Family adventures happen all the time. In fact, more than a third of families say that they will be taking at least one annual vacation. Make sure memories with your kids are guaranteed to be wonderful by planning road trip activities ahead of time.
If you take a few moments to map out what to do before your youngsters go stir crazy in the backseat, you can reap several benefits.
First, your journey will feel much shorter. We all know that time flies when everyone is actively involved in the experience.
Secondly, everyone’s emotions will run toward the positive, not the negative. Adults and kids feel more optimistic in a car filled with laughter and conversation.
Finally, your kids will learn and grow during travel periods. This helps them create lifelong, meaningful memories.
Ready to make your “car time” shine whether you’re vacationing at the beach, in the mountains, in the city, or anywhere in between? Take advantage of these great travel ideas!
6 Road Trip Activities for Kids of All Ages
You know you need to bring luggage, toys, and a sense of humor when traveling. But don’t forget things to do when you’re in the car, too.
Before you pack up, be sure to write down the six best road trip activities.
1. Pay Attention to License Plates
This is an oldie-but-goodie because families have been doing it for years.
Watch as each license plate goes by, and see how many states’ plates you see. You can turn this into a contest to see who can spot the most different states’ plates in a specific period of time, such as 10 minutes.
Want to really move this to an educational opportunity? Download a picture of the United States map and give all your passengers a copy.
That way, they can note when they find a plate. Plus, the kids get more acquainted with where states are located.
2. Make Bingo Cards
Most Bingo cards have 25 spaces with a “free” spot in the middle. Your goal is to develop as many items as you can for the other spaces on each passenger’s personal Bingo card.
For instance, you might want to put these types of Bingo notes in card squares:
- Yield sign
- 18-wheeler with a logo for a supermarket
- Red sports car
- SUV towing a vehicle or trailer
- Bird in the middle of the road
- Car stopped by the side of road
You’ll be able to use your imagination and come up with common — and perhaps not-so-common — things you see while traveling. Feel free to be as specific as you like, such as a vehicle’s make or model in a particular color.
Be sure to create numerous Bingo cards so you can keep this fun activity going after the first person gets a Bingo!
3. Tell a Group Story
Get back to our oral tradition roots as a society while you’re in the car.
Here’s how a group story works:
The first person starts a story and adds to it for about a minute. For instance, you might say: “There once was a bear who had two teenage bears who needed braces. To pay for the braces, he took out a Bonsai Dinero loan and then…”
At this point, another individual in the car has to pick up the story and continue it: “… he went to the orthodontist. At the office, he found out that he needed braces, too! He was surprised, but not totally because…”
Another person then picks up the tale, and continues where the last person left off.
How do you know when to end the story? Usually, people run out of things to say. Then, the next person can start another one.
Remember that the point of this activity is to use the imagination and explore vocabulary. Best of all, it gets kids using creativity as well as memory.
4. Exchange Songs between Generations
Does it seem like everyone on your vacations has his or her earbuds in the whole time? Now, it’s time to share in the music!
Instead of having everyone listening to different songs, allow each person in a round-robin style to pick a song to showcase. It can be a favorite tune, or an experimental one.
This is one of those field trip activities that gives everyone a voice. Additionally, it introduces people to music styles and options outside of their comfort zones.
One note: Set the stage beforehand to ensure everything played is family-friendly, especially if there are young children in your vehicle.
5. Play “20 Questions”
Never played “20 Questions” as a kid? Now is the perfect time to enjoy this fun game that can be played anywhere, anytime.
The basic premise is that one person thinks of an item. The item should be specific, but not too specific. For example, a “violin” is fine, but a “blue violin with a broken string” is too challenging.
After the person has thought of an item, the others in the vehicle have 20 chances to ask “yes” or “no” questions to figure out what the thing is.
The first time everyone plays, they’ll probably forget and start asking questions that require long answers. Be sure to referee them and keep everything to “yes” and “no” answers.
The game ends when someone figures out what the item is, or when the 20 questions are up. (Incidentally, if you ask, “Is it a squirrel?”, you’ve asked one of the 20 questions.)
6. Create Origami Figures
Hands-on activities are perfect for long car rides, but not everyone knows how to do needlepoint, knit, or crochet.
However, just about anyone with a little dexterity can masterfully learn how to create origami birds and other items.
Pick up a packet of origami paper before you head out to your destination, and you’ll have all the supplies you need. The paper isn’t costly, and can keep kids occupied if the scenery is dull.
Obviously, origami road trip activities can only be enjoyed by passengers. The driver will have to wait until stopping to see the fruits of everyone’s labors!
Make Road Trips More Exciting!
As you become more comfortable with road trip activities, you’ll no doubt find plenty that your family will love.
Who knows? You might start hearing what no one expects: “Awww… we’re here ALREADY? Can you drive around the block a couple of times so we can finish the game?”
Don’t stop the excitement at your destination! Going to a place with lots of trees? Try leaf rubbing to heighten the fun.