Travel games

It’s that time of year again when long trips in the car are met with frequent choruses of"Are we there yet?” Cut down on road trip down time with some fun, inexpensive road trip games.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Before you leave, make a checklist of things you’re likely to pass by on your route. For example, heading out of Illinois and into the prairie yonder, cows, a red barn, a DeKalb corn sign, a silo, all come to mind. Children should check off the item when spotted and whoever completes their checklist first, wins. Make a different checklist for each child. This is an educational game because you can customize a list that fits with reading skills. For tots, cut out magazine pictures of the items they need to keep on their radar.

Spot an Animal

On the road, and throughout the vacation, have each child make a list of the animals they’ve spotted. A sturdy notebook is a must for each child.

License Plate Game

Print out a map of the United States. Color in the state with a crayon whenever you spot a corresponding license plate.


Draw up a simple Bingo grid and fill each space with a word or a picture (draw your own or cut out from a magazine). Just like with Bingo, place an X on the item once it’s spotted. Whoever arrives at five in a row—vertical, horizontal or diagonal—wins.

Follow the route on a mapPhotocopy your road map and see if your kids can pencil along with the route.More road trip tips

Dole out small snack bags of goodies at periodic intervals. Stick with low-sugar treats.

Give the kids a chance to stretch their legs and expend some energy at rest stops: Pull out a Frisbee or a jump rope if there’s room to play.

Consider checking out some audio books from your local library.

Keep a family travel journal: Pass around a notebook from person to person, asking each to detail a highlight of the day.

Don’t forget prizes for the road trip game winners. Your local dollar store is a great resource for summer toys that travel well: jump ropes, decks of cards, jacks, bucket and shovel sets if you’re heading to the beach, floaty toys for the lake.

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