Miles and miles to go until the next? Already gasped your way through the 99th verse of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”? Here are some road-friendly games to keep the mental wheels turning.
Word Games and Puzzles
Print out our travel themed games and puzzles for your trip book. Fun for long drives and rainy days.
License Plate Bingo Travel Game – A road trip classic, this game involves searching for license plates from as many states as possible and coloring in those states on a map
Know Your States Travel Game – Quiz each other on state capitals.
State Nicknames to Remember Travel Game – Can you match up each state with its slogan?
Road Signs, A to Z
Take turns looking for road signs beginning with each letter of the alphabet. A – Arizona, E – Exit, N – Nashville, R – Railroad . . . all the way to Z. The game can also be expanded beyond road signs. C – Cow, L – Lake, T – Truck, and so on.
Somebody starts by naming a place, such as Illinois. The next person has to come up with a place starting with the last letter of Illinois, in this case the letter s.
And off you go. If somebody gets stuck thinking of a place or mentions a place that has already been named, the game starts over.
The designated leader thinks of a well-known person, animal, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no” in order to figure out who or what the leader has in mind. Whoever guesses correctly gets to be the new leader. If nobody guesses correctly after 20 questions, the leader reveals the answer and gets to select the next leader.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
People: Presidents, favorite sports heroes, musicians, movie stars, important historical figures.
Animals: From apes to zebras, the possibilities are endless!
Places: Distinctive cities such as New Orleans and Cairo, natural wonders such as Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon, and architectural wonders such as the Golden Gate Bridge or Hoover Dam.
Things: Common household objects, foods, articles of clothing, and familiar landmarks from wherever you’ve been or wherever you’re going.
Who Am I?
Twenty questions in reverse! Jot down famous people, places and things on individual scraps of paper, and mix them all up in a mason jar or paper sack. The designated Guesser chooses one of the scraps of paper but is not allowed to read it. Everyone else gets to see it. The Guesser asks 20 questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no,” with the other players taking turns answering them. If the Guesser figures out the answer, he or she gets to select the next Guesser. If not, the Guesser can ask 5 more questions or ask for the answer to be revealed.
In addition to the ideas from Twenty Questions, expand your game by including imaginary people and animals from favorite cartoons, TV shows, movies or books.
My Pet Monster
Each participant has a pad of paper and a set of colored pens, pencils or crayons. Choose a leader, who will describe his or her pet monster in vivid detail. The more outlandish, the better!
“My pet monster’s name is Noodles. He is blue with yellow spots. He has a long neck and two heads – one huge head and one tiny head. He is fat around the middle but has skinny legs and stands like a flamingo with one leg in the air . . .”
Meanwhile, the other game players are busy sketching the monster. No peeking at other people’s drawings! When the leader has finished the description, everyone gets a chance to compare drawings. A new leader is appointed, the game continues, and a kooky menagerie comes to life!
Bring out the hams in the family and indulge in a little high drama. Check your local library for plays for children of all ages, or compose your own as a group. Choose one full of action and adventure, with a part for each family member. Make photocopies for all the participants and highlight their parts. Read the play completely and fill some of those long travel hours rehearsing lines and discussing the characters. After settling in at a campground, sit in a circle, pass around a tape recorder, and it’s on with the show! Send the tape to grandparents or hold opening night for friends and family when you return home.
To make the competition fair, each child spells words drawn from a list geared toward his or her abilities. Each day, tackle words that were previously misspelled. For extra fun, prepare a challenging list of words for the adults in the car and let the children quiz them.