It’s almost inevitable when you hit the road with your family. The batteries die on the portable game player, a fight starts over what movie to watch next on the in-car DVD player, the novelty of that new toy wears out 300 miles sooner than anticipated.
The next stop is 100 miles away, the troops are starting to get restless and then you hear it, the four words that mean the next 100 miles will be the longest in your life: “Are we there yet?”
Now what? Go back to when games didn’t need batteries, a thousand and one complicated pieces or resemble a character in the latest Disney blockbuster. Go back to when all you needed was your imagination…(and perhaps a bit of scenery).
10 Imaginative Road Trip Games for Backseat Fun
#1: I Spy – A classic for a reason – a no-toy fun list wouldn’t be complete without it! Do I even need to explain the rules? I think not. “I spy with my little eye something that is obvious.”
#2: My Cow! – A slight variation of I Spy that handles the moving scenery problem. Instead of ‘spying’ things, players declare ownership of spied items by saying, “My cow!” or “My red barn with a roster on top!” or whatever other creative description you can come up with.
#3: I Imagine – The game starts with one player thinking of an object and saying, “I imagine…” and the other players take turns asking questions to narrow the possibilities in order to guess the object.
#4: Hey Cow! – Just plain silly, but surprisingly entertaining. Players take turns rolling down their window and yelling, “Hey Cow!” when passing a field of cows and the (estimated) number of cows who look is that player’s score for that round. The player with the highest score wins.
#5: Horses! – The objective of the game is to collective the most horses (worth 1 point each) by being the first to spot and call out, “Horses!” Beware: any player who spots a graveyard can bury the other players’ horses putting them back at zero while retaining their horses by saying, “Graveyard – bury your horses!”
#6: Once Upon a Time – The first player starts the story with “Once upon a time” and fills in the story premise and each player takes turns adding to the story, building on the last turn and creatively changing the story direction. Warning: giggling is a likely side effect.
#7: Counting for Ice Cream – Think of this as a way to get to the next stop in peace and quiet game. A parent assigns an object to count and a required objective before the next stop and the kids (individually or as a group) need to count that number of objects in order to ‘earn’ their ice cream!
#8: What am I? – The game starts with one player thinking of a thing and giving clues to the other players until someone answers the question, “What am I?” Similar to I Imagine only with the imagining player guiding the clues.
#9: Cars – The perfect game for familiar routes on less busy roads, the game starts by picking two known landmarks as starting and end points with everyone guessing how many oncoming cars they will pass between the two points.
#10: Movie Trivia Volley – The game starts with a player ‘serving’ either a movie title or an actor’s name with the other players answering back another actor in that movie or another movie with that actor. The volley continues alternating between movies and actors until someone is stumped. The trick is that in order to win the round, the serving player needs to answer to the trivia question.
Tell us how you keep the kids occupied on long summer road trips? What are your favorite backseat games? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!