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This post is part of a great series called Homeschool Days Hop. Click on the graphics at the end of this post for 5 other terrific ideas to have fun outside with your family!

Even we are out running errands, we play games in the car. Likely because we typically do not take electronics with us unless we are traveling. Even while traveling, there is only so much screen time that my kids want.

Now, if I tell you a secret, do you pinky promise not to tell my kids?

Ok….here goes: These games we play are the same-type high-quality “thinking” games that I taught my gifted kids to play when I worked as an Elementary Gifted and Talented Specialist in public school.

Shhh……we are actually doing school, and my kids beg to play these games.

Even better still is that my kids created these games.

These games engage the brain on multiple levels, so it creates all kind of good-for-you thinking electricity in your noggin. Your kids are also more likely to remember the clues for next time because their brain is more highly engaged!

The kids like each of these games because they keep the kids guessing, engaged, and each moves fast enough to keep them from getting bored. Oh, and did I mention that they are require ZERO materials and are FREE?

Ready to learn how to play these games?
Rainbow Car2Game #1: The Rainbow Car Game
The object of the game is to find a car in every color of the rainbow.

How to Play: As you are riding in the car, look for cars in each color of the rainbow. When you find one simply say the name of the color of the car aloud. For example, “I found red!” when you see a red car.

Extra challenges for older kids: You can decide if you must work in order of the color spectrum (Remember, ROY G. BIV?) or if you are allowed to skip around. We also decide if the car must be a solid color, or if painted lettering on the side of a vehicle counts as well.

Another variation is to play this game after dark with lights on buildings, too.

Skills taught: Observation, labeling, color identification, classification, and cooperative learning.
Vegetables2Game #2: The Grocery List Game
The object of the game is name as many foods in a certain food group. (If you watch the Food Network’s Chopped like we do, this can get especially interesting).

How to Play: Choose a specific category of food, such a fruit. As you are riding in the car, each person names one food that fits the category. Then, the person sitting next to them says another type of fruit. Keep playing until someone gets stuck, or the family runs out of ideas. Then, choose a new category (desserts can be fun, but they make us hungry) and keep playing!

Extra challenges for older kids: You can decide if older kids can help younger kids think of idea by giving 3 hints.

Skills taught:  Categorization, reasoning, deductive thinking, grouping by attributes, listening skills, and taking turns

Animal GuessingJPGGame #3: Animals of the World Guessing Game

The object of the game is guess the name of an animal after hearing 3 clues about that particular animal. We especially love this name, as my kids are huge fans of Wild Kratts on PBS.

How to Play: Each person takes a turn giving 3 clues about one particular animal. Every other player gets 3 guess to correctly name the animal.

Extra challenges for older kids: This game can get tricky fast. Each clue giver can decide how challenging to make the clues. My kids especially enjoy stumping their parents!

Skills taught: Logical thinking, Identification, Problem Solving, Geography, Animal Habitats, Animal Classification, Using Descriptive Language, Reasoning, Listening skills, & taking turns.

Now, our family is not big on competition, so we don’t have winners. We just enjoy these games together. You can add a “winner” element if you wish.

Would your family enjoy playing these games while they are out and about? Tell me in the comments!

I hope these games make your time in the car a little more fun. Don’t worry, I won’t tell the kids that this totally counts as school, too! 😉

Also, be sure to check on the links below for MORE ideas on having fun outside from this month’s Homeschool Days Hop!

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I transform overwhelming and boring homeschool days into customized engaging lessons that set your child up to enjoy learning. I take my classroom experience and show you the best effective strategies, methods, and tools that will bring the fun and success back into your homeschooling without a classroom setting.


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