's one of my new favorites that my daughter came up with:
Whose there?
You who?
Yoo-hoo. Big summer blow-out.
Yep, its from "Frozen." I love that she came up with this one.  Here's some others:
  • How do you make a lemon drop?  Hold it then let it go.
  • What person can jump higher than a house? Anyone! A house can't jump.
  • What's brown and sticky? A stick
  • What happens when you throw a green rock in a red sea? It gets wet.
  • What does a pirate pay for corn? A Bucc-an-eer 
  • Why is it dangerous to tell jokes when you're skating? Because the ice might crack up
Check out my Lunchbox Joke Pinterest Board for more fun!
Follow Camille's board Lunchbox Jokes and Fun on Pinterest.

8. Sleeping Lions (aka The Quiet Game)- Lions apparently makes this game lots more fun. The object of the game is to be last one to wake up.  The parent can tell jokes or say, "Hey, look at that!" to try to get the lions to wake up.  Making noise or opening your eyes disqualifies you, however, the eye part can be hard to enforce if you are the driver so try to get them to laugh!

9. I Spy- I like it because you don't need any supplies and even the younger ones can play (My 2 year old will insist on a turn as well. We play along and eventually he says Yes to something).  The down side? There really is only so many things that you can choose from that will still be there a moment later.  When you start using things inside the car, not everyone can see it so that doesn't work so great either.  If you get creative though, it can be fun and its good for those quick trips.

10. Maps- Give everyone a map with landmarks circled so they know exactly where you are and how much further to go.  I find this works well when we are driving across town.  Its not so far between the landmarks that they start asking but far enough that they have to be looking.  If I don't have a map- I give my sons a zoo map that I keep in the car.  For some reason, my kids love looking at maps.  My sons chart out their next trip at the zoo.

What do you do to keep the dreaded question from being asked?  I'd love to stash some more tricks up my sleeves.

Looking for an opportunity to use these games?  Go to the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, the Money Museum, or even try a week at Bear Trap Ranch (even the meals are included). 


  1. Great ideas! I really like the map idea. It makes a great souvenir afterwards. Also, you about the joke idea, which is my second favorite, you can have them write their own jokes, lets say five each, a day before the trip to tell on the trip. This should give you some quiet packing time. Keep up the great work! Love your blog.

    1. Thanks P! The map does make for a great souvenir- you can go back and glue pictures you have taken on to the map too. I love the idea of having them prepare jokes ahead of time. It would be so hard to wait but so much fun!

  2. Lots of great ideas here! I always give my daughters Mad Libs and we play the license plate game too. That is when you see how many different locense plates from different states you can spot. Puzzle and maze books are good too.

    1. Thanks Elle! The license plate game is lots of fun. When I was young an finally found one for Hawaii and Alaska it was amazing!

  3. Fab ideas, we'll be putting these to good use, thank you. #HDYDI

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ciara! I hope you can put them to use.

  4. Great ideas! We'll be moving this summer to TX and it will be a LONG drive so I may need to come back to this. Although, on my blog I made a post about the alphabet game and what we look for for those hard to find letters. ;)

    1. I loved your list of ideas for those hard letters. J is definitely the hardest! Its funny since you think it would be x or z but they really aren't that bad. Good luck with the long drive. We moved from New York to Colorado- that was a long one!

  5. Great ideas! I try to unplug my kids every hour or so on long car rides because it's good for them to not be constantly entertained by their gadgets. They're so addicted. . . its sad. BUT these ideas are great. And also I think whatever happened to just listening to some good music on the radio? Kids need to sometimes just sit and be there. No games no entertainment. . . just look out the window and be happy. Although that is usually wishful thinking haha. But love this post!!

    1. I love just listening to music and staring out the window- that's a great one. We love doing a book on tape too. I try to save all the electronic things for the very end of the trip or desperate times- they absolutely should be able to just sit there and be!

  6. This is great! Thanks! And thanks for the help with affiliates!

    1. Absolutely Kim! Glad you like the post.

  7. What a fun list of great ideas. Over from the Monday Parenting Pin Party. I pinned this on my Summer board.


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