Guest Post by Gaby Cuda
Ah, the road trip: a classic American tradition. Pack up the kids, gas up the car, and cruise down the road with the wind in your hair and the city in your rearview mirror. Road trips are the ultimate way to unwind and get away from the chaos of daily life for a few days. But, as anyone with kids will tell you, they can also be a bit chaotic in their own right. After all, it can be tough to concentrate on driving when there’s a chorus of “are we there yets” coming from the backseat.
Thanks to the ingenuity of our parents and their parents before them, there are a wealth of games that kids can play on the road to keep themselves entertained. Yes, what we as kids thought were merely silly road trip games were actually a clever distraction so we wouldn’t nag our parents the whole ride. But don’t worry – these games are fun for adults, too!
Piece-less, No-Hands Games for Car Trips
If you don’t want game pieces, paper, or crayons flying around the car while you’re trying to drive, check out some of the games listed below. These games are totally hands-free – all you need is your noggin. They’re great because everyone can play, even the driver.
This is a fun game for creative problem solvers. It starts with one person saying “fortunately,” then describing a lucky situation. The next person then replies with “unfortunately,” and follows up with how that situation takes a turn for the worse. Each player gets three strikes before they’re out. It continues like this, alternating between fortunately and unfortunately, until only one player remains – the winner.
The Celebrity Name Game
I’m not referring to the game show with Craig Ferguson, though this game is just as fun and challenging. Player one starts by saying the name of any famous person. The next player then must say another celebrity whose name starts with the first letter of the previous celebrity’s last name. If a celebrity’s name starts with the same letters for both names, the order switches. Players will then need to name celebrities using the first letter of the first name of the previous celebrity.
Here’s a fun game for all the amateur sleuths in your family. The object of the game is to guess what a player is thinking in or under 21 questions. Going clockwise around the car, each person gets to ask a question. You must ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. If you repeat a question that was already asked, though, you’re out! Whoever guesses the answer gets to start the next round.
The Alphabet Game
The alphabet game is a fun, classic game that we’ve all played in some form or another at one point. Starting with the letter A, players must shout out the name of an object that starts with that letter. Whoever shouts out the word first gets the point. The trick is to name objects outside the vehicle, and not on any other vehicles on the road. So, for example, “truck” would not be a valid answer for T. For X, players can name objects that start with “ex,” like Exxon or exit.
Fun Activities with Minimal Clean Up
If the previous hands-free games aren’t keeping the kids entertained, it’s time to break out the big guns. These games are a little more involved and will require some extra cleanup (don’t worry, it’s mostly paper and crayons). They’re perfect if you rented an RV from a site like RVshare, since the kids can sit at the dinette and have a flat surface to work on.
Teach your kids how to make maps! This will keep the kids engaged for hours and will teach them how to find out if “we’re there yet” on their own! You’ll need to print out a map of your route and highlight the roads you’ll be taking and each state you’ll be passing through. Armed with pencils and plenty of crayons, have your kids draw their own version of the map, including the route and outlines of the states. Encourage them to draw unique features or attractions you pass in each state. Make sure they color in the route to keep track of where you are and how far you have left until you reach your destination!
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
Each player will make a list of 15 things you’re likely to see on the road (you’ll each need a pen and paper for this one). Check off each item as you see them. The first player to get all 15 items on their list wins! This game is great because you can adjust the rules to suit different age groups by making it harder or easier. For example, you could make a rule that instead of just saying “flowers,” you must specify the type of flower.
Here’s a game that’s one part scavenger hunt; one part Bingo! Print out a few of these free, printable bingo cards – or make your own! You can use stickers, pieces of paper, or pennies to cover the squares. Cover the appropriate image for each item you see during your trip. The first person to get five in a line wins!
Travel Scrap Book
This is an excellent game if you have an RV rental from a peer-to-peer site like RVshare. The RV owner will be thrilled to hear about the adventures you’ve been on! Have your kids collect items from unique destinations, be it an autumn leaf, a quirky restaurant menu, a ticket from a movie theatre or an amusement park, etc. Then, create a scrapbook with the items. Be sure to include a short, handwritten story for each place. You can leave it for the owner or give it to them when you return the RV – they’ll enjoy living vicariously through your stories!
Never be Bored on a Road Trip Again!
Now that you’re armed with plenty of exciting travel games, it’s time to hit the road. You can kick back and enjoy the ride knowing that you won’t suffer a single dull moment during your travels. If you want to raise the stakes a bit, you can even offer small prizes to game winners. Just make sure it’s not candy – kids, sugar highs, and confined spaces are not a good mix!
Gaby is an avid RVer/traveler. She, her husband, and her poodle spent a full year traveling the U.S. and Canada, visiting 24 states in total. They own a class C RV (Coachman Freelander Micro 20CB).
Do you have any go-to road trip games? Share them in the comments!
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