“Are we there yet?” “How much longer?” “Mom, he’s touching me!” If the idea of a road trip with your kids makes you break out in a cold sweat, check out these fun road trip games for the family. From word games to counting games to scavenger hunts, we’ve got recommendations for all age groups. Road trip games keep the kids talking, engaged and entertained. And the ride will fly by!
Road Trip Games For the Family
If you’ve got a long road trip ahead of you – or even a short one! – you want your trip to be as relaxing and fun as the destination. Sure, you can keep the kids busy with electronics and screens, but there are so many options for fun road trip games.
Sometimes the whole family wants to play along, not just the kids. Playing games leads to conversation and learning, which is great for family time.
One of my favorite sources of road trip games is the book Miles of Smiles. This book is full of fun facts, trivia and games that will keep families talking and laughing. These are a couple of my favorite games from this book:
- “What Am I Counting?” One person starts counting something out loud as they see it. But they don’t tell anyone what they are counting. Other players have to figure out what they are counting. It can be a tough one!
- In My Suitcase: The first player says “I went on vacation and I packed…” adding something that begins with the letter A. The next person repeats the sentence, adding something that begins with B. Each player continues, always repeating ALL the objects for every letter of the alphabet and adding another. If a player misses a letter or gets stuck, they are out. Last player left is the winner. We’ve been successful in remembering the items all the way to Z – but it wasn’t easy!
Educational Road Trip Games
As a homeschooling mom, I often try to find games that are educational in some way. These are a few of my favorites:
- Geography: This classic word game challenges players’ vocabulary, spelling, and knowledge of geography. The first person names a place (city, state, country, continent, etc.). The next player has to name a place that begins with the last letter of the place named. For example, I start with “Atlantic City.” My son would then have to come up with a place that begins with “Y”, such as Yucatan. Our family has an ongoing battle to give each other words that end in “Y” – it’s really hard to think of Y-places after a few rounds! You can make this game easier by not restricting it to places, but just using any word.
- Name the…: See who can the name the most items in any category. Here are a few to get you started: planets, oceans, continents, US Presidents, 13 colonies, 50 states, 7 dwarfs…
- 20 Math Questions: This one is for older kids and needs a parent’s help. Think of a number between 1 and 100. Your child must determine the number by asking you math questions only. Is it odd, even, a multiple of 3, 5 or 7? Give your child paper and pen so they can work it out! You can do a lot of other math drills in the car, too. Ask your kids to determine how many miles you will travel in 1, 2 and 3 hours at the posted speed limit. Have them multiply (or add) the digits on every license plate.
Road Trip Games for Younger Kids
If your smaller passengers get frustrated by some road trip games, try the following games that are great for all ages!
- Scavenger Hunt Travel Card Game: Each person is dealt five cards depicting various things you might find on the road. There are the usual items, such as stop signs and hotels, but there are also some fun ones, like a “person with orange hair,” or a “really dirty car.” When you see the item on your card, call it out, put that card aside, and draw a new one. There are also swap cards that let you exchange cards if you’ve got a particularly difficult one in your hand. The first person to find 10 items wins. The game goes pretty quickly and my kids always ask to play again. I love that it makes everyone really look at their surroundings.
- License Plate Game: The classic license plate game can be played with many different variations. I print out the alphabet and numbers 0-9 and the kids have to check off each letter and number in order as they find them on license plates. First one to get them all wins. We often skip Q because it’s so hard to find. But that one time my daughter found a Q on a vanity plate really made her day!
- Miles of Smiles: Another pick from my favorite book of the same title, this game turns a frown upside down. All players smile their biggest smiles at cars passing by. See how many people you can get to smile back. Waving is allowed, making faces is not.
Don’t Forget the Rest Stops!
As fun as road trip games can be, passengers still need to stretch and burn off some energy. Try these games to keep your body loose and limber:
- Car Seat Calisthenics: Stretch your hands to the ceiling, shrug your shoulders up and down, lift your knees and crunch your chest to your knees, touch your elbow to the opposite knee, shake your body, or just dance!
- Balloon Volleyball: If the kids are getting antsy, blow up a couple small balloons and have them bat them back and forth to each other.
- Rest Area Olympics: If your kids enjoy competition, try some simple contests are each rest stop. Who can skip from one point to the next the fastest? Which kid can cartwheel from one spot to the next? Or who can do the most jumping jacks in 30 seconds? Winner gets to choose the music when you get back in the car!
These are just a few of the fun road trip games your family can enjoy on your next road trip. Use your imagination and you’ll probably come up with lots of variations on the games I recommend here!