We had been on the road for several hours when my son said he had to go to the bathroom. I told him I would get off at the next exit, but he said he couldn’t wait and asked for a cup. I decided to give him one, after all, he had done that successfully several times before. Before I knew it my daughter was screaming and when I looked back all I could see was a powerful stream headed right for me. The fact that my son could hit my husband and I all the way from the back of the minivan was impressive. When all was said and done the only thing dry in the van was the cup.
I don’t recommend peeing for distance as a road trip activity. But as you are on your adventure here are 10 family road trip activities to enjoy your time together.
1. The Alphabet Game.
Pick a topic—animals, for instance. Start with A, and let each person, in turn, name an animal that begins with a letter of the alphabet. To make things more challenging, ask each person to recite all the animals that have been named so far, as they go along. When you reach Z, begin again with a different topic.
See how many different state license plates you can spot on your trip. Keep a list of your sightings. Or, before your trip, print out a map of the U.S. and check off each state when you see a vehicle with that plate.
3. Picture It.
Give each child an inexpensive disposable camera and allow them to take photos of anything of interest they see along the way. After the trip, have the photos developed and let each child create their own homemade storybook about their travels.
4. Aluminum Foil Art.
Take along a roll of aluminum foil and let your kids use it to craft their own creations. They might try making jewelry, animal sculptures, hats, cars—the possibilities are as endless as their imaginations!
Pick up a set of travel bingo boards at the local dollar store or download iMOM’s Road Trip Bingo here—the ones with the little red windows that slide across each square as the letters and numbers are called. Also download iMOM’s Road Trip I Spy here.
6. Counting Games.
Assign each member of the family something specific to count along your route. Think cows, fire trucks, trains, police cars, horses, American flags, etc. Tally up each person’s score at every rest stop to see who has the most points.
7. The Drawing Game.
Pass around a piece of paper, and let everyone add one line until it forms a picture. When the picture is complete, let the kids color it in.
8. 20 Questions.
In this classic game, Player 1 thinks of an object; then the other players, in turn, ask one question at a time to try and guess what it is. But the limit is 20 questions. If they haven’t guessed by then, Player 1 wins!
9. Travel Totes.
This one takes a little advance planning, but it’s worth it! Pick up an inexpensive tote bag for each child and fill it with books, crayons, coloring books, a notepad, their favorite portable snacks and treats, and a favorite toy. Each child having their own bag will eliminate back seat battles over whose turn it is to use the crayons next!
10. Roadside Attractions and Tacky Tourist Traps.
Factor in a little fun along the road by stopping at one offbeat spot: a quirky souvenir stand; a local advertising oddity like a gigantic chicken statue, an unusual roadside museum, or maybe even a diner in the shape of a hot dog. Even a quick pit stop in a fun spot can refresh and revive everyone and inspire lively conversation for the rest of the trip.
Tell us! What are some of your family’s favorite road trip activities?