By: Lochmandy Motors
Road trips are a great way to see the country and make your summer vacation feel like an adventure, especially if your destination is only a few hours away.
But sometimes keeping the kids occupied — or not arguing with each other — can be a challenge. Sure, there are phones and tablets and portable DVD players that can help, but sometimes it’s nice for kids to not be on a screen.
Luckily, there are a lot of car games that are fun for the whole family that will keep your kids — and you — entertained while checking out the world around them. Here are some of our favorite car games that you can try on your next long road trip. (Note: some games have winners — you can choose whatever prize you like.)
THE ALPHABET GAME
This game sounds simple, but with some variations, it can be challenging enough to fill up a couple of hours. The goal is to find every letter of the alphabet in a row.
The easy method is simply to find the letter you’re looking for anywhere. If you want to make it more challenging, you can set a rule that the letter only counts if it’s at the beginning of a word or at the beginning of a license plate. Other variations include only finding letters on license plates, only finding letters on billboards or starting the alphabet in reverse.
THE LICENSE PLATE GAME
This is a great game for longer road trips, or it can span the whole vacation. The goal is to find as many license plates from other states as possible. You can keep track by listing the states you’ve found on a sheet of paper or give the kids a map on a clipboard and crayons so that they can color in each state as you see their license plate. This is also a great way to see the differences between license plates in each state.
THE CAR GAME
This game is best for when you’re driving and can reasonably see traffic traveling in the other direction.
Each passenger in the car (not the driver) chooses a vehicle brand like Ford or Dodge, and then a model for bonus points. We recommend having a list somewhere of all the car brands to make it easier, especially for younger children, to choose.
Then the driver of the vehicle chooses a marker such as a bridge or a specific billboard. The person who picked the brand of vehicle that is the first vehicle you see after the marker wins a point. If that person also correctly choose the model, they get two points.
This game can last until a winner accrues a certain amount of points or you can play it until you reach your destination.
You can make this game as easy or as difficult as you and your family like. One person picks a category of items, such as “food.” Then everyone in the car takes turn naming items in that category in alphabetical order. You can make it competitive by eliminating people who can’t name an item in the right order.
This game requires a little extra planning before you hit the road. Create a list of several specific items to find while you’re driving. Think things like “billboard for a law firm” or “number 119.3 on a mile marker” or “a yellow SUV.” Make sure there is a mix of challenging and easy items to spot. You can just make this a fun game to pass the time or make it competitive by giving a prize to the person who spots the most items first.
THE COW GAME
This is a great game for getting kids to spend more time looking out their window than at a screen, especially if you’ll be traveling in the Midwest or in an area with a lot of farmland. Passengers must keep an eye out for cows on their side of the road. The first person to say “I’ve got a cow!” when they see cows earns a point. If a person sees cows on the side of the road that they aren’t sitting on, they can say “You’ve got a cow!” to earn two points. Of course, you can interchange “cow” with almost anything that you might see on your road trip, such as cornfields, billboards, rest stops, and gas stations.
This is really a game that can be played anywhere, which makes it perfect for the car. One person in the vehicle comes up with a person, place or thing, and then everyone else takes turn asking “yes” or “no” questions to try to figure out what it is. The person who correctly guesses what the other person was thinking of gets to take a turn choosing a person, place or thing.
WANDERING STORY TIME
This is a fun game that everyone in the car can participate in, and it’s sure to result in a lot of laughs. One person starts off with a single line of a story, and then the person next to them comes up with the next line. It’s like Mad Libs. The result is a wacky story that doesn’t necessarily make sense but is probably hilarious.
This is a great game to play with older kids. One person starts with an actor or actress, and then the next person chooses a movie that the person was in. The next person picks another actor or actress in the movie, and then another person has to name another movie that the actor or actress appeared in. A round ends when someone can’t correctly pick an actor/actress or movie, and they have to sit out the next round until finally there is one winner.
THE NAME GAME
Similar to the previous game, one person starts by naming someone famous. Then, the next person has to name a famous person whose first name begins with the same letter as the previous celebrity’s last name. For example, if you pick Shania Twain, the next person could pick Tim McGraw. If someone names a person whose initials are the same — such as Martina McBride — then the order people must choose a name reverses.
WHAT’S THAT SONG?
This is an easy game too! Whenever a new song comes on the radio, the first person to name the song earns a point. You can make it more difficult for experienced players by subtracting points for wrong guesses or requiring them to name the artist too.
A NEW VEHICLE WILL MAKE YOUR NEXT ROAD TRIP EASY AND FUN! YOUR PERFECT NEW VEHICLE IS AT LOCHMANDY MOTORS!