Sit down, friends, and let me tell you a tale about our Hurricane Irma adventure last year. After my husband finally succumbed to my pleas that we GTFO before the storm made landfall 13 miles south of our home, we thought driving to the panhandle on the single route out of the state with all the other Floridians wouldn't be so bad. It was terrible. Had we armed ourselves a little better with some hurricane evacuation games to occupy ourselves and the kids, perhaps we wouldn't have wanted to set the cars on fire by the time we crept into Panama City in the wee hours of the morning. So in the service of families evacuating from Hurricane Florence right now, I've created a list of games to keep little ones busy in the car.
So how bad was it? Our caravan to safety involved two cars, two kids, three pets, one mother-in-law, one fully functional litter box, one pee bucket, one harrowing gas shortage, and 17 hours of deadlocked traffic one way to escape to safety. Fortunately, we were not one bit sorry once it became clear that some scary stuff went down in our hometown. So to all those families still thinking about fleeing Hurricane Florence, I suggest sucking it up and leaving. Just get some good tunes, maybe a kid-friendly podcast or two, and these games to keep everyone's mind off the storm.
1. The License Plate Game
See how many states are represented on the highway and assign your co-pilot the responsibility of recording each fresh find.
2. Choose Your Adventure
Starting with "once upon a time," each family member contributes to a story by adding a complete sentence until it reaches a conclusion.
3. 20 Questions
One person imagines an animal, mineral, or vegetable and the others take turns asking yes-or-no questions. After 20, each person gets the chance to guess what it is.
4. Road Trip Bingo
Take a minute to print up some customizable Bingo cards so kids can spot the items on the road and place pennies on them. You'll need a flat surface (the back of a tablet will do!) and a cup for the counters.
5. I Spy
A perennial favorite, "I spy with my little eye, something _" can keep kids going for much longer than the game deserves. Just be sure that they choose something inside the car so everyone else doesn't get frustrated trying to guess something spotted five miles back.
6. Two Truths & A Lie
Each player makes two true and one false statement about themselves and the others guess which is the lie. It's a super silly and creative distraction for little guys!
7. The Alphabet Game
With each person choosing the right or left side of the car, players race to find letters on road signs, license plates, and other outdoor fixtures in alphabetical order. The first person to finish the alphabet wins.
8. I'm Going On A Picnic
Taking turns, each player states, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing an 'apple,'" adding another object to the basket that starts with the following letter of the alphabet. Things get wild around the middle of the alphabet, and it takes a real winner to remember all 26 objects when the family reaches Z.
9. The Singing Game
One person starts singing a song and, based on a lyric, the next person picks it up with a different song. For example, Grandma can sing "Come On, Get Happy" by The Partridge Family, and someone else could pick up with "clap along if you know what happiness is to you" from Pharell's "Happy." Be warned, this game is just silliness. There is no point and no winner, so have fun.