Dreading the long distance car trip? It’s true that nowadays, everyone can tune into separate I-Pods and DVD players; but there’s a certain joy in the family experience of hanging out in a car with nothing much to do except explore your imagination, talk together, and mess around. So if you’re headed out on the road, here’s a geography game that the whole family can play. It’s especially great for fourth graders, who typically study maps and geographical terms; but don’t be surprised if Mom and Dad get a little, well, competitive along the way!
What You Need:
- Nothing except your memory
- Optional: Pen, Paper, and World Map
What You Do:
- This game is ridiculously simple (until you’ve been playing a while and you start to run out of words). The first player names a real place on the globe—let’s say, Canada. The second player must take the last letter of that place name (in this case, a), and name a place that starts with that letter, and so on.
- Here’s the trick: no place name can be repeated, and the winner is the “last person standing”—the game ends when it’s someone’s turn and he’s completely out of ideas. Under strict rules, spelling also counts—a player can be “out” for failing to get the correct last letter –although lots of families bend that rule for young spellers. One other common “referee issue”: somebody almost always comes up with a fishy name. That’s why a world map is so useful: for the sake of family harmony, the world map should be the final reference.
- Playing this game orally can be plenty of fun…but to take it one level further, have someone make a list of all the place names that have been called out. When you’ve reached the end, divide the list, take out the world map, and see who can find all of those places fastest. Who knows? This might be the start of family championship learning that could last for years to come.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.