Every time we embark on a road trip, the foremost thought on my mind is: how can I keep my kids occupied and happy without the use of a screen or device? I’ve compiled some ideas that have worked for us, and I would love to hear your suggestions as well!
First off, I’ve found that rest areas have been instrumental in keeping everyone’s sanity at acceptable levels during long car trips. They are great places to stretch, run around, have a picnic, and sometimes enjoy great scenery or learn facts about the area. This website provides a comprehensive list of all the rest areas in the United States.
I Spy Cards
You can, of course, play I spy without the help of these cards, but I appreciate this game that my kids can play on their own, so I can concentrate on miles and miles of flat, open road.
The ABC Game
This is a game my parents had us play on trips when I was a kid. It’s fairly straightforward: you look out the window and search on signs, license plates, buildings, etc., for a word that starts with the letter a. Then you go on to b, then c, and on until z. With more obscure letters like q or x, we wouldn’t require that it be found at the beginning of the word. You can play it cooperatively or you can compete against one another.
Guess The Song
You start humming a song and see who can be the first to guess it. This is an easy game you can play anywhere, but usually my kids lose interest after about 15-20 minutes.
Verbal Mad Libs
You tell a story and periodically pause so that others can fill in the characters, places, and activities.
Would You Rather
Always an excellent way to spark conversation and deep thought, asking would you rather questions is a great way get everyone laughing, probe into ethical dilemmas and pass the time.
Imaginary Hide and Seek
Now, the thought of playing hide and seek when everyone is crammed in the car is a ridiculous thought, but this is more like hide and seek combined with 20 questions. In this version of the game, the person who “hides” imagines a place anywhere in the world to hide, and the seekers ask yes or no questions to try and find the place they are hiding.
Road Trip Bingo
I made several different kinds of road trip bingo, including license plate bingo and fast food bingo, which is my favorite. Find the cards here.
For whatever reason, my kids love for me to roll all the windows down while we’re driving on the highway and pretend like they’re in a mini hurricane. This might not be for everyone, and you’ll have to make sure there’s no loose papers or trash in the car because they’ll go straight out the windows, but my kids sure are entertained by it.
Hopefully this gives you some good ideas for your next road trip, and again, I’d love to hear your suggestions.
This article contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if linked products are purchased.