by Jessica Weiner
It is tempting to let the kids while away the long miles buried in a stack of movies, but a road trip provides the perfect opportunity for quality family time. Whether they create literary masterpieces, compete to find funny car decals or journal their adventures, these fun car games will help the hours pass quickly.
With a little imagination, the car can whisk kids away on exciting adventures. Let the theme determine the songs you sing, the clothes you wear, the snacks you eat and the accents you speak. For a Western celebration, don a cowboy hat, pop in a country music CD and wrangle up a sassafras float for dessert. The next day, the kids can board a pirate ship or blast off in a space rocket.
Disney Family Fun offers dozens of exciting road trip vacations, including traveling by covered wagons, sailing the Mississippi River and hunting for shark teeth.
Tell a Tale
Like the traditional campfire pastime, one person starts a story then passes it on to the next person at a cliffhanging moment. You can also buy a gamebook, such as the Choose Your Own Adventure series
, that lets the reader determine the characters’ decisions and the plot outcome. Read the story together and come to a consensus before choosing the next path in the road. When the story evolves, switch readers.
Loosely wrap small trinkets, snacks, funny fortunes and activity ideas in shiny aluminum foil balls. At specific mileposts, or when the kids are getting a little cranky, toss a ball into the backseat. Challenge your youngsters to shape the foil into silly creatures, an alien tin foil hat or goofy sunglasses.
Decorate a plain notebook before the trip or purchase a kid-friendly travel journal
that includes daily activities, car games, writing prompts as well as memento pockets for maps, photos and ticket stubs. All you need to tote along is a colorful pack of pens and tape for securing souvenirs, whether it is a colorful postcard or an autumn leaf.
I Spy Scavenger Hunt
Update these two classic games by combining them into one family friendly competition. Before the trip, create a list of expected and rare items you might spot along the journey, such as a state sign, a bridge, a hot pink car, a train or a stick-family car decal. The first person to catch sight of an item on the list calls out, “I Spy (item)!” Only those who see the item can check it off their scavenger list.
This game can be played while on the road as well as during pit stops by adding collectible items, such as a black rock, a bird feather or a giant leaf. For younger children who cannot read, give them a picture list, while older children can complete more complex scavenges, such as spotting three things in a row that begin with the letter A (armadillo, apple and airplane).
With these five fun games, there will never be a dull moment on your next family road trip. Whether you are taking a three-hour tour through the mountains or a three-day journey across the country, take advantage of the time together to create family memories that will last a lifetime.
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