Those long car rides with children can be trying times unless the adults come up with ways to entertain. Some games can be played with just the imagination, while others require little more than Internet access and a printer. Among the most common game types for the travelling family are the number plate games. You can pass the hours by playing any or all of several games that require simply an attentive mind and a sharp eye.
See how many different number plates you can find on your trip, and check them off a prepared list of states. You can make this a family project by playing for just one trip, a summer or a year. Record your findings, and you can even add such details as the time and place you saw each number plate. Work as a team or individually.
Vary the search criteria while you have the children examine number plates. For a time period, have the children make up words using the first letter on a plate, or have them write a phrase using all letters on a plate. Then, set aside another period of time for a numbers-based activity. Have the children copy the numbers from a number plate, and ask them to add them together. Older children can add the numbers and assign each letter a number value for its place in the alphabet.
Try different spelling games using the letters children find on number plates. Have them make a word with the letters on a plate, using them in the same order. The longest word can win the point total of the numbers on the number plate ... if they add them correctly. For older children, require their words to be more than one syllable. For those just learning to read, ask for a word that starts with the first letter on the number plate, or one that ends with the last letter on the plate.
Encourage creative thinking by having the children use all letters in a number plate to form another phrase. Ask them to use the letters in the order of appear on the plate. For instance, if the letters are LBC, one phrase could be "ladies baking cakes."