“Are we there yet?” AAACK. Long road trips can be a huge headache between traffic, potty stops, and restless kids – not to mention technology overload. We’re here to help! Try out these road trip games for some fun ways to break up the monotony. Make time fly for your kids, and have a little fun while you’re at it! License plate game not included, we promise.
Road trip games that won’t drive you crazy
Toddlers & Preschoolers:
This takes a little pre-planning, but can help build excitement for milestones along the way. Get a few paper bags and fill them with treats, snacks, small toys, stickers, etc. Give them out when you’ve reached a certain mileage in your trip. E.g., 30 miles, 60 miles, and so on. (Pro tip: Have them decorate the bags while you’re packing up the night before. It will keep them occupied while you get things ready for the road.) It will get them excited not just for your final destination, but for getting fun stuff along the way.
Bring along some black construction paper and chalk. This will require a clip board or lap board of some kind to create a hard surface for writing on, but this is a fun way to get the kids quietly drawing without the potential mess of markers or crayons. I bet you don’t want try to to get pen out of the car seats, huh? Chalk is easy to clean up, and white chalk on black construction paper looks super cool.
Mario Andretti (or, they get to drive too!)
Take a piece of cardboard and draw “roads” on it. You can also draw landmarks you may see along the way, and your child can “drive” along with you, watching out for the landmarks as you go. Take their favorite Matchbox cars and you have them busy for a long stretch.
Kindergarten & Young Grade Schoolers:
Once they reach an age of having a longer attention span, you have a whole new smorgasbord of options available to you.
Does your grade schooler have a favorite chapter book series they’re working through? You can check audio books from the library! That’s good for at least 30 minutes. For your Kindergartner/first grader the Judy Moody and Captain Awesome series are wonderful. Bring the paperback hard copies with you and have them follow along. Listening and reading go hand in hand!
Stained “Glass” Windows
Put plastic wrap/cling on a portion of the window and bring some dry erase pens along with you. Your kids can color on the windows! Just make sure their creations don’t obstruct the driver’s view.
Mad Libs come in several ability levels, so help your kids with some grammar while they make silly stories about all kinds of things. There are sites where you can download free printables, so they don’t have to cost a thing. Try Classroom Junior for a huge variety of printable Mad Libs.
Audiobooks and Mad Libs definitely grow as your kids grow. My son’s favorite book series right now is The 39 Clues, but here are some additional ideas for the older set:
Name That Tune
Remember the old game show? Place some friendly wagers on who can guess the song in a few notes. The front passenger can be the DJ, or the kids can test the adults in the front seat with their music. Personally, I would find naming my nine year old and thirteen year old’s favorite music extremely challenging.
Create a Bingo card composed of things you might see on the road. Give a prize as an incentive: whoever gets the first Bingo chooses where to eat, or gets to pick their favorite dessert.
Once Upon a Time
Get to know what your kids are thinking about by starting a Round-Robin game of making up a story. Take turns adding a line to a story and see what kind of fantastical stuff your kids (and you!) can come up with.
Hopefully these road trip games will get you inspired to come up with a few ideas of your own! Share with us; we’d love to hear your favorite road trip games and survival tools.
- THE SNACKS! Food can go a long way toward keeping everyone nice and calm.
- The ever-important lovies and blankets!
- Chargers for your technology. Dead batteries are no fun at all.
- And remember: Watching a movie along the way is ok, too.