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Be Road Trip Ready With This List Of 40 Ideas For Backseat Fun

A long car ride can be ideal for quality family time, interesting conversations, and entertaining activities – if you make it a screen-free trip!

The most important tip to keep in mind when embarking on a road trip: Don’t be afraid of a little boredom. It’s natural and okay for kids to experience occasional bouts of boredom on a long car ride. Learning how to handle boredom is an essential skill for children. A car trip is the perfect opportunity for children to spend some time in their own heads for a while, looking out at the scenery, letting their imaginations roam, and experiencing a little wonder.

That said, it’s still always helpful to have some fun screen-free ideas to help make the kilometers pass!

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40 Road Trip Ideas for Kids

Here’s a list of quick and easy ways to pass the time on a long car ride. Whenever possible, try to put your own spin on the activity (e.g., giving it a funny name; playing a “Mom’s rules” variation) to make it an extra-special memory for the family!
1. Give kids an old-fashioned paper map to follow your route! (Rest areas often offer them for free.)
2. Play “I see something . . . ” (“I see something blue and it begins with the letter ‘s.’”)
3. Take turns completing this sentence: “Something nobody in this car knows about me is . . .”
4. Play the license plate game – it involves attempting to find a license plate from each province or neighbouring country.
5. Give kids notebooks and crayons and different 2-minute drawing challenges: (“Draw what you plan to do at our destination!” “Draw your dream house!” “Draw a car from the future!”)
6. Play the alphabet game where you take turns coming up with a name, location, and item for each letter: “My name is Anna. I come from Alaska, and I’m bringing apples on this road trip!”
7. Try to get as many truck drivers as you can to beep their horns at you!
8. Take turns completing this sentence: “If I won a million Rand, the first thing I would do is . . .”
9. Play Hug Bug, a peaceful alternative to Slug Bug! When you spot a Volkswagen Beetle, shout “Hug Bug” and hug the passenger next to you!
10. Count cars! Pick a colour or model and see who can find 10 first!
11. Play 20 questions!
12. Have a spelling bee!
13. Look for pictures in the clouds!
14. Play travel bingo! (It can be fun to make up your own bingo cards!)
15. Read a book! Especially nice for older siblings to read to younger ones.
16. Sing! Belt out some favourite tunes!
17. Play the quiet game!
18. Make up fun stories about people in cars you pass!
19. Count animals! Keep track of the number of animals you see on the roadside!
20. Make up a family trivia game (“Which family member’s first word was “ball”? “Who in this car is a brother, a cousin, and an uncle?”)
21. Sing “rounds” in family favourite songs!
22. Play dots, tic tac toe, hangman and other easy pen and paper games.
23. Be spontaneous! Stop and stretch your legs at a scenic view spot or a roadside attraction!
24. Use a small metal baking sheet as a play surface for magnets and as a lap desk for drawing, writing, and colouring on paper!
25. Teach other passengers a new song!
26. Fold up foil – get creative to see what you can make!
27. Try tongue twisters: two of our two-word favourites: “Irish wristwatch” and “Unique New York”!
28. Play “Would You Rather” by making up silly scenarios, such as, “Would you rather eat a tiny piece of moldy cheese or smell your big brother’s socks?”
29. Collaborate on making up lyrics to a special family song!
30. Take off your socks (or grab two paper lunch bags) to use as puppets for an impromptu puppet show!
31. Make paper Fortune Tellers and take turns asking it questions.
32. Do an alphabet scavenger hunt looking for objects along the road that start with each letter!
33. Pick an object and race to be the first to find a certain quantity of them (“Who can spot 20 cows first?” “Who can spot 12 yield signs first?”)
34. Have a contest to be the closest to guessing what time you will reach a certain destination
35. Make up age-appropriate, travel related math challenges. (“If the sign says 100 miles to our destination, how far do we have to travel to be halfway there?”)
36. Try to make sentences with as many words with the same letter as you can (“Adam ate an apple at an arcade.”)
37. Start drawing a picture and pass it to the next person to add on to it.
38. Collaborate on creating a poem by taking turns contributing rhyming lines.
39. Challenge yourselves to make up sentences using only letters: I-C-U, or U-R-A-Q -T!
40. See how many people in other cars you can get to wave to you!
41. → Safe travels, everyone!