Road trips are exciting! Some road trips are designed for a new destination place to explore and/or cool places to see along the way. Other road trips may be destination family/friend gatherings. A road trip for any reason is usually approached with anticipation and a lot of planning about what there will be to see and do.
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I will assume that most families also plan for how to keep themselves (adults and children) occupied along the way. There will be hours of sitting in a vehicle and bringing along some activities that are loved and familiar for the kids is very important for peace in the car. I have found that it is often extremely helpful to also have some new surprises to pull out of my activity stash when everyone gets bored with what they brought. I have a few ideas for you. These aren’t brand new for my kids, but only come out on trips, so they are fresh again every time.
This is a word game that often goes on for a couple of days at a time. It will die down as everyone moves on to something else. Then, all of a sudden, someone will shout out, “I have a new Hink Pink.” Then we are all hooked again.
It is simple and it is a rhyming game, so you can coach some of your younger ones and/or team them up with an older person, giving them the chance to make rhymes.
The only rule is to give everyone a clue about your Hink Pink. Everyone tries to guess. Often, if we (older ones) get it fast, we will coach the younger ones to find the answer before we blurt it out. We don’t take turns or keep any scores, though I know others who have done both to make it more competitive. We just all sit and think and call out clues when we think of something. Often, watching out the window of a moving car brings rhymes to mind.
Here are some examples of clues…..
- An overweight feline…. (a fat cat)
- Clean up droppings……. (scoop poop)
- A large branch….. (a thick stick)
The trick is to think of your rhyme first, then find a clue without using the words from the rhyme. Are you thinking of ideas? It really is fun!
Next step….. Hinky Pinkies! That’s right! Two syllable rhyming words! Think of a clue for a ‘stable table.’ Or, what is a cold Easter flower? (a chilly lily)
Aaaaaaand….. Hinkety Pinketies! THREE syllable rhyming words. Hehehe! Can you think of a clue for a ‘conductor instructor?’ Before we give a clue, we always tell everyone if it is a Hink Pink, a Hinky Pinky, or a Hinkety Pinkety
I’ve even heard tell of Hinkediddle Pinkediddles, but we’ve never gone to the extreme of 4 syllables.
Almost everywhere we go, I bring a stash of pipe cleaners. Even the older kids enjoy playing around with them. On trips, we use them to fiddle with, but I often give different challenges.
- One is to have everyone look at something we are passing (ie. the same evergreen tree) and ask everyone to make one.
- Or that everyone looks out the window and makes something that they see on their own.
- Maybe I’ll ask everyone in each row of seats (two or three kids) to work together to create something fun with the pipe cleaners (for my kids, this ask often involves kind of a woven mat picture, but we’ve seen satellites, dinosaurs, flowers, a sproingy monster (pipe cleaners wound around a finger to make it ‘sproingy’), and a recreation of our van).
- Or perhaps, I’ll have everyone make something for another person in the car.
I’ll bet you could come up with
We all know the game of finding the alphabet letters in order on road signs. When I am on the road with my kids who are big enough to see license plates on cars, we play the same game for the plates. But I keep trying to find twists to the game. Who can be the first to find all the letters to spell out our last name in order? Or ask them to each choose a 10 letter word of their own and see who finds the letters to their own
This is a game we love anywhere, and it can get a bit dicey in the car (you’ll get the pun further down), but this is very doable in a vehicle. For this, you really need to get a hard surface with a lip around the edge for each person – a lap size tray of some kind – because this game involves rolling dice. It’s a quick
The variations come with a set of game cards that give different directions. One might be that everyone has to get all 4’s for their dice. Another might be that they all need to get five 5’s and five 6’s. You get the idea. If you don’t have a set of game cards, everyone can take turns making up a new rule, or whoever won the round before gets to give the new rule.
The ‘dicey’ part of this activity for a road trip is that if any of the dice
This is not an original activity, but we love this one. Someone starts a story and we go around the group to add on to the story. Our goal is always to have it make some kind of sense and for the story to be done after everyone (there ARE 8 of us) has had three turns.
When we go on a road trip, we add a twist…. We record the story on someone’s phone and get it typed up (we use Dragon Naturally Speaking, but any voice-to-text will work) to make a book for everyone’s memory stash. Because we know it will be saved as a
I grew up with paper dolls. My sisters and I would spend hours tracing the outlines of our paper dolls and adding tabs to the outlines, then designing new dresses, pants, coats, shoes, etc with our crayons.
There are paper dolls out there in the world that you can buy and play with, but I usually find a couple of paper dolls online and print them on cardstock. I usually cut the paper dolls out ahead of time, but that, itself can be a car activity. Then we bring along more cardstock, markers, scissors
This is a site that lets you download and print paper dolls for free. https://www.printablepaperdolls.net/
It’s Time to Leave!
These activities are six of my current extras. Everyone gets in the van for a road trip with their usual, well-loved activities… coloring books, activity books (
I’d love to hear more ideas from all of you!!!!