Are you road-trippin’ with kids this year? That is the popular way to travel right now. I admire those families that have road tripping down. It must be the way some families roll! I have to say, I don’t mind road trips, but I’d rather take a flight. Anything longer than a 3-hour drive gets me a little worried. Cramped spaces with the kids playing, screaming, and fighting can get hard. And I’m afraid that if I have even a sip of water I’ll have to make fifty pit stops for a bathroom break. Between peeing, eating, and stretch breaks, road trips always seem to take double the time it was originally supposed to.
But, there’s a lot of good to road trips too! A lot of family bonding can happen on a road trip. All the great sights you can make stops to see along the way can be amazing. There’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you pull into your driveway after a long trip with the family. Despite some of the groaning and the “are we there yets,” there’s always an adventure, some unforeseen turn of events, and FUN!
Our Recent Road Trip
We recently went on an epic back-to-back camping road trip with the family. Bears, crazy roads, and tons of family fun. How could it not be? However, It had been quite a while since we braved a car ride longer than the one and a half hours it takes to get to grandma’s house. So to us, it WAS pretty epic. Each time we go on a trip like this the kids are at a different stage, and you never know how they’ll do.
This time it was my 3-year-old and 9-year-old I was worried about. The last time we went on a long journey in a car my 3-year-old was only about 18 months and got car sick and still does. The 9-year-old can be a busy one. She asks “are we there yet” every few minutes on a 2-hour journey. So you can probably see why I was a bit worried about the 8-hours we had in front of us.
It Takes Preparation
I was working right up until the moment we left, so I didn’t have a lot of time to plan all of the activities and snacks in the car. I left the essentials and the snacks to hubby and gave some guidance to the two older kids. They were to make sure everyone had what they needed to keep them occupied in the car and any downtime during the trip.
I was a little worried when we were a few hours from home and I asked the girls which movies they had downloaded to watch on their laptops. The hubby quickly chimed in saying that he told them no electronics. While it seemed like a nice idea, I quietly cringed and panicked on the inside. How the heck was I going to keep 4 kids entertained for a whole 8 hours in the car! And you know it was more than 8 hours!
Some Good Old Car Game Fun
With no electronics or movies to watch when the going got tough, I knew I had to be ready! When they lost interest in the things they brought I needed backup before boredom set in. About an hour into the trip I received a text from a friend that was traveling with us but in a different car. She sent a text with a picture of license plate names and told me how many she’d found so far. The license plate game! I had forgotten all about the car games we play. My brain finally started to get into road-tripping mode, and the old games we always play started to come back to the forefront of my mind.
5 Family-Friendly Road Trip Games
🚙 The License Plate Game
I used to love this game when my family went on road trips when I was a young girl. I liked seeing the different colors and symbols that represent each state. However, I never did manage to get all 50 states. One day maybe. If you’ve never played the license plate game, it’s easy car game fun. All you have to do is look for the license plates from each state and write them down when you see them. If you live in another country, look for something that is unique about car license plates where you live and make it a game.
The whole family enjoyed this game. We decided to work together as a team, but you can play against each family member. We had fun calling out and showing the other family member when we found a new state we hadn’t seen. There are so many ways to play this game. Each family member can play against one another in the car. You can play in teams. We could have played against the other families that we were traveling with. Car versus car. You could also make it so the person who sees it and shouts it out first gets to write down the license plate state name on their list only.
🚙 The Animal Game
There are several versions of this game, but we always refer to it as “The Animal Game.” There’s the Disney princess version, Disney movie version, or anything you can think of that your family might enjoy guessing. It’s basically a guessing game. Each family member gets a chance to pick something everyone will guess the name of. The rest of the family takes turns guessing a clue to what they’re thinking of. Our rule is that you can’t guess the name of the thing you’re guessing until there have been so many clues or rounds of guessed clues. Otherwise, some family members just keep shouting out names without getting any important information. We play this game almost anytime we’re in the car for longer than thirty minutes. The kids love to share the game with friends when they’re riding in the car with us.
🚙 I Spy
I’m sure most of you are familiar with I Spy. It is similar to The Animal Game, but you’re usually finding something to try and guess that’s close by or that can be seen outside of the car window. You wouldn’t want to choose an object that whizzes by too fast. Then, the other players will never have the chance to see it. I Spy is always a great game to play when you hit traffic, or find yourself waiting in a parked car.
🚙 The Car Color Game
This is a simple game where you can keep track of the car colors you see. I think the rarer the color, the more competitive and fun it can be. My girls love to look for purple and pink cars. The teacher in me always wants to turn it into a hidden learning game. It would make a great math game by making a chart or graph. I imganine them making a little square and coloring it in each Each time they see a color. At the end of the trip, you can count up what color car you’ve found the most (not sure if that’ll happen).
🚙 Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
I always find scavenger hunts fun. You can search for road signs, cars, landmarks, and more with a scavenger hunt. You can tailor the scavenger hunt to the area you’re driving to. For example, if you’re driving along the coast you might want to look for beach related items like surfboards and seagulls versus driving through the mountains.
Road Trips Year Round
With a little creativity, you can think up so many other fun car games. You can also find little travel games. We have a few like Chess, Connect Four, and Spot It. Car travel doesn’t have to be boring but it helps to have a few games planned to break up the long drive. Whether it is summer or during the school year, people are always planning trips throughout the year. It’s the easiest way to travel when you want a quick getaway or maybe a long one. People love road trips. Big families might love them more.
We’ve just moved, so we have a lot of new places to explore. I’m hoping to get in a quick road trip in the next few months. I’m curious to know if you road trip and what games you play with your kids when you’re on the road. In the meantime, I hope that this blog post either gave you a new game to play or helped you think of old games you love!