Nothing makes a road trip creep along more than having a car full of bored children. If you heard “Are we there yet?” a few too many times on your last trip, here are some ideas for fun travel games.
1. The License Plate Game. This classic will have your children busy looking at cars and learning a little about geography at the same time. Before you head out on your trip, print out a list of all 50 states and give a copy to each of your kids. You can have them compete individually to get the most states, or better yet, work together as a team for a family record. You can give out a new sheet for each leg of the trip or tally up the total license plates for the entire trip.
2. Joke Bowl. Have a “Joke Bowl” on the way to your destination. Before you get started, let your family know that they each need to collect at least ten jokes for the trip. Have one person start out the joke bowl as soon as you see the first green highway sign, Jokegame123 and then go in a clockwise direction. The whole group votes on a winner and then that person gets to start out the next time you see a green highway sign. The person who wins the most rounds gets a special prize.
3. Wipe Clean Games. Make your own “wipe clean” games by laminating mazes and word games from activity books. You can even create your own or print them from online. Give your children dry erase markers or overhead projector pens. They can reuse the pages again and again throughout the car trip.
4. Counting Cows. This game is simple to understand but also very challenging. Divide your family into two teams, based on the two different sides of the car. Count all the cows you see along the way. If you pass by a crowded field, you’ll need to count really fast! Each person keeps track of their own cow count, and you lose your cows if a cemetery passes by your side of the car and someone else says “All your cows are buried!”
5. Make your own Mad Libs. Before you head out on the road, collect a few short stories and remove some of the words and write down what part of speech those words are. While you’re traveling, have your kids call out suggestions and then read back your silly stories.
6. Read a book. Reading a book out loud can make a car trip go a lot faster for the people who are listening. Take along a few short chapter books to read to your children. If your stomach can’t handle reading in the car, rent or download a few audiobooks to listen to as a family.