Have your kids looking forward to the four hour car ride just as much as getting to grandma’s house at the end. Road trip games turn a traffic jam from a horribly long, boring ride to a chance to play a tiebreaker for the win. And some of these games can be played when you’re at lunch or on the beach too! Here are the best games for your family’s journey.
1. Twenty Questions
This is your classic travel game. On person picks a person, place or object and the others have to guess what it is within twenty questions. Think of anything in the world. A slice of cheese, a baseball bat, a shoelace, anything. The questions must have yes or no answers. The typical first questions are: Is it alive? Is it a person? A place? Can it fit in a shoe box? It can be tricky to pin down answers. For example, if it’s an umbrella and someone says, “is it yellow,” that answer could be yes or no, so give kids a range of yes or no answer s like, sometimes, usually, rarely etc.
2. The Stick Note Game
A favorite among my family members, this game is great for multiple players. It’s pretty simple. Everyone gets assigned a person that they wear on their head and they have to figure out who it is. Take a pack of sticky notes and a pen. Take a few pens if you have impatient players in the bunch. Start by writing the name of a famous person, or someone that everyone knows (like grandpa). Give it to the person next to you and have them stick it on their forehead without looking at it. By asking yes or no questions about the person on your head you can figure it out and say it on your turn. The first one to guess it right wins, but you can keep playing until everyone gets theirs.
Tip: Every once in a while give people themselves. It’s great when they ask questions like, “Do I know this person, personally?”; “Is this person famous?”; “Is this person on my soccer team?” When they get it, they will have a good laugh.
3. The License Plate Game
The goal is to get all fifty state license plates as they pass by the car. It’s something every person in the family can do. If you’re traveling to more than one place with a few car rides in between, you can keep the game going! Check out Minitime for free printable license plate game worksheets and make it easy for everyone.
4. A to Z from A to B
There are about a million and a half games you can play with the alphabet. OK, not that many, but there are a lot. In this alphabet game each player has to find letters in things along the road in alphabetical order. For instance, if you find an apple orchard billboard, shout it out! You get to move on to looking for a B and the rest of the family is still looking for their A word. The first one to find all 26 letters in signs, billboards, license plates, even bumper stickers, wins. For more game rules and variations check out Instructables ABC game ideas.
5. Create A Story
As a lover of a good story, this is my favorite game. It’s basically creating a story from thin air. Someone starts by saying a line like, “There was a man who had no hair.” Then the next person would say another line that rhymes like, “He had to sell it at a fair.” The game continues, and your story grows. You can play it for a few hours or a few minutes. It usually ends up as a pretty funny tale that will be your inside joke the rest of the trip. It’s up to you if all the lines have to rhyme or just every other line. If you are playing every other, it’s best to have an odd number of people, so everyone gets a chance to rhyme.
6. The Banana Game
This one is pretty simple, and should be enjoyed in moderation. It can get monotonous if you play it every time you are in the car for the whole trip, but it is extremely fun to play while enjoying other conversation too. The first person to spot a yellow vehicle wins. This could be anything, a yellow truck, bus, car, bike even. This game and a variation of Create a Story can be found on How Stuff Work!
7. Road Trip Bingo
This is another one from MiniTime. Basically, this is like a scavenger hunt without the walking around. Print the free bingo cards from MiniTime and use pennies or cut-up piece of paper to cover the squares as you see them. Things like stop signs, buses, traffic cones and airplanes are all on the list. It can keep little kids happy for hours. Maybe each time they win they could get a prize like a snack or a chance to pick the next song they listen to in the car!
8. I Spy Jars
Every kid loves to play I Spy, but when you’re in the car it’s hard to find good things to pick. After a while, all the great things to spot are taken. Looking out the window doesn’t work either because things pass by so fast. From Kids Activities Blog, you can just make your own I Spy game with these simple instructions! Put a verity of knickknacks in a clear container with some sand or rice. Kids can pick an item and pass off the game to each other to try and find the item. I suggest bringing a note pad and having kids write their items down each turn so there are no fights. This is also great if the adults want a break from the game playing for some quiet time.
Travel can be tedious and boring, but as Emerson said, life is about the journey, not the destination. Make every trip great from start to finish with these simple travel games.