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Word games for families

Look for license plates or get rhyming with these summer word games.

By Rob Baedeker

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The license plate game

This classic road-trip boredom buster is also a zippy brainteaser — but easy enough for younger kids to join too.

Look for each letter of the alphabet on other cars’ license plates. Check them off a master list — finding the letters in any order (easier for younger kids) or in alphabetic order. You can play this game competitively, so that whoever finds all the letters first wins. Or play as a team: Time yourselves to see how fast you can get through the alphabet, and then try to beat your previous record.

Extra challenge: To made the game even more of a brain twister, add a “word jumble” component — write down all the letters in the next 5 to 10 license plates you see. The winner is whoever can form the most words from that set of letters.


Rob Baedeker is a writer living in Berkeley, Calif. He is the coauthor, with the Kasper Hauser comedy group, of SkyMaul: Weddings of the Times and Obama's BlackBerry.

Comments from readers

"What great exerises to keep children learning while have fun. I'm planning to start using a few things this week. "
"Another game we play is more for older kids, but even those as young as 6 can play too. You start off by saying a word, and you go in rounds saying a synonym for that word. If you can't think of a synonym, you say an antonym, and the people take turns in reverse. Clockwise vs, counter-clockwise. It is a great way to keep the brains ticking over summer vacation."