Road trips in the car can be so much fun and one of the most educationally rich experiences of your child’s life. But let’s get real – it can also be excruciating, exhausting, and downright unfun.
Did you go on road trips when you were a kid? What were some of your favorite memories? I remember sleeping the back of my parent’s station wagon, watching the world pass me by. That isn’t exactly safe, but it sure was fun! I also remember the car games I played when I grew older. And these are games I am going to teach my kids when we go on road trips together.
These games are totally fun and more importantly – educational! They won’t know they are learning, and the time will go by so fast they won’t have a chance to ask “are we there yet?” (Ok, that last part was me dreaming!)
These are my favorite road trip games from when I was a kid. Please, in the comments, tell me what your favorite games were!
1. Sign Alphabet
As you drive past signs on the highway or see cars, try to find the letters of the alphabet. The person that “collects” all the letters to Z wins! Every player keeps track of their own progress. So as you pass a sign that says “Landmark” you can say “A!” Make it more challenging by saying you cannot use the same sign twice.
I remember playing this as a kid and praying we would pass a Dairy Queen so I could cross “Q” off my list. Q and X are the hardest letters to find.
2. License plate BINGO
Create a printout of all the states in the USA. Then, as you pass cars, mark off which states you see. The first person to get three in a row wins!
You can even go super low-tech and just take a piece of notebook paper and write 25 states down in a grid. Make it educational: put the state bird or flag beneath the name of the state!
3. Packing my suitcase game
This is a game that stretches your memory. The first person says one item they will pack in their suitcase. The second person repeats that item and adds an item to it. This goes on just like this through everyone in the car. The first person to forget an item is “out” and the last person able to say all the items wins!
You can make variations – list items alphabetically or numerically (1 apple, 2 shoes, etc).
Depending on the creativity of the travelers, this game can last a short time or even a few hours or more!
One person starts the story then the next person continues it. Everyone takes turns and laughs at how ridiculous the story becomes!
You can make this really challenging by saying everyone must use a certain color or object or place in every scene they create.
5. I- Spy
You cannot forget this game! I loved playing “I spy” as a little girl. Remember how it goes? “I spy with my little eyes, something BLUE!” then everyone has to guess what that person “sees.” The first person to guess gets to pick and be the spy.
6. Rusty and Rosy reading software
I add this at the end because it is something I wish I had when I was a kid. Just load the software on your laptop and your child has educational entertainment. Add in some headphones and you can enjoy some peace and quiet too (bonus!). Lizzie loves the game where she clicks the words and reads the story with the narrator the best.
There are so many other games, but these are my 6 favorite ones. I love how they encourage family members to talk to each other and interact with what they see. The beauty of a road trip is the ability to experience life as it is, without rushing. Take a camera with you to capture the reactions to these silly games – you won’t want to forget how much fun you had!
What are some of your favorite road trip games?