Family Road Trip Games

Remember “Star Trek”? Whenever Captain Kirk wanted to come home from a planet, he flipped open his communicator and said, “Beam me up Scotty.” Within seconds he was transported from one location to another. I always wanted a transporter to get to and from vacation spots. Alas, we have to drive. We pile our family and luggage into the car for a “3 hour tour” (Sorry, I switched TV metaphors). Anyway, our 3 hour tour generally seems to last all day. Fortunately, even the road trip can become a fun part of the vacation when you have a few activities planned. We have found several activities that make the road trip more enjoyable and I thought I would share some with you. Hope you enjoy them and your family vacation.
Use a Playlist: Talk to each of your family members about their current favorite songs or albums. Put together a playlist of everyone’s favorites. During the trip, sing along to each person’s favorite music for a portion of the trip. By the way, don’t just use everyone’s playlist to sing along. Use familiar melodies and make up your own words.
The License Plate Game: Print out a U.S. map and mark off each state as you see the corresponding license plate. See if you can find a license from each of the 50 states during your summer travels. This can be a family project or a competition to see who finishes first.
The License Plate Game, Part 2: Look for “designer plates” and call them out. For instance, if you see “KLNX BX,” yell out “Kleenex Box.” You can also use “non-designer plates” to make up your own words and phrases. For instance, “DLP” on a plate might be “Dollop” or “CHT 9032” might be “CHaT at 9:03 too”. See who can make up the most creative words…you might find a budding Dr. Seuss.
Play Cards: Bring a deck of cards and play “Go Fish,” “Old Maid,” “500,” or any other game your family enjoys.
Hand (or Back) Writing: One person closes their eyes while another person “writes” a letter or word on their back or hand. The person with their eyes closed has to guess what was “written.” 
Tell Jokes: Take turns telling jokes—”Knock, Knock” jokes, riddles, or plain old funny stories. If you don’t know many jokes, get book from the library and take turns reading jokes out loud.
Cat’s Cradle: My daughters enjoyed making string figures like “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Whiskers.” Don’t ask me how…I never could figure this one out.
I Spy: One person secretly identifies an object that everyone can see. He then says, “I spy with my little eye something…” and identifies the color of that object. Everyone else has to guess what the object is until someone figures it out. The first person to figure it out gets to pick the object for the next round.
20 Questions: This game is sometimes called “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.” One person thinks of an object but does not tell anyone what it is. The other players ask questions, trying to determine the object in less than 20 questions. Many people ask if it is “animal, mineral, or vegetable” to get started. (I always got stuck at this question–is it a vegetable or a fruit? And what really constitutes a mineral? Is a tree animal, mineral or vegetable? I don’t know…after all, I’m a psychologist not a biologist.) 
The Alphabet Game: Start with the letter “A” and find one on a sign, truck, or building. Identify the letter for everyone to see and then move on to the next letter. You can do this as a competition or together as a family for the younger beginning readers. The first one to get to the letter “Z” is the winner!
Alphabet Game II: In this version, one person picks a theme such as foods, animals, places, girl names, boy names, bands, songs…. Starting with the letter “A,” everyone picks an item that corresponds to that letter. Then move to “B” and so forth. When a person can’t think of an item, they’re out. Last person in, wins.
Rock-Paper-Scissors: In this game,each play says “Rock, Paper, Scissors” while lightly slapping a fist into their open hand once for each word. When saying “scissors,” each player changes his fist into one of three gestures: a rock by keeping the fist, scissors by holding out their first two fingers, or paper by keeping their hand flat. Rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper, and paper beats rock. You can use variations of this game by making up other gestures such as Dragon (putting your hands like claws near your ears), Knight (pretending to swing a sword), or Damsel (laying your head on your hands while batting your eyes). In this version, dragon beats damsel, knight beats dragon, and damsel beats knight.
Duct Tape Art: Buy a roll of duct tape and let each person make something with it. Today, you can find duct tape in all kinds of colors–orange, blue, the traditional grey and black. Our kids and their cousins have made wallets, bracelets, gloves, and sandals. Go figure…duct tape really can fix everything.
I’m sure you have your own ideas. Please share them in the comment section or on Facebook so we can all benefit…and, have a great vacation even while your travel.

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