If you’re planning a road trip, it is essential to have activities that will keep your kids entertained along the way.
This includes playing games as I spy, the license plate game, and Pictionary. Kids will also enjoy coloring, listening to their favorite songs, or engaging with the scenery along the way.
A road trip with kids can be a fun and rewarding experience. But it’s not all ice cream cones, picnics in the park, and camping under the stars.
There are going to be some bumps along the way. One of those bumps is boredom – especially for younger children who have shorter attention spans than adults.
In this article, we’re going to explore different activities that will help you avoid or minimize that dreaded “are we there yet?” from your little ones on long car rides.
These ideas are perfect for any road trip, whether a quick overnight trip or one that lasts several days.
Best Road Trip Activities For Kids
This is a simple and inexpensive activity for kids to do while on the road. Coloring is a great activity that will keep your children occupied and quiet.
The nice thing about this activity is that it’s low cost and provides entertainment without any risk of electronic devices dying (i.e., tablets, laptops, phones). There are various options, such as buying coloring books or finding templates online to printing out.
2.Play Car Games
Car games are great for trips of any kind. These games typically require no setup or materials, aside from some creativity on the part of your kids.
Some examples of car games are “I Spy” and “The Alphabet Game.”
“I Spy” is a classic game. Get creative and choose anything from road signs to the license plates on the cars around you.
“The Alphabet Game” is where players take turns finding words that begin with each letter of the alphabet in order. Use road signs, billboards, or anything you can to find your words, making it challenging for the other players to guess.
A combination of these games makes for an entertaining road trip if your children already know how to play them beforehand.
3.Have a Road Trip Journal
This activity encourages kids to keep track of the things they see and do on their road trips.
These activities can be as simple as writing about the adventures of your journey or writing letters/postcards from the places you visit.
If your little one isn’t a strong writer just yet, have them draw pictures to tell the story of their journey. This activity aims to get kids thinking outside of the box and using their imaginations.
This game requires that you create a list of items that can be found along your road trip.
For example, if you are driving through country farmland, some possible things to include on the list might be; cow, tractor, barn, bicycle (old style), horse and buggy (the two-wheeled kind), or flowers (in season).
Make sure that everyone knows what the list is before starting out on your trip; this way, no one will be angry when someone “steals” their item and finds it first!
Another way to avoid siblings fighting over who can find the items first could be to make a personalized list for each child based on their interests. Some more challenging things to spot will keep older kids occupied, and younger children may play better with visuals to help them find their items.
5.Road Trip Bingo
This is a fun road trip game for those children who tire of scavenger hunts. Unlike traditional bingo, where items are called out, in this game, bingo squares are filled by finding things outside the car on the bingo board.
To make a bingo board:
Take a piece of paper and draw several large squares on it. Write an item you’re likely to see on your road trip in each square and then cut the paper into individual boards.
The idea is that each player will collect things that match items on their board while avoiding collecting things that are not on the bingo board.
6.Road Trip Pictionary
This is an outstanding game for all ages! To play, have a pool of words to choose from first. Then, the artist may not use words or gestures to communicate what they are drawing.
Everyone else in the car will try to guess what is being drawn before time runs out.
You can also play that each person gets two chances to guess what’s being drawn.
7.What’s In The Bag?
This game works best if you use small paper grocery bags or cut holes into larger paper bags’ sides. You’ll want to put some little toys into the bags (typically small cars and stickers) before you close them up at the top.
Have each child grab into the bag and feel the item without removing it or looking. If they guess the item inside, they get a point!
These small items can also serve as prizes for the winners if you buy new smaller toys for this activity.
8.Where’s the Quarter?
This one is great for older kids, but you can always try it with younger ones too.
You’ll need to find four quarters and put them under different items throughout your car (typically, it would be things like seat cushions or the floor mats in the backseat).
Then, you’ll want to give clues about what item they’re looking for.
For example: “The quarter is under something that everyone wears.”
If your child gets stuck on something, then don’t tell them where it is!
The whole point of this game is for them to look around everywhere – which will keep them occupied during long stretches on the road. Just make sure the quarters are in reach while still buckled in, so everyone is safe when they start looking!
This one is a classic and always fun. It’s a great way to keep spirits up on a long car ride.
The rules are simple. The person who is thinking of the object starts by saying, in general, what type of thing they are thinking of, such as an animal. They then would start a timer, and the other players begin asking up to 20 “yes” or “no” questions to figure out what animal they were thinking of.
Whoever guesses the secret item first goes next! If, after asking 20 questions, no one has thought of what it is, the same person will choose the next object.
10.Color Car Search
For younger children who are learning their colors, this is an easy and fun game to play.
To make it interactive, simply choose a color aloud and have your child search the road for cars of that color. You can also have them point out cars and prompt them to name the color.
A nice variation of this game is to use specific objects like stop signs, trees, and other objects while on the road to help your child learn the colors.
11.What Is That Smell?
This is another fun thinking game. Start by explaining to your children that there may be different smells depending on where you are throughout your road trip.
For example, if you’re in a city or suburb, there will probably be lots of car exhaust or fast food aromas, and driving through the forest, you might smell pine trees.
Each time someone in the car smells something during the trip, they can ask aloud, “What does it smell like?” and everyone in the car gives it a guess.
Whether you’re in the car for a short drive or long road trip, an audiobook is a great way to keep your child entertained and learning.
Even if your child isn’t a great reader, they can still enjoy a fun story. In addition, they can learn about new places and experiences that may not be covered in their school textbooks.
There are even lots of free e-books available online. If you prefer hard copies for yourself, try searching at your local library or used book store when you’re traveling near one!
13.What Do You Hear?
This is another consciousness game that kids will enjoy repeatedly playing as they hear new things throughout their road trip. It can be played in the car or even when you’re sitting at a rest stop.
It’s pretty simple: just start by asking, “What do you hear?” and then wait for your child to answer.
You can ask them something like, “Can you hear anything outside of the window? What about inside?”
Then continue with questions such as, “Is there any music playing on the radio? What kind of music is it? Can you tell what song it is?”
14.License Plate Game
This classic road trip game never gets old! Try to find license plates from every state you pass along the way. Write down each state and its abbreviation on a sheet of paper as you go.
Try seeing who can find all the states first before looking back at the list.
For every state they find without looking, they get one point. The player with the most points wins!
Keeping up with good posture in the car is imperative, but kids still get stiff during long trips.
Pullover to the side of the road or at a rest stop and take a few minutes to stretch. Stretch out the neck, arms, and legs. Teach kids some yoga poses or stretches they can do when in the car or on long trips.
This is a simple activity but can give you and the kids a recharge before hitting the road again.
Music is excellent for keeping everyone’s spirits up when driving long distances. Let your kids pick their favorite songs to listen to together.
This will relax all of you and give the trip a fun twist! Also, it works as both an entertainment AND education source by encouraging singing (which helps memorization).
Just make sure you’re in the mood for it to get a bit rowdy before choosing this activity!
This is a favorite road trip activity because it includes the whole family and gives everyone a good laugh.
Siblings can make up their own stories based on movies or something they use their imagination to make up, while parents can tell classic tales.
Another hilarious activity is to let your children tell their best jokes!
All of this will help pass the time and get everyone involved in each other’s interests. It also enhances communication skills.
Making up stories collaboratively is a great way for kids to boost their creativity & imagination, so try playing “I’m going on a…” where each person adds one phrase at a time until you have an intricately detailed and hilarious story!
18.Learn About Nature
Kids love learning about the natural world around them!
Find a way to help them identify as many kinds of trees and plants as possible during your road trip. You can even expand this game and move on to birds or wild animals!
This is an easy activity but has endless benefits. It helps with basic science, nature appreciation, observation skills, and so much more! Your kids will actually be looking outside instead of watching their phone or iPad – which is also outstanding for health AND happiness.
Which Activity Will You Choose?
Now that you have read through these fun road trip activities, which ones are you looking forward to trying with your kids?
Regardless of the age of your children, there is a perfect road trip activity for you to share with them!
Take a few minutes to plan out which activities will be best suited for each person. That way, everyone will have something fun and exciting to do during the trip!
Once you’re on the road, make sure to take plenty of pictures as well as videos so you can remember all of this great family time forever.