5 Easy Road Trip Games to Play With Kids
For a lot of people, getting ready for a trip is half the fun. Even for overworked parents with too much laundry, preparations help to get you excited for what’s about to come next. Maybe you need to head to REI to buy new hiking shoes, or simply stock up on snacks at the corner store.
Then comes getting to your destination. And while you might once haave enjoyed leisurely drive time with your travel mate, once you have extra travelers in the back seat getting there is no longer half the fun. Your trip doesn’t have to just a litany of bathroom breaks and are-we-there-yet pleas, though. With a collection of road trip games ready in your head, you can make at least some of the time fly back like a truck on the Interstate.
Here are five ideas we recommend.
1. The Mile Marker Game
If there is just not enough scenery for “I Spy” or your family has grown tired of it, try playing “Mile Marker,” where everyone in the car vies to be the first one to spot the next mile marker. Extend the game by seeing who can get to three or five markers first. Vary it by spotting different kinds of road signs – speed limits, road work, low-bridge and so on. Offer a prize, like letting the winner choose the next song or audiobook or the next game.
2. The Alphabet Game
This road trip game is versatile, since it allows children to make use of every single thing they see out the window. Simply, you try to find an item for each and every letter of the alphabet, and creativity is OK. License plates, street signs, billboards (or call them ads or call them out for the words on the ads; it all works). Kids can keep track of their letters by writing down the words as they find them. You can keep score if your kids get motion sickness.
Travel Scavenger Hunt and SpotIt! Road Trip are boxed games with the same concept. Though we find the latter works better on local roads than highways.
3. The License Plate Game
The classic road trip game. All you have to do is look out the window and spot license plates. But there are plenty of ways to mix it up. We make a game of looking for license plates that not from the state we’re in. Or we look for plates with a certain letter or number or with real words on them. You can also be the first to spot a plate from each state (and Canadian province). Write them down as you find them.
If you plan a head you can print out images of the state plates for kids to cross out (whoever crosses out the most by the time you reach your destination gets a small prize). For older kids, print out a map and let kids color in the states as they find them.
4. The Picnic Game
We love this game because it tests your memory and usually gets us laughing. You start by saying “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring…” The first person says an “A” word, the second a “B: word and so on. But, you have to recite everything that came before. So the third person might say, I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring ants, bell-bottoms and cotton candy.” The next person would recite all three things and add, perhaps, donuts.
Fancy Nancy had a variation on this game called Packing for Paris. The rules are the same it just sounds…fancier.
5. Q & A Games
Sometimes you need a little help in the games department. We find Q&A card games are ideal. Never did I Ever, Beat The Parents, Peaceable Kingdom’s This or That and Trip Talk or Family Car Trip from Melissa & Doug are good examples. Some are just meant to be conversation starters. Others test our knowledge of our family members as we try to guess how they would answer.
Kids love maps. They make them feel adventurous. Even when they can’t read them. So have fun with maps. Stop by AAA and pick up a few extra road maps. Depending on your kids’ ages, you can highlight your route and let them follow your progress (thought they might be discouraged by the pace of it), or fold the map to a manageable size and let them find your starting point, destination and current location.
For younger kids, printing out a simple for each child and allowing them to track their journey along the route you outline. Let them add to the map the things they spot along the way.
What’s your favorite car game?
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