Travel Tips: Fun Games

Playing games is a great way to pass the time on a long trip.  Here are some ideas for fun, easy games to play that don't require the use of any electronic devices.

1.  Alphabet Naming Game  This is an easy activity that my kids often do on their own and I have tried it out on other kids and adults as well with good responses.  It's really simple and requires NO supplies.  First, pick a category.  A few examples:  animals, super heroes, movies, TV shows, fictional characters, song titles and books.  Second, beginning with letter A everyone tries to think of something or someone in the category that starts with the letter A.  The goal is for everyone in the vehicle to come up with a name before we move on to the next letter.  We will help each other, especially the little ones who don't always pick for the right letter.  Third, after each person names something for the letter, we move on to the next letter and work through the entire alphabet.  Some letters are more difficult or impossible to find several answers, but we try and then move on.  It's a great game for children and adults and has endless variations.  It can be played anywhere, including standing in line at DisneyWorld or sitting in a restaurant.  You could also play it like Scattergories and have everyone write down the word for each letter and then go through the alphabet and award points for each answer that was not repeated by someone else.  Then points could be added up and you would have a winner.

2.  Clue  If your children are old enough to read and write they can play a form of Clue in the car.  If you wish, you can bring the sheets from Clue along or make up names of characters, places and weapons.  If you want to make the game less violent-sounding, you can say the person ate the cake and instead of weapons list beverages that they may have drunk when eating the cake.  Once the choices (4-6) for three categories are chosen then one person secretly picks the character, place and weapon/beverage.  Then everyone else playing takes turns naming one from each category and asking if any of them are correct.  The person who has chosen tells them how many are correct, but not which ones.  If none of them are correct, then everyone listening can cross off those choices and focus on the other options.  If they say 1 or 2 are correct out of the 3, then they have to try to narrow down which ones are correct.  This can be challenging, but it only requires paper and pencils.    

3.  Alphabet Sign Game  I remember playing this game for hours on family trips when I was young.  I remember hoping I would see a Dairy Queen or a No Passing Zone sign, so I could find a Q or a Z before everyone else.  This game depends on being in an area where there are billboards or businesses or it will be very slow and boring.  However, it is a very simple game.  Starting with A and ending with Z everyone in the vehicle is trying to be the first to spot the letters of the alphabet in order on signs, license plates or anything outside of the vehicle.  You may want to add the rule that the word also has to be named so the same letter doesn't get used by several people.  Each letter seen can only be used by one person.  So if there is only one Dairy Queen sign and three people who need a Q, only the first person who calls it out gets to use it and the other two have to wait for the next sign with a Q on it.

4.  Travel Scavenger Hunt  A couple years ago I found a card game for this that made it easy for all ages to play because it didn't require reading.  But, you could create the game yourself as well.  One way to play would be to create a list and everyone tries to find the same things, much like the Alphabet Sign Game above.  Another way to play would be to give everyone different things to watch for and whoever checks off their list first wins.  Travel Bingo is a similar game that you can buy or print off free sheets.

5.  Quiz Games  When my husband drives he often wants to do something that stimulates his brain.  Listening to music or audiobooks can make a driver tired after awhile, so I will often ask him trivia questions or make up games using a road atlas book.  These same activities can include the kids or be for adults only.  A simple trivia game is bringing along cards from a game like Trivial Pursuit and seeing how many questions the person can answer correctly on each card.  My husband likes sports so I have also picked up inexpensive sports trivia books and quizzed him from those books.  We have used the Road Atlas to quiz on state facts like state birds, nicknames, capitols, etc.  We have bid on the number of cities we can name in a state and the person with the highest bid has to try to name them accurately.  We have guessed population sizes of cities or tried to order the states from largest to smallest in area.  It takes a little creativity and some time looking through the Road Atlas to see what information it contains, but you can learn a lot while also having fun.

6.  Alphabet Memory Game  This is another of my favorites from childhood.  "I'm going on a trip and I'm taking a/an... A__________, B__________, C__________, ...."  One by one you go around the vehicle in the same order, say the opening phrase and name an item that you will take while also naming all the other items that have already been chosen.  Whoever winds up with Z has to name 25 items plus their final item to end the game.  This is great for young and old!  This is good for memory development and creativity.  You could also vary it by choosing a category for the items or setting a size limit.

I hope these game ideas will give you something to try on your next trip.  If you have any other ideas or want to give feedback after trying any of these games, feel free to comment below!  As always, have fun learning as you go!


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