If you plan on taking a road trip with kids, you may be in search of things to keep them entertained on the road. There are plenty of commercial car games available for purchase that are likely to keep your kids from getting bored, but there are also a lot of fun road trip games that require little more than paper and pencil, or items that will already be in the car. Several of these road trip games require even less than that. Even better, all of these road trip games are likely to teach your kids something!
The Alphabet Game
The premise behind the alphabet game is simple: the players must spot the letters of the alphabet, in alphabetical order. This road trip game is best played with all of the players working together, but it can be played competitively if your kids prefer competition. If your kids are young enough that they are just learning their alphabet, this game reinforces their learning process. For older kids who already know the alphabet, this game is less educational, but can still be just as fun.
The License Plate Game
For this road trip game, you will definitely want to give your kids some paper and a pen or pencil. The players of the license plate game will want to keep their eyes on the license plates of the cars around them. The goal is to attempt to spot a license plate from as many states as possible. States like Alaska and Hawaii are difficult to spot (unless you happen to live in one of those states), but a trip across a few states is likely to yield a list of quite a few states. This game is good for teaching kids about geography, especially if they compare their list of states to a map later.
The Banana/Plantain Game
If you choose to play this road trip game with your kids, it is important that the driver be prepared for the game, as this one has been known to get a little loud at times. It’s also a very competitive game. (If you prefer to keep it less competitive, let all your kids be on one team, against you.) All your kids need to do is look for yellow vehicles. Cars, trucks, and vans are “bananas.” Larger vehicles, like school buses, semi-tractors or semi-trailers, are “plantains.” “Bananas” are worth one point each and “plantains” are worth two points each. This road trip game is a good counting and basic math game, and can be a lot of fun. It also gives you a chance to explain to your kids about different types of bananas.
How Long Till We Get to _____?
For older kids, particularly those who are working on division and word problems, this road trip game can help reinforce those skills. As you drive, you can point out road signs indicating how far it is to your destination, and then have them calculate about how long that would take to reach at different speeds. You don’t necessarily need to use your actual speed, but doing so will help to lessen the incessant “are we there yet?” questions–the kids will already know how long it should take to arrive.
Following the Route
By providing your kids with a road atlas or map (items already likely to be in your car), they can follow the progress of your route on the map. This isn’t always the most entertaining road trip game, but it can keep some children well occupied. While helping to reinforce geography knowledge, this game may also let your kids help the driver navigate.
Although not all of these road trip games work with all ages of kids, there are plenty of ideas here that may help you tailor these road trip games to the skills and knowledge of your kids. Some of these road trip games are even interesting enough that the adults can get involved as well!