Driving with the family is a great way to spend valuable time together, but the end destination may seem a long way off if the passengers are bored or not engaged. Give these road trip games a go next time you're on the road and see how quickly the journey goes.
1. I Spy
The great thing about this game is you can adapt the rules to suit everyone, no matter their age. Toddlers & preschoolers – you can use colours to identify the object or even what sound the word starts with, for example, “I spy with my little eye, something red.” or “I spy with my little eye, something that sounds like sss.” School-age children – the general way to play is to identify what letter the object begins with, and have everyone take turns to guess what it could be. A simple road trip game for eveyone to enjoy.
2. Road Trip Games Bingo
This fun game combines bingo with a scavenger hunt. Give each child a flat surface, such as a clipboard or hardcover book, to put on his or her lap. Each player gets a free printable bingo card and a zip-lock bag with blutac and some cut up squares. Tell the kids to look out for each item in the squares and when they do cover it with a square of paper using the blutac. Covered all the squares? You win. You could also make it the first player to cover the squares in a straight line either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. You can then start all over again.
3. License Plate Game
Here in Australia, let's face it we can travel a long way and still be in the same state, so we have adapted this US classic and made it our own. We like to read out the letters on a car license plate and make up funny sentences using each letter as the first letter of each word, ie WSP – 000 might be White Sandy Pandas, or Water Splash Park, you get the idea. The perfect place for road trip games in the highway on a long trip, there's alot of number plates out there.
4. Naughts & Crosses
This classic golden oldie stands the test of time, it’s so simple and enjoyable. The minimum you need are two players and a pencil to play this popular standby. Player One places an X on the grid, Player Two uses an O in an empty square. They continue to take turns until one player has three across. Print out our handy naughts and crosses printable and grab a pencil.
5. I went to the supermarket
This is an alphabet-based memory game and is great for little kids say, 5 and up. The best part is you can play anywhere as you don’t need a game board or any materials. The game can be played with as few as two players, but it’s more fun when the whole family joins in. The first player says “I went shopping and I bought...” followed by something that begins with A, such as an alligator. The second player repeats what the first person said, but adds something that begins with B. So they might say “ I went shopping and I bought an alligator and a ball.” Just keep continuing through each letter of the alphabet one player at a time. The last player to be able to recite all the items on the list wins.
6. 20 Questions
Another simple play anywhere game, all you do is think of a person, place or thing, then everyone else takes turns asking questions but the answer can only be yes or no. Then try to guess what the person, place or thing is based on the answers, each player gets a question and a guess per turn. This road trip games can fill in a good portion of our journey.
7. Spot the Car
For families with older kids, say tweens and teeens this scavenger hunt is all about makes and models of cars. Kids need to see and identify different types of vehicles and cross them off the list, you can use our free Spot The Car printable to hold a family car scavenger hunt.
8. Pit stop-a-thon
Have a long days driving ahead of you? This is actually a road trip game for when you're off the road. Every so often, have a quick recharge and pull off the road where it’s safe, and have the kids jump out of their seats and compete in a pit stop challenge. See how many star jumps, push ups, handstands etc they can do in a minute. Anything to get them moving and the blood pumping. Or have them sprint to a designated spot and back again, fastest wins the coveted window seat until next break time.
9. Road Trip Games Story Time
Get creative inventing a family story. The first person starts with "Once upon a time..." and offers the first sentence, then the next person adds to the story with their own sentence. Make it interesting by choosing random/funny words for each other that have to be included in the story. Record the story on your phone and you’ll have more laughs for longer when you play it back for all the hear.
Asking questions is a great way to dig a little deeper and really get to know your kids better. Try these questions to get you started. Let everyone have a turn answering the question and see what answers you get.
11. The Animal Name Game
This one is fun and so easy, have one player name an animal. Then each player in order has to name another animal (no repeating!) that starts with the last letter of the previous animal named. You could really choose any topic, celebrities, food, restaurants, songs, movies, books, countries.
Or you might know this one as Chinese whispers, A child whispers a story to whoever is next to them. That person whispers the same story — as best as they can remember — to a third person, and so on. When the last player hears the story, they repeat it out loud. Usually, the final players' version vaguely resembles the original story and results in a few laughs.
13. The Theme Song Game
Do you have a favourite TV show? See if you can hum the tune from it and have everyone try and guess what the show is. If they guess it right, it’s their turn.
14. Secret Place Race
Have one person looks at a road map/Google maps and find a small town, mountain, river, etc. That person announces the name of the place they have chosen. A second player has 60 seconds to look at the map and try to find the secret place.
15. Restaurant Race
Each player chooses a restaurant, such as McDonald's, KFC, Subway, Dominos etc. Players earn points by seeing their restaurant either in person or by way of advertising off the road, on a billboard for example or by hearing it mentioned on the radio, and using the printable jot down your points. See how many you can see in 20 minutes and add up the points.
Let us know what your favourite road trip games are that you like to play with your family.