“Are we there yet?” It's the complaint that you never want to hear when there are still 100 miles to go during your family road trip. Thankfully, with a little preparation, you can keep the kiddos entertained even during long hours of travel. Here are just a few of the best road trip games for kids and families!
1. Alphabet Games
Alphabet games are a road trip classic. Everyone can play, including little travelers just learning their ABCs, and there are endless ways to do it. For example, category-based games might have everyone take turns listing animals or foods that start with A, B, C, and so on. First-and-last games can make the last letter of your word be the first letter of the next person's word. If you're a multilingual family, you can switch between languages for an extra challenge.
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2. Shotgun! Family Road Trip Card Game
Shotgun! is a card game designed specifically for family road trips. The cards are printed with dares, questions, challenges, trivia, and more. Some topics are silly and meant for younger kids; others are more engaging and thought-provoking for older teens and parents. Since everyone will get a turn in the spotlight, it'll keep all ages entertained and engaged.
3. Who Am I?
“Who Am I?” is one of the best road trip games for families on a budget. It doesn't require purchasing or even planning of any kind; it can be spontaneously deployed whenever the kids start getting antsy. To play, one person thinks of a famous celebrity of historical figure, and everyone else asks yes-or-no questions to figure out their identity. It might go something like this: “Are they still alive?” “Yes.” “Do they have brown hair?” “No.”
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4. 50 Cool Things to Do in the Car
50 Cool Things to Do in the Car is an on-the-go amusement for families of all shapes and shapes. Activities are printed on cards, and they range from games to Mad Libs to thought exercises. When you're done with this collection, you can also check out similar collections like 50 Fun Things to Do on a Plane and 50 Great Things to Do Outside.
5. License Plate Game
The license plate game is simple: The goal is to find passing cars with license plates from all 50 states. You can play it spontaneously, or you can print maps and checklists before you leave home so that the kids can color them in whenever they spot a new one. Not only will it keep them occupied, but it will also inspire curiosity, discovery, and observation as they travel.
Bingo can be tricky to play during a car ride. All it takes is a single bump in the road for the chips to go flying! Fortunately, there are magnetic versions designed specifically for kids and families on road trips. You can even find “backseat bingo” with auto and travel themes that use fingertip shutters rather than chips.
7. Name That Song
Name That Song is exactly what it sounds like: a challenge to identify whatever song is pumping through the speakers. Back in the day, you would've had to change radio stations to keep the game going. Today, you can shuffle through Spotify and Apple Music playlists at your leisure.
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Pictionary is another classic that's been updated with app- and web-based versions to eliminate mess and stress in the car. If you're hoping to avoid excessive screen time during your vacation, however, you can also pick up a version with dry-erase boards. Another option is just buying portable dry-erase boards directly.
9. What Color Is It?
This can be a fun activity for kids who are too young to play more advanced games. List a bunch of objects and have them guess what color it revolves around. Preschoolers can get very simple lists using things like “apples” and “stop signs” for red. Slightly older kids can get deliberately challenging lists with multi-colored objects.
RELATED: Adjectives That Describe Colors
10. I Spy
I Spy is a classic road trip game for kids, and you don't even need any equipment to play. That said, there are plenty of printable versions that you can find online, and there are also colorful, picture-filled versions on Amazon like the I Spy! Travel Card Game. Images can help your littlest players participate fully in the game.
11. Memory Games
Memory games come in many varieties, but the simplest version is where everyone keeps reciting and adding to a list. If you flub the list, you're out! Here are few ideas to generate some fun:
- Alphabets and subjects. For example, “cities” might be Amsterdam, Baltimore, Cairo…
- Listing objects outside of the window. This one can be challenging since the list can jump all over the place: cow, grass, sky, semi…
- Rhymes. For a super-hard version, make everything rhyme, and watch people mess up the order over and over again: ball, call, mall…
12. DIY Songs and Stories
One person says a line. The next person adds a line. It's collaborative creativity at its finest, and it can make for a hilarious road trip game, especially if everyone sings rather than narrates. Force the kids to belt it out like Queen in the middle of “Bohemian Rhapsody”!
13. Fortune Tellers
This is one of the best road trip activities for keeping the little ones busy. A simple craft bag can hold the supplies that they'll need, and a lap tray can keep it all steady as they work. When they're done folding, cutting, and coloring, they'll have a fortune teller to keep them further entertained with Q&A sessions. Essentially, they'll be making their own road trip toys!
14. Word Association
Word association is a simple game that can get surprisingly intense. You play by taking turns and building off each other's words, but you can't repeat anything, and you have to answer within five seconds. For example, your list might go from “Superman” to “Spiderman” to “wasp” to “mouse” to “cheese.” Once the list gets long enough, it can be hard to remember what's come before, and the associations can get more and more dubious. If you don't mind a little good-natured arguing in the car, this could be a way to keep everyone debating for miles.
These are just a few of the best road trip games for families. Whether you're looking for printable activities, travel-friendly board games, or oral games that can be played anywhere and anytime, these suggestions should spark a few ideas for your family's next getaway!
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