Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are exploring fun you and your family can have on a road trip and a few tips to pass the time – including our favorite road trip games to help pass the time!
If you’ve been around here long, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that we don’t love to drive somewhere if we can fly. Between the kids bickering in the backseat before we get out of the neighborhood, four of of us being very prone to carsickness, and at least one of us being short on patience when we just want to get to our destination, driving is definitely not our first transportation choice.
Sometimes though, when flying just doesn’t make sense, we find ourselves setting out on a bit of a road trip. When faced with such a predicament (she says, as she imagines several people completely baffled because they just love driving across the country together…), I know that our best chance of arriving in one piece is by having plenty to do to fight off choruses of “I’m so booooooored,” and “are we there yet?!”
I’ve written before about some of our favorite road trip activities for kids to do on their own; as our own kids have gotten older though, we’ve started to find road trip games that we can all enjoy together.
Bonus tip: Road trip games – by their very nature – are great for keeping kids entertained anywhere. We go straight to a few of them when in lines at our local theme parks, sitting in waiting rooms, and even at the dinner table!
Classic Road Trip Games
One player starts with something in mind, often in a particular category (famous people, something related to your destination, etc). Other players take turns asking questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no”, trying to figure out the mystery clue. In its most pure form, guessers are given the opportunity to ask just twenty questions, so they should choose them wisely. We often play where family members ask until they just can’t figure it out.
The License Plate Game
A favorite of mine every summer growing up, the rules to this one are simple. As you drive, look at the licenses plates on cars you pass. See if you come across a licenses plate from all 50 states (and then some). My family used to keep a well-worn piece of paper in the car year-round with the states we’d seen; today you can find at least a dozen apps, printable maps, etc to make it even easier to keep track!
I’ll admit, I get bored with this one a little more quickly than my kids… but if it keeps them entertained, then I’m onboard. One person begins, “I spy with my little eye, something that is [insert color of object].” Family members take turns trying to identify what has been spied. Note: if you’re driving as you play, remind kids to choose either objects in the car, or things like highway signs, etc that will repeat for miles to come.
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
A quick google search will find all kinds of scavenger hunts that can be used in the car. Give everyone a list and have them compete individually, or work together as a team to see how many items you can find. (Variation: see how quickly you can find – in order – the letters of the alphabet on signs. Compete as individuals, teams, or just see how quickly you can get through the alphabet as a family.)
Variations of this one game can lead to multiple options for families of all ages
For all of these games – and really for travel games in general – you can kick someone out if they break the streak and play until one player remains, give a certain number of “strikes” before someone is out, or work as a family to see how much you can accomplish together.
Category ABCs – Basic
Someone chooses a category, and names something that fits it and begins with the letter A. The next person answers something still in the category beginning with B, and so on, until someone is stumped.
Example, for the category “Famous People”:
Category ABCs – Before and After
The variation we play most involves (just a little) more strategy. As before, the first person has to name something that fits a category – beginning with any letter they choose. The following person continues in the same category, naming something that begins with the last letter of the previous word.
Example, for the category “Animated Movies”:
“Nightmare before Christmas’
I’m going on a picnic
A popular camp game, this one is actually good for working your memory, too! The first person starts by saying, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m taking… [an item that begins with the letter A]”. The second person repeats the first part of the sentence, repeats what the first person is bringing, and adds an object starting with the letter B. This continues around with everyone repeating all of the previous items before adding an item that begins with the next letter of the alphabet. See if you can get all the way through, or who forgets the items the quickest!
“I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an apple.”
“I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing and apple and a baseball.”
“I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing and apple, a baseball, and a cookie.”
… and some road trip games you might never have tried
Would you Rather
This is another activity that is less of a competition and more of a time-filler. A simple question asks what someone would choose given two options, and often starts a lively discussion. You can purchase a “Would You Rather” game cards with preprinted scenarios, or make up your own!
- Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
- Would you rather speak every language in the world or play every instrument?
- Would you rather have feet for hands or hands for feet?
Hum That Tune
One player starts the game by humming a well-known song. The first person to guess the tune correctly gets to be the next “hummer”. It sounds super simple, but it’s often trickier than it seems!
This is a great one for a family of music lovers! One person sings (yes, sings!) a line of a song. Where they leave off, the next person has to connect it with another song. Play continues until someone messes up or is stuck.
“it’s a small world after all…”
“All of me loves all of you…”
“You make me feel like a natural woman…”
Six Degrees of Movie Fun
To begin this one, someone names an actor. The next person names a movie the actor was in. The following person names someone else in that movie that hasn’t already been said, and so on, going back and forth between movies and actors until someone is unable to answer.
This old improv game (that I never loved in school!) has provided plenty of laughs for our family since. One person starts the story with a simple opening sentence. The next person builds on the story by saying, “Fortunately…. [something fortunate happened].” Person 3 follows by saying something unfortunate that could occur in the previous situation. Moving person-to-person, switch between fortunate and unfortunate situations. Be warned though, the stories get pretty silly, pretty quickly!
I got a new puppy!
Unfortunately, he chewed a big hole in our carpet.
Fortunately, the hole revealed a hidden treasure map.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t read it.
Celebrity Name Game
Player One says the name of someone famous. The next person has to come up with someone whose first name starts with the same letter as the previous last name. (If the first and last names begin with the same letter, reverse the order of play!)
Amy Adams (switch directions!)
When I was growing up, we used to play “the scan game” every time we were in the car, no matter how short or long the drive. We’d hit the scan button on the radio, and as it scrolled through stations we’d try to name the title and/or artist of a song, seeing how many we could get before it got back around to the starting channel. That seems like an unlikely scenario anymore, since most people are listening to things besides FM radio… and even if a family tried this game, a trip through all of the stations in a give moment would probably only play 2 or 3 different songs!
Thankfully, we have a whole new list of ideas to keep us entertained. Most of the time, it even keeps the fighting at bay for, like, a whole 20 minutes!
Do you play games in the car? What is your family’s favorite?
The map of our Blogorail posts on Road trips is coming soon!