Road trips are not for everyone, especially people who have kids. Road trips mean planning, and that’s not always easy to do. You end up spending 14 hours just getting ready for a 4-hour journey. At the same time, a well-planned headstart makes the trip eight times easier in the long-run.
We know winter road trips are even more difficult. So here are 20 road trip games that can make your travels fun and entertaining, giving you the opportunity to spend some wonderful quality time with your kids.
Look for things outside the car, like “white truck,” “man wearing hat or cap,” “semi-truck,” or “personalized license plate.” This game takes a small amount of planning because you have to print off the boards. Luckily, there are plenty of boards already made, just waiting for you to enter “travel bingo cards” into a search engine. If you want them to last for multiple road trips, have them laminated and give your kids dry erase markers (if they’re to be trusted.) Print several different versions to keep them interested. You can also make a checklist. For smaller children, tell them what to look for, like “horse,” “truck,” or “white sign.”
License Plate Bingo
License Plate Bingo is the same idea as travel bingo, but you’re looking for letters and numbers from license plates on a bingo card instead. Once again, to make it easier, use road signs and lettering on semi-trucks as well.
Go through the alphabet, finding each letter on a license plate in order. You can also add roadsigns to the game, making it a little easier. You don’t have to keep track of points, just get to the end of the alphabet and either start over or pick another game.
Find That Color
For the older kids, have them find ten things of each color, starting with red, moving to blue, etc. For smaller children, just have them find something “red.” They can also look at signs on the road and tell you the color of each one. Find that Color is an excellent game for kids who get carsick because they’re looking out the front window to find the signs.
Number Plate Tales
Make sentences out of the letters on a license plate. For example, if the license plate reads “123 HTA,” you can say, “Harry Trains Aardvarks.”
License Plate Math
Add the numbers on a license plate before you pass the car.
One person chooses a person, place, or thing. The other occupants of the car have to ask “yes” or “no” questions to find out what it is. They can only ask 20 questions. The winner chooses the next item.
“I Spy” is difficult to play if you’re looking outside because you usually pass the object long before someone guesses it. It’s easier to play inside the car where everyone has a chance to see what you “spy.”
Eat the Alphabet
The players create a list of what they would eat from A to Z. Each player repeats the items listed so far and adds one of their own. For example, “I’m so hungry, I could eat an ape,” followed by, ”I’m so hungry, I could eat an ape and a balloon.”
This game is for toddlers, and you’ve most likely already played it outside of the car. Ask your kid, “Where’s your arm? Where’s your ear?” and have them point to it.
Choose a topic such as animals, names, or countries. Players take turns going through the alphabet naming one of those things for each letter. Animals: Aardvark, baboon, cow, deer, easter bunny, etc. For more of a challenge, try playing it without the alphabet. The next person has to choose an animal that starts with the last letter of the animal selected before it. Example: Duck, Kangaroo, Octopus, Swan, Newt, Tree Frog, Giraffe, etc.
Rock Paper Scissors
Follow this with a conversation about how paper is supposed to win over the rock by giving it a hat? Have them pick something that they think could work better than paper in this game and have them explain.
Start a story. Each person takes turns to continue the story. You can do it by word, by sentence, or just based on when you can’t think of anything else to say.
Someone starts a story, changing sounds out for individual words as they go along. Each time they use that word again throughout the story, everyone in the car has to make the noise. Example: I was driving in my “honk!” when I saw a “neigh!” on the road. This one is noisy, but fun.
Secret Place Race
For this game, you can use a road map or print off any number of maps ahead of time. One person looks up a hard-to-find place on the map. A second player has 60 seconds to look at the map and find that place.
Have each player choose a chain restaurant that’s easy to spot from the car. Every time you point out your restaurant, you receive a point. Play using a time limit or until one person gets a certain amount of points.
Bring CDs or a media player, or just pick a song and start singing.
What Do You Know
Have your kids find something outside of the car. Everyone says something they know about that item. An example would be pointing out a lighthouse. This game is a great way to teach your kids information about all sorts of things.
Bring several books and go for it. The sky’s the limit on this one. You can also bring books on tape or CD.
For every yellow car you see (buses not included), the first person to yell, “Skittle” gets the point. If you see a police car, yell, “Busted!” Everyone other than the person who yelled “busted” first loses their points.
Using these road trip games for kids should keep your little ones busy for hours! Be sure to leave a comment listing games your family plays while traveling in the car below.