10 Road Trip Games for Families

When I think of the words ‘road trip’, the first thing that comes to mind is that song “Holiday Road” from National Lampoon’s Vacation. I know… weird, right? But that movie was the epitome of road trip gone wrong. You don’t want to go through what Clark W. Griswold did, nor do your kids, so one way to keep the holiday road fun is to make sure that you are well stocked up with ideas for games to play along the way.

I’ve listed some ‘oldies’ here, for those of you who are new to the road trip game, and some newer ones for everyone to put in their back pocket and pull out when the kids have asked “Are we there yet” for the 100th time.

10 Road Trip Games for Families - Keep the kids entertained and have a little fun too!

Games that require no ‘tools’

“I Spy” — this timeless classic is something that really gets the brain going and works for kids in preschool or higher. In case you don’t know how it works, each person takes turn looking for something in the distance. Then the say: “I spy with my little eye something that is ________” and give a clue to what it is they saw. The others have to guess what it is.

Twenty Questions — in the same style as “I Spy”, this is a game where the person who is ‘it’ thinks of a place, person or thing. Then each person in the car is allowed to ask a yes or no question, in turn, until someone thinks they know what it is!

Alphabet Game — Pick a category (food, for example) and go through the alphabet with each person having to name something within the category. Someone starts with Apple. The next person says Banana. The next person says Cereal… See how it works? This works well if you have a full load of people in the car! Little ones can practice their knowledge of the alphabet at the same time as having fun!

Simon Says — Someone in the car is Simon and everyone else has to do what Simon says. “Simon says touch your nose” so everyone touches their noses. When Simon says something like “Touch your toes” without saying “Simon says” first, the person who touches their toes is ‘out’. Just don’t expect the driver to touch their toes!

The Name Game — Pick a category of things and name the first item that you can think of from that category. Animals, for example. Then each person, in turn, must think of the name of an animal that starts with the last letter of the one before. Example? Giraffe. Elephant. Tiger. … Get it?

Games that require ‘some’ tools

The Licence Plate Game — get a free printable with the US states and Canadian provinces noted and as you are driving along, mark them down as you spot the licence plates. Kids probably need to be 5 and older to manage this one!

Backseat Bingo — Download printable bingo cards with images of things you might encounter on your journey. As you’re travelling, the kids can mark on the card when they see one of the items represented. If they get a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line, just like in the regular version of the game, they yell BINGO! A bag of dollar store prizes will keep this game going for a while and make sure you print extra cards for when they get marked up.

Trivial Pursuit (Without the board) — Hours can be wiled away asking each other questions from a box of Trivial Pursuit cards and keeping score on who got the right answer! This is a great game for the older kids!

Games that require a little tech

Road Trip Bingo HD — Like old school paper ‘Backseat Bingo’, this iPad version has forty different card options and two kids can play head to head. Itunes.

Drawing Pad — Forget the crayons and stickers, this iPad app allows the kids to draw, paint, use digital stickers and create gorgeous artwork without dropping a thing! Itunes.

These are just examples of some of what’s available for both iPad / iPhone, with similar ones available for Android devices on Google Play. Do a little research before you leave, charge up the tablets and away you go!

Whatever you do to pass the time while on your trip, just remember to have fun and be safe. And tell me what tricks you use to keep the little ones busy! 

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Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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