Are you planning a family road trip with the whole family? Having activities to fill the travel time can greatly increase the quality of your trip. To get your kids to put down their devices and interact with you and each other, try some road trip games!
Don’t Forget to Pack Adventures From Scratch!
Adventures from Scratch by Let’s Roam is neither a board game nor a card game. Instead, it’s a collection of scratch-off adventures that can be done in any location. From the moment you open Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition, your family can share fun-filled experiences that are designed for kids of all ages.
Once you pick a challenge, you’ll scratch to discover what your chosen task entails. You can either do the challenge working as a team or individual family members can compete against each other. In either case, you’re sure to share some hearty laughs with your loved ones!
About Road Trip Games
Too often, grown-ups miss out on opportunities to really connect with their kids by letting them spend valuable time on their electronic devices. While screen time can certainly keep passengers entertained during a long trip, it can interfere with or even cancel the time you could spend interacting with your children. Why not try good, old-fashioned travel games instead?
The best road trip games include a variety of games you can play in your vehicle or just about anywhere else. Some games like Hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe require players to use a few basic supplies like paper and a pencil, crayons, or a pen. Other games like Car Bingo require some advanced preparation. To play Car Bingo, you’ll need to find some printable Bingo cards online, print them, round up card markers, and pick up a drawing cage and the requisite numbered balls.
Many car games simply require willing participants, some creativity, and the surrounding environment to play. Some of these games are meant to entertain players while others are intended to both entertain and subtly educate participants. In either case, road trip games can equate to hours of family fun and bonding.
The Best Road Trip Games
1. I Spy
I Spy is a classic game that can keep players entertained for hours during a car ride. Although that’s true, I Spy is also a game you can play at a park on the side of the road, on a short trip to school, or at the grocery store.
To play this game, one player will kick things off by saying, “I spy with my little eye…” and then name an object that’s within view. The player will continue by giving a vague description of the item that caught their attention. From there, other participants will take turns asking yes or no questions until someone figures out what the chosen object is.
2. License Plate Game
This game is one of those fun road trip games that will give your children’s observation skills a healthy workout. Instruct your kids to look for license plates from different states, including the one you’re traveling through. Every time a new license plate is seen, the player who reported it first gets a point. Players who see a license plate from another country earn bonus points.
Once license plates from all 50 states have been spotted, tally up everyone’s points. The player who earned the most points is the winner of the game.
The License Plate Game: Alternative Version
This version of the popular game requires players to flex their observation and creative muscles. The first person to play should make note of the letters on a license plate. Then, the player should make a sentence, with the first letter in each word being a letter taken from the license plate.
For example, RED can be converted into “Ronald eats dandelions.” Other players then take turns creating sentences in succession. The first person who fails to come up with a sentence loses the game.
3. Would You Rather
Would You Rather is a game that can enable you to learn a lot about your traveling companions. To start the game, ask one of your carmates if they’d rather do A or B. An example of a question you might pose is, “Would you rather stick your hand in the toilet or eat a habanero pepper?” The more outlandish the questions asked are, the funnier Would You Rather normally is.
If you can’t come up with some imaginative questions, you can still play Would You Rather. You can order a deck of cards online that will have plenty of intriguing questions players can ask each other.
4. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunt is a game that can up the fun factor during your next road trip. Before you leave home, make a list of things you’re likely to see along your route, such as a pasture with grazing cows, road signs with specific speed limits, and an 18-wheeler. Make copies of your list and give one to each passenger. Instruct players to keep an eye out for the things on the list as you travel. The person who checks off the most things by the time you reach your destination wins the game.
5. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a challenging game that requires players to choose an actor and then find a connection between that celebrity and another thespian by way of a film they both appeared in with Kevin Bacon. This game is based on the premise that all prominent and even lesser-known performers can be linked to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less.
Depending on your kids’ familiarity with all things Hollywood, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon may require them to do some research online. While car games are usually meant to keep children offline, this game allows them to do some research together to participate. Even if you’re trying to limit your children’s screen time, you can take comfort in knowing that your kids are engaged in teamwork and that they’re online for a specific reason that requires them to use their thinking caps and research skills.
It’s worth noting that the good-natured Kevin Bacon founded a non-profit called SixDegrees.org, which enables ordinary people to become celebrities for their own causes through charitable donations. In 2014, the organization celebrated the 20th anniversary of the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with a plan to connect local charity workers with well-known celebrities who can promote their causes.
6. What Color Is It?
This game is one of the travel games that are fantastic picks for kids of all ages. Playing What Color Is It? is simple. All you have to do is think of a string of items that boast the same color. As you name the items, your kids should try to guess the color that those things have in common.
If you choose the color yellow, you can name bananas, Big Bird, and corn, among other things. Is the correct answer red? You can name Fuji apples, Santa’s clothes, tomato sauce, and other red items until your kids guess the right color.
7. ABCs by Category
ABCs by Category is a breeze to play anywhere you might be. To start, the first person names a category and then names something within that category that begins with the letter A. The next player continues the fun by naming something in the category that starts with the letter B, and so on. The first player who can’t name something within the category that starts with the relevant letter of the alphabet loses the game.
Here are some categories you might want to consider for a round of ABCs by Category:
- Historic politicians
- Famous People
- Classic rock songs
- Types of animals
- Favorite foods
- Professional athletes
- Common household goods
8. The Movie Game
In general, The Movie Game is best reserved for older kids and children who are film buffs. If you’re going to focus on Disney movies younger kids might be familiar with, you may be able to play this game with your youngsters.
To play the game, the first participant should name an actor, with the next player having to name a movie that the performer was in. The third player should then name another actor who was in that movie. Naming another movie the just-identified actor was in then falls on the shoulders of the subsequent participant. The game continues in this manner until someone can’t think of an actor or a movie.
9. The Alphabet Game
As long as they’re familiar with the order of the alphabet, any child can participate in The Alphabet Game. In this game, players observe things outside their windows and identify things that start with each letter of the alphabet in order. The first person to identify 26 things in order from A-Z wins the game.
If you want to work on your family’s team-building skills, consider playing this game as a team. You and your kids can scour billboards, license plates, buildings, road signs, and more to knock this game out of the figurative park together.
10. Punch Buggy
Also known as “Slug Bug” and “Beetle,” the sole purpose of Punch Buggy is to find Volkswagen Bug vehicles during a long car ride. When players see a VW Beetle, they get to punch someone in the arm. You can create variants of the game by adding rules like “no punch backs” or a caveat that makes certain Volkswagen models worth more than one strike.
11. Animal Name Game
This is a memory game that requires participants to pay attention to what the players before them said. To get things started, name an animal whose name starts with the same letter as your first name. For example, if your name is David you might say “dog.” The next person up should then repeat the animal you named and add the name of an animal that starts with the first letter of their name.
The longer the game goes on, the more animals people will have to repeat before adding another one to this list. When a participant can’t recite all the previously named animals or they can’t come up with a unique animal that starts with the first letter of their name, the game’s over.
12. Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever is a great game that enables you to get to know your family members better. Players hold five fingers up in front of them. Whoever volunteers to go first then says, “Never have I ever…” and then adds something silly that they haven’t done yet. Participants who’ve actually done the goofy task put a finger down while those who haven’t keep their fingers outstretched.
Moving clockwise, subsequent players should name other things that they haven’t done after they utter “never have I ever.” In response, listeners should fold or keep their fingers extended as appropriate. The goal of the game is to be the last player who still has any fingers extended. For this reason, it’s a strategic move to name outrageous things that you know your competitors have done in the past, but that you haven’t done yourself.
13. How Long Is the Tunnel
Will you go through a tunnel en route to your final destination? If so, you can play How Long Is the Tunnel. In this game, everyone will estimate the number of seconds it will take for your vehicle to make it through the tunnel. The person who puts forth a guess that most closely matches the time required to travel the full length of the tunnel is the winner of the game.
How Long Is the Tunnel is a great game to play if your children need help with their numbers. It’s also a game that’s ripe for some hysterical cheating as clever players will often speed up or slow down their counting to increase the odds that they’ll win.
This game is easily adapted for situations where a tunnel is nowhere in sight. For example, you can pick a landmark that’s up ahead and ask players to guess how long it will take to reach the designated attraction.
14. Kiss Marry Kill
Kiss Marry Kill is a laugh-inducing game that’s a ton of fun. In this game, a participant will name three people. The people chosen can be living, dead, or fictional. After the three candidates are named, the remaining players have to name which one they’ll kiss, marry, and kill. The game gets even funnier if players have to explain their choices.
You can mix things up a bit by letting players name animals, too. If you do that, you might be surprised by the number of players who prefer to kiss an animal over a human.
To play this game, have your kids write some superlatives on strips of paper, put them in a bag, and then have players draw a strip one at a time. After a player draws a paper, the person should read what’s written on it out loud. Then, everyone in the car should point to the traveler they feel most likely fits the description.
Here are some superlatives you might want to ask your children to write down:
- Most likely to succeed
- Most likely to fall in the dolphin tank
- Most likely to marry a rock star
- Most likely to become president
- Most likely to cheat at How Long Is the Tunnel
16. Spelling Bee
As you can probably tell from its name, Spelling Bee is a word game that will challenge your kids’ spelling skills. Using your smartphone, look up some age-appropriate words that are difficult to spell. Pick a word and have the first player try to spell it. If that participant gets the word wrong, move on to see if the next person can get it right. When someone finally spells the word properly, pick another word.
If you want to introduce your children to as many words as possible, reveal the proper spelling of a word after someone gets it wrong and then test the next contestant with a different word. To make the game last, allow each child three passes when they misspell words. If they misspell a fourth word, they’ll be out of the competition. You can entice all your fellow travelers to participate in Spelling Bee by announcing that the winner will get a prize.
17. Miles of Smiles
All you need to play this game is a smile. To play, ask everyone but the driver to don their biggest, most ridiculous smile as they look at passersby in other vehicles. While waving to get another person’s attention is permitted, players aren’t allowed to make silly faces beyond their smiles. Whoever gets the biggest number of return waves from people in other cars wins the game.
18. Riddle Me This
Riddle Me This is a thought-provoking game. In this game, you’ll challenge players to solve as many riddles as they can solve. Your kids can play as individuals or you can divide them into teams if the riddles are particularly challenging. The individual or the team that solves the most riddles wins the game. As you’ll see, Riddle Me This is a wonderful way to enrich your family travel time as you wind your way along the roadway.
19. The Quiet Game
When you need a break from the constant chatter or you simply want to listen to your podcasts or playlist uninterrupted, we recommend playing The Quiet Game. This game requires players to remain quiet for as long as they can stand it. The first participant to break the silence loses. You can increase the chances that players will do their level best to remain quiet by telling your kids that you’ll hand out a prize to the children who don’t speak first during the competition.
20. Loaded Questions
Unlike trivia games that require specific answers, this game involves inquiries that have any number of answers. Unless someone severely misinterprets a question, it’s unlikely anyone will give a wrong answer.
Are you trying to think of some loaded questions? Here are a few you may want to include in your game:
- What superpower is the least desirable?
- What is a lobster thinking before you put him in a pot?
- What do hummingbirds think about the bird food you put outside?
- How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?
Frequently Asked Questions
You don’t have to offer prizes for road trip games, but if your passengers need extra motivation, consider extra screen time, a turn riding “shotgun,” or money for souvenirs at the next stop!