Updated on August 10, 2013

Stephanie has had four children, including a set of twins! She loves to share ideas on raising kids - the good, bad and ugly!

Before the advent of handheld game consoles and DVD players installed in vehicles, children and adults had to be creative in passing the time during long road trips. Staving off boredom and the constant inquiries of "when will we get there," can be accomplished with a few simple games. We still employ these from time-to-time, as they are good learning experiences for children learning numbers, letters and sequencing. You can also expand horizons with respect to geography.

Watch to see how many different states you can discover on the plates of passing vehicles. The person with the greatest number of states spotted when you reach your location wins. For older children, you can ask them to arrange the states by geographic location, or see if they know what the state's capitol is for extra points. With the number of special plates issued by states (to celebrate sports teams or to raise money for certain causes, such as protection of cultural resources, etc.), you can play a new variant on the game. Can anyone find 3 different California plates? This can be either its own game, or a bonus round in the traditional license plate game. Be creative! Your kids can help make up the rules, too.

The Alphabet Game

The object of this game is to find a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet, in proper sequence. It can be restricted to signs along the highway, or include commercial stops along the way (i.e., Texaco, Burger King, etc.). This is great for early readers, or even preschoolers learning to identify letters. You can vary the game by allowing letters on license plates to count, too. Or, it can be played by only looking for letters on plates. It can get really fun (or frustrating) looking for "X" words. We've sometimes fudged on the rules and allowed the "X" to be within the identified word (Exit - a very easy one to get). Once again, the rules of the game can be changed to fit your family and the players involved.

The Number Game

Yes, its a variation on the previous game that involves finding numbers in sequence. Unlike the alphabet, which only has 26 letters, this game can go on indefinitely! Restricted to license plates, the game may end sooner, though, as your children will likely only spot numbers 0-9. We've found that its better to expand the scope to include license plates, exit and directional signs, etc.

When all else fails, this one is my personal favorite....

The Quiet Game

The object is to see who can go without talking, singing or humming for the longest amount of time. Unfortunately, you need at least 2 kids to play. Your only child may not find competition with adults to be much fun. Alternatively, you can set a length of time (half an hour) and everyone that makes it can get an ice cream cone at the next stop.

Road tripping with the family can be exhausting, and you'll need to have a healthy dose of patience and humor to get through the day. When all else fails, you can always hope that the hotel has a great minibar at your final destination. Happy Trails!

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• ournote2self

7 years ago

Fun ideas. My son is finally getting of age where i could play some of these with him.

• AUTHOR

Stephanie Hicks

8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Great one!

• 2patricias

8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

You could play 'i spy' with older kids - restricted to items inside the car.

• gmpoint

9 years ago

nice hub,its really funny

• TaraTravels

9 years ago

Love the cute cartoon at the top of this article. I'd say the "quiet" game is genius for getting the kids to pipe down! These are some pretty good games, but if you want some really involved and totally competitive road trip games, check out http://www.planning-fun-road-trips.com/road-trip-g... . The games there are for adults too, not just the kiddies.

• tring-sandra

9 years ago from UK

Great you can also play games at http://www.youtring.com/games/online-games.aspx

• AUTHOR

Stephanie Hicks

10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Thanks kiki91 - I will check yours out too. Do you have the same user name?

• kiwi91

10 years ago from USA

Very cool. I think I'll link this up to my road trip lens (on Squidoo).

• AUTHOR

Stephanie Hicks

10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

That is funny, Peter! These are classic games. I was taught most of them by my grandparents so many years ago.

• Peter M. Lopez

10 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

Funny, I thought about writing on this very topic. My wife and I picked our favs and the ABC and license plate game were in our top 3. Thanks for doing all the work for me. Great hub.

• AUTHOR

Stephanie Hicks

10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Thanks Rachel - we actually enjoy playing these games with our kids! I know what you mean about the competition. Too funny! LOL

• Rachel Ord

10 years ago from Palm Coast

I taught my boyfriend the alphabet game a few months ago on a 6hr road trip we went on. I think that's a blast, and so did he! It's funny to hear other people do the same thing to keep their sanity. It gets really competitive between us though, so be careful with this game...lol

Great hub

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