By Will Regan, Co-Founder of the Cardiff Travel Headrest
Any parent will tell you that road trips can feel like an eternity if the kids are bored. Keeping kids occupied on the road can be fun for the entire family, so plan some easy activities to keep the kids involved and help you keep your sanity! Check out these fun road trip activity ideas below:
1. Mapquest – Map reading is a skill that has gone by the wayside. Give your kids a map and let them chart your course instead of using your GPS. Use this activity to discuss historical events that happened along the route and plan rest stops for eating and restroom breaks.
2. Scavenger hunt – Give each child a list of things to look for while driving, such as monuments, landmarks, and other points of interest that have historical relevance to your trip. Have them cross off each item as they find them.
3. License Plate bingo – Print out maps of all 50 US states and distribute one to each of the kids. As you drive down the road, look for what state each license plate is from. Have the kids place an “X” on each one they see and the first one to get 5 touching states wins. Quiz the kids on state capitals as they spy new states and also provide bonus points if the kids can name someone famous from the states they find – like Lincoln for Illinois or Wild Bill Cody for Wyoming.
4. Alphabet game – Start with the letter A and find that letter on a sign, a truck, a building, or a license plate. Say the word you found it in then move on to the next letter. Some letters will be easier to spot than others. Give bonus points if the kids can list 5 more words starting with that letter.
5. Have a spelling bee – Kids love to spell, so bring a set of flashcards for them to practice spelling.
6. Mystery writing – Have one child close his eyes while the other one draws a picture on his hand with his finger. The first child has to guess what was drawn. Clues can be given.
7. String games – Use a piece of yarn or twine to play games like Jacob’s Ladder or Cat’s in the Cradle.
8. Play cards – Bring along a deck of Old Maid or Go Fish.
9. Karaoke – Make a playlist for your trip of songs that your kids love to sing. Pretend you’re the Partridge family and sing your way down the highway.
10. Madlibs – Make up short stories about people you see on your trip by filling in the blanks with nouns, adjectives, colors, and places, and then read your stories aloud. The whole car will be laughing at your silly stories.
Road trips are an excellent time to make family memories. Make the trip enjoyable by playing games that incorporate learning, silliness and family interaction. Just like the dinner table, riding in a car can produce an environment for talking, laughing, and storytelling.