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Five free games to play on the train

There’s no denying that having children is an expensive experience. A recent study by The Money Advice Service stated that it costs on average £155,100 to raise a child until the age of 18 if you take childcare into consideration, and £187,100 if you are a lone parent.

Bigger cars, larger supermarket bills and after-school clubs all mount up and before long, you are spending more money on their needs than you are your own!

When it comes to travelling with a family, the costs can soon add up here too. Although Family Railcards and discounted kid’s tickets are available, there is still a whole range of extra costs to consider when it comes to accommodation, activities and food.

Luckily, entertaining the kids on your next train journey doesn’t need to cost the earth, in fact, it doesn’t have to cost you a single penny. Here we share with you our top five favourite games to play on the train – and they’re all absolutely free!

  1. I spy

It’s an old classic, but sometimes these really are the best! Let the whole family take it in turns to spot an object either inside or outside the train and let the rest of the family guess what it is, giving them only the first letter of the word as a clue. For instance, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with S”. Is it a seat? A sandwich? A sausage dog? Say what you see until someone gets it right!

Another take on this classic game is to use colours as clues instead of letters, i.e. “I spy with my little eye, something the colour of green”. This could be a slightly easier adaptation for younger travelers and toddlers.

  1. The yes/no game

This is another favourite that has been around the block many times, but which still remains a classic!

The main objective of the yes/no game is not to say the words yes or no at any point! Family members take it in turns to ask each other questions, trying to trick each other out, but players must answer the questions without using these forbidden words! If you do, you are out! Simple as that.

  1. The quiet game

Ahh, the joy of silence. Something that modern parents don’t get to experience that often.

This train journey, why not set a challenge to find the family member who can be silent for the longest! Start the quest once the train leaves the station and see who can take the longest vow of silence…perhaps someone can last to the next station, or even until the final destination? Offer an enticing reward to the winner or to all who can keep to the challenge, and you might be in for your most relaxing and peaceful train journey to date!

  1. Make-your-own wordsearch

Kids of all ages love a good wordsearch, and by creating it yourself, you can tailor it to your child’s capabilities and favourite interests.

Before you leave, take some time to think about some words relating to your journey, such as train, station, hotel, seaside and ice-cream. Hide these words in amongst a host of other letters in a giant letter grid and then create a tick list of hidden words for your kids to find. Words can read forwards, backwards and diagonally, so be sure to make it tricky enough to last a good stretch of time between stations.

  1. Noughts & Crosses

A pencil and a scrap of paper is all you need to have a few games of noughts and crosses and the rules are very simple. Start by sketching out a grid including two lines going vertically next to each other and another two lines crossing them horizontally. This will create nine empty spaces to draw in.

Two people can play this game – one person is team X and the other is team O. The first player takes their turn and places either their X or their O into one of the empty squares on the grid. The next player takes their turn to enter their symbol, and so on, back and forth between each other. To win the game, the player must get three of their symbols together in a row either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. When you achieve this, you win one point and the game ends to make way for a new one. The winner of the last game always gets to go first in the next time, so they can choose the first place for their symbol.

Travelling with kids doesn’t have to be a chore and doesn’t always have to be expensive. Be prepared with a few good games up your sleeve before you set off and you are sure to create lots of fun and entertaining moments for your family on route.

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