If you have been on a family road trip before, you know that keeping the kids occupied and out of each other’s hair can be a demanding task. The long car ride, complete with rest area stops, fast food lunches and hair pulling, is a classic American summertime mainstay. With the invent of iPads, high tech cell phones and Angry Birds, modern family road trips are not the same as what they used to be. While turning on a movie or letting your children play a video game may have its benefits, there is a certain comradery that is built from a long car ride playing games with each other to pass the time. Here are five road trip games for kids; before they know it, you will have arrived at your destination.
1. License Plate Game
When driving across multiple state lines you are bound to see all types of places and people. One way of passing the long car rides is to keep track of all the different states you see on license plates. Split into teams and make it a competition. Each team should have a piece of paper with a pen. Write down each state you see and the team that has the most by the time you reach your destination is the winning team. You can add any perks for the winners you may want.
Categories starts with the person directly behind the driver picking a category. Once the category is picked, each person in the car names something in that category, starting in a clockwork rotation. The next person in the rotation has three seconds to come up with a word that fits in the category and that has not yet been said. The rotation continues until someone fails to come up with or repeats a word.
For example, if one were to name the category as candy bars, we would go around the circle saying Snickers, Twix, 3 Musketeers etc. If someone said Skittles or M&Ms, then they would be disqualified because Skittles and M&Ms do not fit into the candy bar category. The process is continued in a clockwise order and repeated until there is one person remaining.
To keep this fresh and exciting, you can also play this with rhymes. Instead of a category, the chooser picks a word and you have to come up with a word that rhymes with it. Anyone who repeats a word, fails to say one within three seconds or says a word that is not actually a word is out.
Make sure to stay on your toes, the loser may have to take the backseat.
3. Aluminum Foil Art
If you are stopping at Chipotle or any other fast food restaurant for a quick bite to eat before heading back on the road, you will most likely come across some aluminum foil trash. A good way to recycle this is to have a foil sculpture contest. Give each of your kids a length of aluminum foil and let their creativity flow.
If you have played this before, assign a category for them to sculpt under (ex: water animals). The children get until the next stop to make something as creative as they can with what they are given. For a little competition, declare that there will be a judging ceremony and a winner announced at the next stop along with a reward. This activity will allow your childrens’ artistic abilities to flourish, although they may not come up with something quite as impressive as this.
4. Backseat Spelling Bee
A road trip spelling bee game can be played many different ways. My favorite way is giving each participant a number of “chances” to be able to get words wrong. If you get three chances, then you have 3 words that you are able to misspell before you are disqualified. Go in a rotation so everyone has the same amount of chances to answer.
To make this more interesting and worthwhile, ask words that are related to your route and destination. For example if you are traveling to Florida, ask words such as ‘ocean’, ‘crocodile’ or ‘Tallahassee’ depending on the age and ability of your kids. Using related words will give you something to build upon when you reach your destination.
5. Who am I?
This game is played by everyone. One person chooses a famous person and remembers it in their head. The rest try to guess who is the person is. The guessers can only ask yes or no questions for hints and they can only be answered with yes or no. Take turns asking the questions and when you think you have enough clues, ask whether or not it is the person you think it is.
Road trips can be long and tiring, but they can also be a great opportunity to bond with your children and have a little fun in the car. Besides video games and movies, there are still some fun ways to keep your kids occupied on your next summer road trip. When the kids getting bored and start picking on each other, bring out one of these games to pass the time.