- License Plate Game – US States
To play the License Plate Game, see how many plates you can find, marking them off as you spot each one. You can see how many you have marked off after one trip, or you can keep the tally going for the entire summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can work on your list separately, as a family, or as teams. Have fun!!
Click HERE for a License Plate Game printable
2. Magnet Boards On The Go
Most children love to play with magnets. I have always had several decorative magnets on my fridge, and my kids and grandkids both spent lots of time arranging and rearranging them when they were little. I spotted this idea on the internet, and I thought I would pass it along. My Dollar Tree Store has small baking sheets that will be perfect for making a travel magnet set.
Do a search on the internet for clip art, and you will find shapes that will be certain to please your child. Most kids have a favorite area of interest – dinosaurs, Blues Clues, trucks, Superman, Disney Princesses, etc. Cut out your chosen shapes and laminate each piece. Purchase a roll of magnetic tape. Cut a piece and glue it onto the laminated shape. The glue that I find works best for most of my craft projects is, Aleen’s Super Thick Tacky Glue. (affiliate link)
3. Using that same baking sheet, you can use it as a hard surface for coloring (the edges keep the crayons or colored pencils from rolling away), playing Matchbox cars, Legos, etc. It’s like their own personal play surface.
4. Use an empty DVD case to pack a small pack of paper and a set of colored pencils inside. The hard case also makes the perfect writing surface.
5. Find some toy catalogs or magazines. My kids and grandkids both loved looking through catalogs during the Christmas holiday season. I often had them bring one in the car, and their excitement as they flipped through the pages was fun! Here is one you can subscribe to for free: fatbraintoys.com.
6. Counting Cows Game Here is how to play this classic car travel game. Divide the car occupants into teams – left side and right side. Decide how you will determine when the game will end (time, length of trip, etc). Count the cows you see on your side of the car. If you pass a field full of lots of cows, you’d better count fast! If you pass a cemetery on your side of the car, you lose all your cows — but only if the opposing team calls out “your cows are buried!”.
This game gets interesting when distraction tactics are used to either cause your opponent to miss cows on their side of the road or to miss a cemetery on your side of the road. A white horse can be a bonus! 50 points! The team with the most points wins.
7. Here is a great site with a lot of Mad Libs. The kids have always had a blast with these, and they can get everyone in the car laughing and having a good, good time! My favorite online bookstore also has several Mad Lib books that are easy to pack for fun on the go. Here are some of our favorites and our affiliate links: Dog Ate My Mad Libs Diary of a Wimpy Kid Mad Libs Mad Libs On The Road Meow Mad Libs
Happily Ever After Mad Libs Vacation Fun Mad Libs DC Comics Super Hero Mad Libs
8. Buy an industrial-sized pack of pipe cleaners, and let your kids go crazy with a little pipe cleaner fun. Cut some of the pipe cleaners into various lengths to help with the creative process. Then let the kids show their creativity by making little creatures and friends. They can even use their new little creatures to create stories and scenes on their baking sheet. FUN!!!!
9. This is an all-time favorite with our family. We have played this game for hours on long, long road trips.
Pick a topic (for instance, animals) and a letter (A), then have everyone name animals that begin with that letter, like aardvark, antelope, ape. The best thing about this game is that kids can pick a topic of interest — cars, TV characters, countries, cities, foods, names, etc. — and there are 26 possibilities (one for each letter) for every topic. We keep on naming and naming until one person can’t quickly come up with a word for the chosen category.
10. We have sure had a lot of fun with this one!!
My son and I, along with my granddaughter, played this game on our long drive from Washington State to California. We made the long trek when my son had his audition for the television show, “American Idol.” We would come up with a category. Some we used were cereals, tv stars, board games, vegetables, fruits. We would take turns, each giving a word for the chosen category. Play went on until the next person couldn’t quickly come up with a word. We played this over and over, and it really helped to pass the time!
11. Say your ABC’s with highway signs or billboards. We’ve played this one for years, with both kids and then grandkids. Billboards and road signs can be a source of educational entertainment, and a way for children to practice their ABCs. As you pass signs along the road, try to find each letter of the alphabet in order. The caveat is that you can only get one letter from each sign you drive by.
When you see the letter, call it out. For example, you’d say, “I see an ‘A’ on ‘Dairy farm this exit’.” Nobody else in the car can call out a letter using that sign, even if it also said, “Fresh butter.” You’d have to get the “b” from a different billboard.
This is a game you can play all together as a family, or you can pit family members against each other. To sweeten the pot, you can guess how long it will take you to get through the alphabet. Provide prizes or rewards for the winners.
12. I Spy Game. As you are on your trip, simply look on billboards, buildings, in cars, etc to find something for each letter of the alphabet. You can see who can fill up their sheet first or you can write children’s names across the top and see who can do the complete alphabet first. Click the above link for an I Spy Game printable list.
13. Give your kids an allowance for the day. Tell them that this money is for snacks, treats, souvenirs etc… but when it is gone, that is all there is. Help them learn to budget their money and make good choices.
14. Let your children have a map – Give your kids an opportunity to have their own copy of a map of where you are going. Show them how far you have come, how much further there is to go and let them mark it with a crayon. Every time they ask “How much further?” have them take out their map and see for themselves. You can also print driving directions from any mapping website such as mapquest. You can also try a
Kids Road Atlas if you are going to be traveling across several states!
15. Tell Jokes – Take turns telling silly jokes like Knock-knock jokes or riddles. I have learned that my kids were always better at remembering jokes and riddles than I have ever been! ha! If you need help getting started, get a good joke book for kids like these: 500 Hilarious Jokes for Kids OR The Everything Kids’ Knock Knock Book
16. Count Things: Count blue vans, or count red cars, find 10 horses, count signs, billboards, police cars. Count water towers. How many people pass you on the highway? — count them too!
- Kids sure love scavenger hunt games. Here is a list of items you can search for, marking off each as all people in the car keep their eyes peeled. Fun! Click Here for a printable scavenger hunt list.
Add to the list any items that you can think of that are relevant to the particular areas you will be passing through or visiting. And have FUN!!!!