As we’ve discussed on this blog before, there’s nothing more quintessentially American than the family road trip. It’s an experiential rite-of-passage that tests the limits of families’ bonds, usually brings people closer together, and unquestionably leads to learning how objectively terrible your parents’ taste in music is.
Whether you’re on a childhood pilgrimage to Disney World, traipsing around the deserts of the West, or you’re touring some backroads while searching for the best BBQ that money can buy, road trips are long affairs. They can test the bounds of childhood patience, adult patience, and the attention spans of everyone in the car. The good thing, however, is that road games exist. The entire car can participate, no extra materials or costs are involved, and the fun can last for hours...for some at least.
These are our top 5 favorite car games that we played as kids.
It doesn’t get any more classic than this. One person starts out with, “I spy with my little eye something red!” and the rest of the car frantically searches for the object. This game usually flows smoothly for a few rounds until the new things to spy becomes increasingly difficult. Before you know it, someone’s saying, “I spy with my little eye something green,” and they’re talking about the speck of broccoli in dad’s teeth. Nobody wins at that point
License Plate Game
License plates are actually pretty interesting, because they give you insight into the attitude of the state to which they belong. They also have the added benefit of keeping you entertained on long car rides. Everyone gets a piece of paper, and you write down every state’s license plate as you see it. Add bonus points for specialty plates and Canadian Provinces. If you want to win the game instantly, just drive through Atlanta on I-75 during Spring Break, and you’ll have no problem nabbing practically every license plate in existence
To play this game, all you need is the ability to think of an object, and the rest of the car has to guess what it is. The rest of the car has 20 questions to try and pinpoint what the ringleader is thinking of. This game can be fun, frustrating, endearing, and endlessly engaging. Who's the memory champion in your car?
Slug Bug. Punch Buggy. Punch Dub. Beetle Bug. Punch Car. All of these games mean one thing: whoever spots the VW Beetle first gets to shout “PUNCH BUGGY!!” and punch the passenger of his or her choice in the arm. This game should be a last ditch effort to placate the kids, since it can actually lead to escalated fights and tears. If you can trust your kids not to smash each other into oblivion, it’s a good game to keep them quiet and on the lookout for one of these spherical wagons
This game is pretty straight forward. Most signs have words on them. Every word starts with a letter. Your job is to find signs with words that start with each letter of the alphabet. It starts out easy enough during A through G, but just wait until you get to X. You’ll be looking for the magical sign that will free you from your A-Z game purgatory for hours. It should keep the kids quiet, though.
Those are our favorite games to play on road trips. They’re easy, fun, don’t cost anything, and kids and parents of all ages can play them.