Traditional Alphabet Game
I'm sure there isn't a person out there that doesn't know what this is... but JUST in case, all you do is try to find all the letters of the alphabet starting with letter A and making your way to Z. Jay always plays it so that the letter can be anywhere in a word, but if you like more of a challenge, it can be fun to only allow it to be the first letter of a word. I find this is a great way for kids to practice thinking about the letter order w/out singing the song every time, and it also just helps with seeing signs as something other than an unrecognizable foreign language.
Alphabet Game for Beginners
This is better for kids who are just learning their letters. You can instead try to have them only point out every A they can see. (You could even specify "Big A" or "little a"). Then you can move on to other letters as you see fit. You could even, instead, help them get used to finding letters in their own name first.
Say It Fast
This is a game that helps for when kids start sounding out words themselves. Something I've noticed with The Frog is he will sound out the whole word "caaaaaaaaataaaaaaaaapuuuuuuuuulllllllllllt" and get to the end, having no idea what he just said. SO, this game is intended to help them get used to hearing a word said really slowly, and then registering what word it is. For example, I would say,
"Mmmmmmaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnn. Say it fast!" and the kids would yell, "MAN!"
"sssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. Say It Fast!"
etc. Obviously, you would start with short words (and maybe even try to think of words that might be encountered with the earliest reading) and once they get good, you can do long ones. (Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?)
You could also do themed words, like if you've been talking about ancient Egypt, do words like, "pyramid", "mummification", "Nile", etc.
The Rhyming Game
This is also great for kids because if they can recognize rhyming words, then when they have already read something like "hike", it will be easier to recognize "bike" later. So, basically, you pick any word and get them to say things that rhyme with it. I usually throw some out as well. It's amazing how much car-time you can pass with this.
Sound it Out
This one, I admittedly haven't tried yet, but I just thought of it and I'd like to see how it goes. Probably The Frog is the only one knowledgable enough for this one, but probably Peach would get the hang of it after listening to him do it.
It's a bit like the opposite of "Say It Fast". The idea is to just pick a word, and then say it slowly together and try to figure out which letters are making all the sounds.
I do an exercise like this with The Frog everyday as part of out "trial-run-homeschooling"- we pick any old sentence (yesterday's was, "I have pen on my face.", because The Frog, unknowingly, did have pen on his face, and I thought it was funny :D) and try to sound out all the words. The Frog will do his best to write them down on his own and then I'll go over it with him and write it all down correctly after. Then we each circle our favorite letters (the ones that are written the best.) to help him pay more attention to his handwriting. So, anyway, I thought maybe we could try doing it all mentally in the car too! We'll see :)
What are your favorite ways to pass the time in the car?
PS you don't have to be in the car to play these games. in case that was unclear... :)