Road trip! Few activities are as quintessentially American as the summer family road trip. But as any parent knows, your drive to the beach, the mountains, or to grandma’s house can become a living hell if as soon as you get rolling your kids start whining, “When are we gonna get there?” Luckily, there is a way to avoid turning your long-distance drive into a torturous affair: car games!
As kids in the pre–seat-belt era of the 1970s, my sister and I played a game in the car we called Roly-Poly, which consisted of us curling up into balls in the backseat and smashing into each other. Educational? No. A blast? Yes. But needless to say I do not recommend allowing your kids to play such a game today—doing so might land you in jail for child endangerment! But just because your kids are strapped into their seats doesn’t mean fun and games are restricted too.
Everyone knows the license plate game, where you check other cars’ tags and see how many of the 50 states you can find. So we went looking for other game ideas, and came up with a few to get you started.
Who Are They?
Pick out another group on the road and have everyone in your car help create a story about these fellow travelers. Where are they going? Why? Etc.
From Real Simple: 6 Road Trip Games for Kids
This one was actually featured in an episode of Mad Men as a dinner table game, but it works in the car too. The first person to go names a geographical location (city, country, state, mountain range). Then the next person has to name the same kind of place, but the catch is that it has to start with the last letter of the first person’s place. So if the first person says “New York” the second person can say “Kentucky”–and on and on it goes.
From Edmunds.com: Top 10 Road Trip Games
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
Make up a list of things for kids to look for while on the drive. If heading through rural areas, you might put in stuff like cows and a tractor; in cities include things such as a taxi, a fire truck, and a one way sign.
From Cookie.com: 21 Fun Road-Trip Games
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