Summer is nearly upon us, and a season of road trip fun beckons. Battle the “Are we there yet?” chorus with these fun, inexpensive road trip games.
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt starts before you leave home. Make a checklist of things you’re likely to pass on your route: cows, a red barn, a DeKalb corn sign, a silo. Each child can check off the item when they spot it, and whoever completes their checklist first, wins. This is an educational game because you can tailor-make a list that fits with with each child’s reading skills. For tots, cut out some magazine pictures of the items they need to keep on their radar.
“I spy, with my little eye, something…” Take turns playing a classic round of I Spy. Spot an object on the road or in the car and describe it in a roundabout fashion. “I spy, with my little eye, something round.” “I spy, with my little eye, something yellow.” Everybody takes a turn guessing until someone gets it. If no one guesses right, offer up another clue. The person who does get it picks a new object.
The Oregon Trail app, by Gameloft, is a classic computer game gone mobile. Head west in a covered wagon, reaching your destination with skill-based mini-games, challenges and side missions. Kids will have fun making decisions and solving problems for these Old West travelers. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Draw on the car windows with washable window pens, available at most craft stores. Kids will have fun creating their own window art gallery and playing classic games like Tic-tac-toe and Hangman.
Spot an Animal on your trip. Have everyone make a list and draw a picture of the animals they see on the road and throughout the vacation. Research three facts for each one to extend the learning. Each child must have a sturdy notebook to play.
Bring a deck of cards! Teach your kids how to play some classic card games before you go. Go Fish, Crazy Eights and War are always fun favorites.
Who am I? Think of a famous person, and your children must guess who you are by asking yes/no questions only.
License Plate Game can be a fun geography lesson. Print out a map of the United States. Color in the state with a crayon whenever you spot a corresponding license plate. A more complicated version might include points for seeing a state license plate that isn’t common in that region of the country.
Bingo is just as much fun in the car. Create a simple bingo grid and fill each space with a word or a picture (draw your own or cut them out from a magazine). Place an X on each item once it’s spotted. Whoever arrives at five in a row — vertical, horizontal or diagonal — wins. You can also make it a little more high-tech and download a version of Road Trip Bingo for your Android or Apple device.
The Extreme Road Trip app, available for your Apple and Android devices, places the player in the driver’s seat on a crazy, off-road road trip. Overcome car problems and obstacles and try some amazing stunts from the comfort of the back seat.
Hold a family spelling bee!Home Spelling Words has printable lists of spelling words by grade. Bring along a fun prize for the winner.
Follow the route on a map. Photocopy your road map, and see if your kids can pencil along with the route.
Amy Bizzarri is a Chicago-based writer and mom of two kids. You’ll also find her at tiramisumom.com.