Passing time on road trips: Games to play in the car
The idea of a road trip is exciting – an adventure! After loading up the car, the final questions always include “Did everyone use the bathroom?” and “Do you have some things to do in the car?” The resounding “YES” follows and you’re off! Fast forward 30 minutes into the trip, the question begins, “Are we there yet?” Here are some tips to keep the time moving along.
Start with the ‘back seat bag’. Pack items for:
- Reading – one or two books or a magazine that they love.
- Writing – crayons or color pencils, or pens. Don’t forget blank paper.
- Creating – a blank book, journal, or notebook make for a great road trip memory. Collect stories, pictures, and postcards to remember the event.
- Playing – a deck of cards, electronic devices, travel games.
- Snacking – throw in some favorites that get rationed along the way.
Have a bag of surprises waiting. Kids will quickly get bored with the things they selected to bring along. Add a change of pace with your own surprises for certain stops or mile markers. Some great ideas to pull out include pipe cleaners, Legos, a new movie, an audio book, stickers, a craft kit, or maps. Kids like to see where they are headed and how far they traveled.
Look up and look around! Games played ‘the old fashioned way’ often require a table or flat surface. There are travel size games, but they can also come with small pieces that seem to disappear mysteriously. Games like I Spy, the License Plate Game, scavenger hunts, and Name that Tune encourage conversation. Download the app Road Trip Funfor a list of games.
Make a documentary. Phones, iPods, and GoPro cameras all have video recording options. Record small segments of the trip and add commentary. You may even be able to edit the videos and pictures while in the car. Never underestimate the creative use of technology!
There’s an app for that! Monopoly, Words with Friends, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Chess, and many others now all come in app format. Even the driver can get in on the fun. Consider Yahtzee: someone ‘shakes’ for the driver and then states what dice landed. The driver can shout out which dice they wish to keep and which they want to re-roll. It takes a little patience and a lot of communication, but it can be done. A family can use up two hours of time with just one game of Monopoly! Even the License Plate Game has an app.
Road trips are great fun. Plan ahead to make the journey worth remembering!
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