Keep your little ones occupied on a road trip with these fun games. We have selected our top 10 favourite games that we love playing with our kids.
1. Alphabet Signs
Each person writes the alphabet on a sheet (or print it before you leave). Your children have to look for signs (or things) that start with the letter they are looking for and then write it next to the letter on their sheet. You can either do this at random for younger kids, where anything you are passing could count (e.g. apple tree for A, bicycle for B, cow for C) or in order A, B, C,... and a time limit to make this harder for older kids.
2. Car Cricket
Each child in the car gets to bat/bowl. Oncoming cars/vehicles count as a ball, with regular cars that go past counting for one run (a single), utes are 4 runs and trucks and buses are 6 runs. The batting child records their cumulative score as each on-coming vehicle goes past. Pick any vehicle type to count as a wicket, something that isn’t too common (not a Toyota Corolla for example) but that will definitely come along now and again. Perhaps a campervan of some sort. These are wickets, so you “bat” counting up your score until a campervan comes along at which time you are out. The next batsman is in and “bats’ until the next campervan comes along, at which time they are out. For extended fun, play multi-innings matches!
3. Scavenger Hunt
Write a list of things that your kids need to find on the road trip and give them the list. This can be done as individuals or in groups. For younger kids you can draw pictures or pictures and words. Either agree on a time limit or everyone has to stop when the first one has found all the items on the list. Award points or prizes for crossing everything off the list, plus spot-prizes for finding unusual items. Make sure you’ve got a combination of easy and more difficult items to hold your kids interest. Some example items are: flashing red light, bus, police officer, person talking on a cell phone, school, food store, someone on a bike, church, playground, cows and railroad tracks. Another version of this game could be to look for specific car brands or models.
4. Trip Journal
Get a journal or pad of paper and rotate it between passengers for the duration of the trip. Each person can put whatever they want in the journal – funny stories, pictures or just a recap of what happened that day. You can also glue in souvenirs such as ticket stubs, receipts and photos. At the end of the trip, you will have a book full of memories to take home!
5. Who can find the most?
Whoever sees more car brands in a certain time period wins. You can also play this by counting a specific type of car, colour or number plate starting with a specific letter or anything else (e.g. cows, specific type of tree, a specific fast food restaurant,...).
6. Keep track on the map
Give each of your kids a map that includes the area of your road trip and give them pens, pencils and markers. Let them mark the route of your trip, highlight places they see, write notes or draw on the map as you go. If your kids are older, give them an extra challenge by letting them figure out the distance to your next destination and estimate how long it will take to get there (based on your average speed).
7. 20 Questions
One person chooses an item they can see, the rest of the family can ask up to 20 questions to try and work out what the item is. The person who is ‘it’ can only answer the questions by saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. The person who guesses the item correctly takes the next turn.
8. Disposable Cameras
Give each kid a cheap disposable camera so they can document the road trip themselves. They could then also put these photos into their trip journal, where they can make notes of where they took the photos or what they took the photos of.
9. Rock, Paper, Scissors
A classic! Two can play. Both players make rock (a fist), paper (a flat hand)or scissors (extended & open fore and middle fingers) shapes behind their backs, say "Paper, Scissors, Rock" out loud and show their hands simultaneously. Rock beats scissors and paper beats rock. Repeat at nauseam or until the parents are sick of the chant!
10. A German classic "Town, country, river"
This game is similar to Scattergories and a classic car game in Germany. Draw a grid/table on a sheet and write the following as headers for each column: town, country, river, animal, plant, name and job. These are the basic categories but you and your kids can choose any categories (depending on age groups and interests) - some more examples are: celebrities, colours, songs, actors, musicians, cars, brands etc. Now a letter needs to be determined. To do this write the alphabet (or words) on a sheet and another person then points somewhere on the paper with their eyes closed. The letter that was pointed to will be used for this round of the game. Everyone now starts writing. The first one to finish all categories lets everyone know that they are finished and everyone has to stop. Words that only one person has chosen get more points (10) than words that were chosen by multiple people (5). If there is a category where only one person has found a word, 20 points can be awarded. The person with most points wins.