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7 for the Road: Fun Family Activities!

Jul 31, 2014 12:17AM ● By Erin Frisch

Is your next family road trip approaching? Fear not! These games and activities will please everyone in the car and bust traffic boredom. Car trips can be long and hot in the summer, but when all the passengers are engaged in an activity together, time passes more quickly. In fact, you may even appreciate the journey to your destination as valuable family-bonding time. Safe travels!

The License Plate Game. This road-trip classic will teach your kids US geography as well as engaging their competitive sides. The only supplies needed are paper and pencils. As you drive, each person keeps a list of the states she sees on license plates. The person with the most states listed at the end of the trip wins. This game is excellent for especially long car trips when many state borders will be crossed.

The Picnic Game. This game of logic will challenge the thinkers in your car. One person chooses an attribute for objects that can come along on the picnic, but he or she does not say it out loud! For example, only objects bigger than a car can come or only things that are yellow or round. Participants take turns asking if they can bring different objects, and the attribute chooser answers yes or no, depending on whether the object meets his or her rule. The first person who figures out the pattern wins.

The Initials Game. This game, akin to 20 questions, asks the participants to use their knowledge of history and culture. One person chooses a character—a historical figure, a pop star, or a fictional character, for example—and gives his or her initials (e.g., for Eleanor Roosevelt, say “E.R.”). The rest of the players take turns asking yes/no questions about the person, and the first person to correctly guess the character wins and gives the next initials.

Group Story Time. Everyone can participate in the telling of an entertaining tale. The first person begins with one sentence, and then the next person adds a sentence. Take turns and then begin again with the first person; continue until someone says “The End.” Your story may be funny, sad, thrilling, or all of those, but it will certainly be unusual.

1-2-3 Contact. For this fast-paced game, one person picks any word and gives the first letter, for example, B for blueberry. The other players think of possible words that begin with that letter, and then ask a question without saying the word. For example, a player might hear B and guess that the word was bumblebee. She could say, “Is it an insect that makes honey?” The word chooser responds as quickly as possible, “No, it is not a bumblebee.” However, if another player identifies the clue as a bumblebee, he can quickly say, “1-2-3 Contact!” and the two players simultaneously say, “Bumblebee.” If this happens before the leader says, “No, it is not a bumblebee,” then the leader must give the next letter in the word (B-L). This continues until someone guesses the original word and becomes the leader.

Find the Alphabet Game. As you drive, begin with the letter A and search for things outside the car that begin with A. For example, an apple farm would count, as would a sign for the Appalachian Trail. Move through the letters without skipping any (not even X, Y, or Z!). Your family can accomplish this feat together.

Spelling Bee. Bring along a small dictionary, and flip randomly to a page and read a difficult word. The first person must try to spell the word; if it’s incorrect, he or she is eliminated. The next person attempts to spell the word, and if correct, the competition continues to the next person with another word. The last remaining speller is the champion.

What is your favorite family road-trip game? It might even double as a fun hiking game!

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