Here is a quick how-to if you have never played before: Each person takes a turn thinking of an object or noun. The other players then ask up to 20 yes-or-no questions to figure out the mystery object. The person who guesses correctly takes their turn as the player who picks the object. You can increase the level of difficulty by reducing the number of questions allowed.
Fabian-Weber shares that her family typically uses people for their subjects. “Sometimes we’ll play with famous people in mind, but more often than not, we actually play using people we know, which seems to be much more fun for my kids,” she says.
5. Test one another on trivia.
Marisa Iallonardo, 37, says her six- and three-year-olds are obsessed with playing trivia on family road trips. They start by choosing an age-appropriate category so their kids are familiar with the topic. Then the parents take turns asking questions about a subject in that category. (For example, you can test your child’s knowledge about dinosaurs if they love prehistoric animals.) “It’s either multiple choice or we just ask for the answer, and they love it,” Iallonardo tells SELF. “We’ll either come up with the questions ourselves or just Google topics, which is easy to do if you’re in the car.”
Iallonardo and her husband enjoy playing this game because it’s a fun way for everyone to learn something new. “It’s also nice to see my older son offer my daughter clues as to the right answer,” Iallonardo says.
6. Draw portraits.
Chrissy Marie Serrano, 37, loves playing a creativity-bolstering game with her four kids. Each person receives a fresh notebook in preparation for the ride. “I love to pick out something with a cute cover that fits their personality and a few new fun pens to make it exciting,” Serrano tells SELF.
During the trip, Serrano and her kids take out their notebooks and pass them to the person on their left while her husband drives. Each person draws a photo of the notebook’s owner. “You can draw a silly looking face or try your best,” Serrano says. “When you get your notebook back, you have drawings of yourself to admire.” (Unfortunately, the driver is left out of drawing any pictures. But you can pass around an extra notebook so everyone can draw the driver’s portrait. This way, they will feel included and have artwork to admire later on.)
7. Give I Spy a unique twist.
Here’s a quick tutorial on the classic car ride game: One person “spies” or spots something in their environment that everyone else can see too. The selected spy keeps the object a secret but offers descriptive clues about what it could be. Everyone else takes turns asking yes-or-no questions, like, “Is it outside the car?” Finally, the person who guesses the item correctly takes their turn as the spy.
Marion Haberman, 35, likes to use little riddles when playing the game—an example would be saying, “I spy with my little eye something that you use to jump on the bed,” and the answer to that would be “Your feet!” The game is a hit in Haberman’s household because “the kids love being silly and creative, and it’s a chance to talk about memories and things they love.”
8. Make up a stranger’s biography.
Dwight Zahringer, 45, shares the how-to for a game he plays with his three kids when they’re on the road: “Have the family pick a random passenger spotted in another car. Then go around and narrate the story of their life,” he tells SELF. Every biography includes a person’s name, where their trip started, and the traveler’s final destination. And each person picks up the story where the last person left off. “We might also run with the few visual cues we have, such as why they have a beard or why they’re wearing a baseball hat. My wife and I might ask questions to get the ideas flowing early on, but the stories really do tend to unfold pretty naturally,” he says.
Zahringer’s family loves that the game is interactive and allows them to be imaginative. “We’ve come up with larger-than-life scenarios where people are spies and assassins to a doctor who has a cure for cancer in a cooler stashed in the trunk,” he says.
This article is presented by Volvo.