Kids and road trips are not always the best combination. The combination of the two generally becomes enjoyable about the time the kids get their own car and can take the trip themselves! Until then, long car rides can be rough —especially when they’re fighting, they’re tired, they’re hungry, they’re thirsty, or they have to stop to use the bathroom every ten miles.
Fortunately, road trips with children don’t always have to be so miserable. In fact, they can even be a little…dare I say…fun?! Instead of resorting to handheld DVD players or iPhones, try some of these spontaneous games to keep everyone in the car content until you reach your destination—or until someone falls asleep!
Games for Toddlers
• Try a simple game of Simon Says. A good game has the potential to last awhile; every kid wants their turn to be Simon.
• Give the kids handfuls of crackers or pieces of cereal and a cup and have them count the pieces one by one as they drop them into the cup.
• Make different noises and have your child try to guess what makes that noise. Try the rumble of a motorcycle, the quack of a duck, and the crash of ocean waves. Have them try after you’ve done a few.
• Try a game of I-Spy. Have your children look for things that you would only see on a road trip, like an abandoned gas station, a rest stop, or a tumble weed. Try this with shapes, too.
• Sing a song together. You are both sure to know plenty of songs that could last for hours (not that you want them to). Try “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Games for Preschoolers
• Give each passenger a piece of paper, a writing utensil, and something hard to write on. Have them draw one line in any direction then pass it along to the next person. Keep going until everyone has created a picture.
• What’s fun without a little mess? Have your kids try their hand at homemade puzzles. Break apart a saltine cracker and have them put it back together again.
• Find a bunch of items in the car and stick them in a backpack or plastic bag. Have your child close his or her eyes and stick a hand in to guess what’s in there.
Games for Grade-schoolers
• Create a list of words that no one can say out loud, such as “road,” “tired,” or “mom.” If anyone says one of the words on the list, he or she has to sing a song of your choice.
• Give everyone in the car a different color and have them look for it out the window. They can shout out the object if it’s in their color. Keep score on a piece of paper.
• Work as a team to find something in the car or out the window that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Work as a team or turn it into a friendly competition.
Good luck with your next road trip adventure. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a fun game to play and keep everyone from going insane!
This article was submitted by guest blogger Doug Adams. Doug travels all over the country to watch his oldest son play college football. Usually his younger kids tag along; they know the stellar tailgating party that awaits them is well worth the long car ride!