It never fails. Exactly 12 minutes into your multi-hour car (or plane) ride, a chorus of “I’m bored” echoes up from the back seat. Luckily for your sanity, you can leave boredom at home this holiday season by using this list of fun-filled travel games!
Note: If you have motion sickness-prone kids, we recommend the suggestions with an asterisk (*).
No Supplies Needed:
- CAR-tegories*: Select a category (animals, vegetables, places, etc) then take turns coming up with a word that fits. Start with A and make your way through the whole alphabet.
- Nosey Neighbors*: As you pass a car in another lane, take a look at the passengers and the car. Take turns adding words to create a story about your neighbors and where they are headed.
- Don’t Grin and Bear It: With two people in the back seat, take turns trying to keep a straight face while the other makes crazy faces. Only two rules – no touching and no closing your eyes. See who can last the longest without cracking a smile.
- Car Composers*: All you need is an ear for rhyming to create your very own theme song! Alternate creating the first line and creating a rhyming second line to complete each stanza.
Example: We’re going to visit Grandma’s house; Mom didn’t let me bring my mouse. I guess I’ll just have to play; with dear Grandma’s cat all day.
- Crafty Characters*: Take turns brainstorming characters from your favorite books, movies, TV shows and games. Each person must choose a name that begins with the last letter of the character chosen previously.
Example: Frankie > Eleanor > Roger Rabbit > Tigger…
- Spelling Sleuth*: Go around the car and let everyone add a letter to a word. The first person to complete a word loses! But don’t choose just any letter; if you select a strange letter your fellow riders can challenge you to find out what word you have in mind. No answer? You lose.
- 20 Questions*: A car-ride classic! Pick anything in the world, then answer up to 20 yes/no questions from your partners as they try to figure out what you’re thinking.
- Tree Tracker*: Pick a tree in the distance and guess how far away it is. Then, use the odometer to find out the exact distance. Closest guess wins!
- Three-Letter Lingo*: Have one person think of a three letter word. Everyone else takes turns guessing three letter words while the person tells them how many letters correspond to their word choice.
- Pack that Memory*: Start with the sentence “I’m on my way to ___ and I brought a ___” then fill in objects you might have packed starting with the letter A. Each person must recite the objects already named before adding their own. See who can remember the most objects without a mistake!
Example: I’m going to Kentucky and I brought an artichoke and a blanket and a creature….
- Edible Jewelry: Use string licorice and fruit loops to make a whole new look for yourself. Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll have snacks handy for the rest of the ride!
- Radio Stars*: Hand the kids a tape recorder and let them create their own radio variety show! Speed up or slow down the voices on playback for extra laughs.
- A Present an Hour*: Stop by the dollar store before you hit the road and pick up a selection of small gifts for the kids. Hand them out every hour.
- Pipe Cleaner Craze: Let kids twist the travelin’ time away with a pack of pipe cleaners. Bend them, braid them and bring to life a new animal. Or turn the back seat into the hippest beauty salon around by creating new do’s with the pipe cleaners.
- Car Color Quest*: Cut up a variety of different colored strips of paper and place them in a paper bag. Take turns selecting a colored strip (no peeking!). First person to find a car the same color as their strip wins! For additional rounds, hunt for objects other than cars.
- Roadside Bingo*: Print the attached bingo boards and then hunt for the objects out the window! First person to get 5 in a row wins. Consider placing the boards in plastic sheet protectors and marking with washable markers – wipe off the boards to begin another round!
- Journey Journal: Give the kids an empty notebook, a set of crayons and a Polaroid or disposable camera and let them document your travels. You’ll get some adorable keepsakes in the process.
- Squint n’ Squiggle: Draw a squiggle on a piece of paper, then hand it to the kids to turn into a picture. With a little imagination, that zig-zag might become a unicorn’s mane or an ocean wave – you never know what you’ll get!