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Road Trip Games

Updated on August 10, 2013
stephhicks68 profile image

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

Going on a Road Trip? How About Some Entertainment?

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.

The License Plate Game

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.

Road trip games
Road trip games
So much to learn from examining license plates
So much to learn from examining license plates
The road ahead can be awfully long
The road ahead can be awfully long

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!

Anything But This! Road Trip from Hell

Road trip collage
Road trip collage

© 2008 Stephanie Hicks


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    • ournote2self profile image

      ournote2self 6 years ago

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

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great one!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

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

    • profile image

      gmpoint 8 years ago

      nice hub,its really funny

    • profile image

      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 . The games there are for adults too, not just the kiddies.

    • tring-sandra profile image

      tring-sandra 9 years ago from UK

      Great you can also play games at

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

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

    • kiwi91 profile image

      kiwi91 9 years ago from USA

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

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      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 profile image

      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.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      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

    • RachelOrd profile image

      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

      Great hub