road trip

You have not lived until you have traveled in a car with children! Even parents who have only one child will understand this mind bending, nerve rattling phenomenon. Those people have the patience of…well…children. They come standard with bladders the size of a ping-pong ball, but can guzzle down a Big Gulp in six seconds flat. It really doesn’t matter how long your planned road trip is, if it will take longer than it does to drive them to school, you’re going to have challenges. Road trips can be more fun (and relaxing) if you plan a few games to keep everyone occupied on the trip.

Slug Bug – If you’re sure the kiddos won’t cause permanent damage to each other, Slug Bug is entertaining for as long as you can take a punch. As you drive down the road, you call out “Slug Bug” each time you see a VW bug. The person who sees it and calls it out first gets to slug the person next to him. If you’d prefer non-contact sports, you can substitute slugging for tapping.

License Plates – There are a few variations with this one. If you’re taking a long road trip or traveling on an Interstate, players see who can find the most plates from different states. For little tykes, parents can help by calling out the letters from a license plate, like “CA- Y”, and the kids have to come up with a phrase that includes all the letters, as in, “Candy And Yams”. License plates can be fun for adults, too. Just give your phrases a bit more punch, like only using proper names, or names of animals, etc.

Name that tune – This road trip pastime can be played with or without the radio. Someone sings or hums a tune, and whoever guesses the name of the song or the artist, wins.

Team storytelling – Stretching our imaginations is fun and it’s good for both kids and adults. One person in the car starts a storyline (decide who starts by playing a quick round of rock, paper, scissors). The story can begin, “Once upon a time, a princess lived in a beautiful castle…” Or, your story can be a little goofy, like, “Marty had a singing frog named Pete that was…” You’ll be surprised at the tales you can spin when the whole group gets involved!

Bananas – This is a simple counting game so it works well for younger kids. Participants look for yellow cars (bananas) and the first one to count to the number of bananas in the bunch is the winner. Depending on the age of the players and the length of the trip, you can decide how many bananas are in the bunch. If you’re not a fan of bananas, look for pickles (green cars), or even burgers on wheels (livestock trailers).

Find the Car – If you’re lucky enough to be loaded down with car enthusiasts, this game is likely to be the favorite. Start by picking a certain make or model of car, like your favorite muscle car. Each time a player spots one, they get a point. Another version is to describe things about cars to look for. You could say, “Find the car that has luggage on it’s roof”, or “Find the car that has bumper stickers”.

Whatever you decide to play, road trip games are a great way to keep the whole family entertained, to encourage teamwork, create a bit of friendly competition, and to make road tripping fun!

Courtesy of Car Keys Magazine, April 2014 (