I suppose it's your typical guessing game but I never thought about playing it with my 3 year old until I heard my good friend, Serena, playing with her 4 year old the other day.
Mommy:"I am thinking of an animal that is black and white and lives where it is cold"
Mommy: No, remember it is so cold and this animal eats fish and walks funny.
Child: A penguin!
Mommy: Yep! Your turn!
Child: I am thinking of an animal that lives in the jungle with stripes
Mommy: A tiger?
Child: Yep! Your turn!
You will be amazed at how quickly a car ride goes by. And I think it teaches great deduction skills. Great pre-reading skills as well. Visualizing things, putting things together in your mind. It is simple, but so great. You will be surprised at how well this works. Since our friend was over visiting we have played it in every car ride -- no fail. It is now a family favorite.
Variations: With younger ones say the sound of the animal and have them guess it. You could do different categories as well. I am thinking of a food, I am thinking of a person, I am thinking of a toy, I am thinking of a color, I am thinking of something in the room....(I guess that is kind of like I spy, but oh well, that is fun too). For the older kids you can make it harder -- I am thinking of an animal that begins with the letter R and ends with the letter S and it is not plural. Or I am thinking of an animal that would live in Brazil, or florida or Asia.