Going on a road trip with the family can be tons of fun when you plan a little ahead of time. We go on a road trip a couple times a year usually. They typically vary from 4 hours to 11 hours to get to our destination. Playing games and singing songs together are some of our favorite ways to pass the time. We also have activities for the kids to do on their own.
Here are some fun games and other activities to do with your kids to help the hours fly by on your next road trip.
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1. The Minister’s Cat. Start with the letter A. The first person says “The Minister’s Cat is an (think of a word that starts with A) cat”. Go around in a circle to each person while they say “The Minister’s Cat is an (fill in with a word that starts with the letter) cat. Some examples: Angry, Awful, Artistic, Adventurous, etc. When you run out of ideas for A, move on to B, then C, etc.
2. The Alphabet Game. Work together to find the letters in the alphabet in signs that you pass. Make sure you say the word that you found the letter in and go in order from A to Z. If there’s not a lot of signs around, use license plates as well.
3. Would You Rather? Game – Ask would you rather ….. or …..? Here’s 100 question ideas from The Measured Mom.
4. 20 Questions Game. One person thinks of something and everyone in the car takes turn asking yes or no questions until someone can guess what the person was thinking about. To make it easier, you could start with a category like “Something you eat”, “Places to visit”, “Animals”, etc.
5. Sing Silly Songs. A few of our favorites:
Fried Ham. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZqK8rIGPHo Lyrics: Fried Ham, Fried Ham, cheese and bologna. After the macaroni we’ll have onions, pickles and pretzels. Then we’ll have some more fried ham, fried ham, fried ham!! What’s so fun about this song is that you change it up by singing it in silly voices for each verse after the first. You can take turns choosing how you want to sing it and have fun making it up. Some ideas: old lady, baby, opera, British, cowboy.
I’ve Been Working on the Railroad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHe1Lt0EP-k
The Ants Go Marching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACN5naJRFrk
6. Play Mad Libs. There are tons of different Mad Libs books. If you use a notebook to write the keywords down you can re-use the same pages again. Here’s a site with free printable Mad Libs http://www.classroomjr.com/printable-mad-libs-for-kids/.
9. Travel Game Printables. Here’s some from momsminivan.com including Car Bingo, Lines and Dots, and Battleship. There’s a huge list of printables and game ideas on discoverykids.com and travelwithkids.about.com.
10. Wrap a few small presents and let the kids open one every couple hours. These can be little items from the Dollar Store that are fun to play with in the car like books, coloring books, sticker books, small toys, etc. Give them an incentive to not argue with each other or whine by telling them they only get their next gift if they behave well.
11. Buy special snacks that they don’t get very often like Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, licorice, Ring Pops, etc.
12. Make your own binder of reusable activity pages. Fill a 3-ring binder with clear plastic sleeves. In the sleeves, put the travel game printables (above) like hangman, the line dot game, tic-tac-toe, word searches, find the hidden pictures, and connect-the-dots. Also put in some blank paper. Use a 3-ring pencil bag to hold the dry erase markers and a rag they can use as an eraser. (From sixsistersstuff.com)
13. Bring a few favorite DVDs or stop by a Redbox and return to another Redbox along the way. We usually let the kids watch one movie in the morning and one in the afternoon on long all-day drives.
14. Make a playlist on your ipod or burn a few CDs of favorite songs that your family loves to listen to. Switch off between favorites of the kids/teens and favorites of the parents. Remember upbeat songs are best for the driver so they don’t get sleepy. Some of our favorite songs are in this playlist “Ultimate Road Trip Songs“.
15. Research the areas you will be traveling through ahead of time and find a local park that would be a good place for a rest stop. Or use your GPS after you exit into an unknown city and search for a park with it. We’ve stopped during lunch time, grabbed fast food and taken it to the park or we’ve played at a park as an afternoon rest stop. It’s great for the kids to burn off some energy by running around and for the adults to stretch their legs and back. If the weather is bad, stop for lunch or a break at a McDonald’s or a Carl’s Jr. that has a playground so the kids can run around there.
16. For more toddler specific ideas, check out 10 Quiet Activities for Toddlers
I hope your next road trip is your best one yet! Do you have any ideas to share?
Title photo by Bruce Fingerhood @flickr.com