For most families, summer is synonymous with road trips in the car.  But, those many hours spent cooped up can lead to boredom—and after a while, even iPads, MP3s, and video games can get dull.

Why not use this opportunity to introduce the kids to these classic car games? Not only are they fun for the whole family, they challenge the brain in different ways that today’s techno-generation may not be used to.  As an added bonus, they help develop focus, listening, memory, and attention skills—but, shh! Don’t tell the kids that!

And don’t forget! The rules are flexible and the point is to have fun and challenge the brain while passing the time together.

The Alphabet List Game

How to play:

Select a theme. Some good themes are: animals, cities, fruits and vegetables, sports teams, pizza toppings, underwater, etc.

The first person begins with the letter A and gives an example of something that begins with the letter A. For animals, it would be Alligator, for cities, Amsterdam, etc.

Then the next person gets the letter B, the following person the letter C. Take turns, each person coming up with an example for the letter that they land on, until somebody can’t think of an example.

The Listen-Backwards Game

How to play:

Say a series of random words—and have the kids repeat them back in the opposite order.  You: “cat, shed.”  Child: “shed, cat”

Start with 2 words and, as proficiency improves, increase the number of words. Try creating a backwards sentence so that when the kids say it back to you, they are decoding a message.

The I-Packed-a-Suitcase Game

How to play:

One person begins with the sentence: “I packed a suitcase, and in it I put…” followed by an item of that person’s choice, such as “a swimsuit.”

The next person also starts with the same statement, “I packed a suitcase, and in it I put…” then repeats what the first person said, and adds his or her own item, “a swimsuit, and a towel,” and so on.

Adjust the level of difficulty and absurdity, and play until someone forgets an item.

The I-Spy Game

How to play:

This easy-to-play game is always popular with younger children. Simply select any object in the car, or in the scenery and say, “I spy with my little eye, something that is [that color/shape].” Then the kids take turns guessing what the item is. Adjust the difficulty to meet the age of the child.

Tip: When kids are stumped, give them a phonetic clue. For instance, “it starts with the sound ‘mmmm’.”

Twenty Questions

How to Play:

One person selects something from the category of animal, vegetable, or mineral.

Everybody else has 20 questions in which to discover what that something is.

The trick is that all answers must be a yes or a no. This challenges the asker to phrase the questions in a specific way in order to get a yes or no answer.

This is a great game to develop critical thinking skills.

Oxford Learning provides supplemental education services across North America. It offers programs for young people from preschool through university, and its cognitive approach goes beyond tutoring to ignite a lifelong love of learning. Find out more at http://www.OxfordLearning.com.

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Keeping Cool and Hydrated

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on August 3, 2011

Cooling off in the water is one of our favorite things to do on hot summer days, like today. Ben and Noah are just about swimming on their own, and Timmy just loves to splash and play with his older brothers and sister.

Good times!

Ethan and Timmy staying cool

Ben and Noah guzzling the Gatorade

Did you publish your favorite picture/s this week? I’d love to see YOUR Wordless Wednesday posts! Link up here::

For more inspiring photos, check out 5 Minutes for MomThe Bonafide LifeBetter in BulkShanamamaNot Your Momblog,The Divine Miss MommyColorado MomsRajean BlomquistHigh Impact Mom and Zensible Mama and link your own photo stories.

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A Summer Evening

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on July 27, 2011

The weather in these parts have been fairly mild as of late.

Sure, the days have been warm, but the evenings have been beautiful.

For more inspiring photos, check out 5 Minutes for MomThe Bonafide LifeBetter in BulkShanamamaNot Your Momblog,The Divine Miss MommyColorado MomsRajean BlomquistHigh Impact Mom and Zensible Mama and link your own photo stories.

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Keeping Cool at Sonic

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on July 20, 2010

What do the Youngs do to keep cool on a hot summer day? We go to Sonic for ice cream, of course!

ice cream

Last Sunday was particularly sweltering, with the mercury rising over 100. It didn’t seem quite so hot, though, when noshing on Sonic Blast’s made with real delicious ice cream and chunks of Reese’s, Snicker’s, Butterfinger and Oreo. Yes, we ordered at least one of each. You should have seen the kiddos’ eyes when our server brought them all out on her rollerskates!

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? Well, instead of teasing you with details about our ice cream experience, I’d love to offer you some goodies from Sonic, so you can celebrate with some ice cream of your own!

Leave me a comment telling me about your favorite ice cream concoction and I will choose three winners. One grand prize winner will receive a $50 MySonic Card and two second prize winners will each win a SONIC lunch box that contains a “Keep it Real” ice cream t-shirt, a $5 MySonic Card and a few other fun goodies.

Winners will be randomly chosen at 9pm (pst) on July 31st and notified by email.

Benefited review/giveaway

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Peach Crisp {A Delicious Summer Treat}

July 2, 2010

We simply love peaches. Fresh is best, of course, but we’ll eat them out of a jar, in a cobbler, or even in smoothies. I was jonesin’ for a dish-ful of warm peach crisp yesterday, so I searched for a good recipe. None of my foodie friends seemed to be of much help (I still [...]

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Huck Finn?

June 23, 2010

Or, perhaps, his twin?

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Backyard Discovery

June 21, 2010
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Borders’ Summer Reading Tip #2

June 18, 2010

This week’s tip on encouraging your young’ens to read is brought to you by HarperCollins:: Encourage your children to read books about people who are different from them. In fact, Katherine Paterson, recently named National Ambassador for Children’s Literature by the Library Of Congress and author of many award-winning books for children, including Bridge to [...]

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Borders’ Double-Dog Dare Summer Reading Challenge

June 10, 2010

Even though most of my older kiddos love to read, now that summer is here and all of the neighbor kids are knocking on our door, I’m having a tough time getting them to sit still with a book. Even my younger tykes would rather be running around outside or playing on their new park [...]

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Warm Summer Nights

August 6, 2009

A fire pit is often overlooked, it seems to me, when people are putting their backyards together. BBQ, check. Patio furniture, check. Fire pit…do we need that? The answer is, “Yes.” But, only if you want to have great fun on many a cool summer evening with your kids. I can bet that they will [...]

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Water Play

August 5, 2009

We love to play in the water on these hot summer days! Two of my kiddos are missing from these series of pics… They were with us at the park, but didn’t feel especially open to having their picture taken. I’ll get ‘em next time! Visit more Wordless Wednesday participants at 5 Minutes for Mom [...]

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The Sounds of Summer

August 2, 2009

This post was written by Ray, our resident grilling expert. Imagine two gleeful and pyromaniac eight-year old boys watching your every move as you rotate the T-bone steaks sizzling on the wood fire. Earlier, they wanted free reign of the matches to light the brickets (which of course you said no way) and now they [...]

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Days of Summer

July 31, 2009

As I sit here, on this last day in July, I can’t help but allow myself to get caught up in the laughter and joyful noises emanating from my yard. My children are so full of life, so full of energy. I’ve always said that if I could bottle up their energy and sell it, [...]

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Summertime Learning

June 4, 2009

As a homeschooling family we enjoy so much freedom. The freedom to take a day off here and there. The freedom to “do” school on a Saturday, a Sunday, or even an observed holiday. The freedom to work on math problems at the beach, have a science lesson on the way through the Nevada desert, [...]

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