Written by: Alexandra Fung, co-founder and CEO of Upparent
Whether you’ve chosen to drive to your next family vacation
or are embracing the journey as part of an epic family road trip, a little preparation goes a long way to making an extended car ride with kids go as smoothly as possible. Meals and snacks are high on the list, as well as plenty of pit stops for kids
(and parents) to stretch their legs. However, with everyone packed into a small space for hours at a time, you’ll definitely want to plan for on-the-go family entertainment as well. Creating a kid-friendly music playlist or downloading some family friendly podcasts
or audiobooks can really help the hours go by. Furthermore, you won’t regret having a few interactive games in your back pocket to play together as kids get bored. Here are some favorites to add to your list!
License Plate Game
A classic travel game for a reason! Find a free map printable online and have the kids color in each state as they find license plates from those states on the road.
Pick a category and take turns naming things that fit that category. Categories is one of the most popular car games to play because it is fun for all ages and easy to tailor to interest and knowledge-base. Use categories that have lots of possible answers to keep the game going: fruit, countries, Harry Potter, famous people, and superheroes are all fun options!
Ask a Question
Road trips are a great time to do some family bonding, so take the opportunity to dig a little deeper by incorporating ice breaker questions.
Some fun conversation starters for kids
could be “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” or “If you had $1,000,000 to give away, what would you do with it?” Not sure what to ask on the fly?
Check out these fun games for Ice Breakers: Family Stories Chat Ring
, Are We There Yet? Chat Ring
First Letter/Last Letter
This is a variation on the category-naming game that makes it a little more challenging for older kids and parents. Choose a category and take turns naming things that fit the category; this time, however, your word has to start with the last letter of the word used by the previous player. For example, if your category is “fruit” and the player before you says, “banana,” your fruit has to start with the letter “a”…apple!
The Alphabet Game
Another classic travel game for kids that has stood the test of time is The Alphabet Game. Keep your eyes peeled for letters on the side of the road, on highway signs, on license plates, etc, and try to find A-Z in order!
“I spy with my little eye…”. There are lots of variations on this rhyme, but the point of the game is for one player to spot something, and have other players guess what they see based on a general clue, like the color of the object. The tricky part when you’re driving is making sure to pick something that will stay visible for at least a few minutes while everyone takes turns guessing.
Tell Jokes or Riddles
Don’t forget to bookmark a good list of kids’ jokes
or easy riddles & brain teasers
. These jokes and riddles are great when you need extra car games to play that help pass the time. Happy traveling!
About the Author
Alexandra Fung is the co-founder and CEO of Upparent, a parent-to-parent website where families can discover and share recommendations about local events and activities, things to do with kids at home, kid-friendly recipes, books, toys, products and more. Alex is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and NYU School of Law, and prior to founding Upparent, represented children and families in the nonprofit sector for many years. She lives in Southern California with her husband and four kids.
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