Road Trip Games

Sometimes, family road trips are an unavoidable fact of life. Sometimes, getting there is half the fun. Help everyone to enjoy a long car ride a bit more with these six easy do-it-yourself travel games.

1. Homemade Mad Libs. Before you hit the road, collect a few short stories, replace some of the words with blank lines and write the part of speech in parentheses underneath. Read the stories aloud as you travel and ask the children to call out their ideas. Take turns reading back the stories.

2. Make Your Own "Wipe Clean" Games and Activities. Laminate word games, mazes, and more from age- appropriate activity books. You can also create your own activities from scratch, or download and print some activities from your favorite online educational sites. Each child gets a couple of dry erase markers or overhead projecter pens and a few tissues to use as erasers. Your kids will love trading the pages and resuing the pages again and again throughout the trip.

3. Don't Forget the Joke Bowl. Before you leave on your trip, let each member of your family know that they need to collect at least ten jokes. Each person writes their jokes on slips of paper, which are collected in a bowl, hat or bag. At the first green highway sign, one person starts the joke bowl, reading a joke from the bowl and then passing it clockwise. Once everyone has read a joke, the group votes on a winner. The winner gets to start passing the Joke Bowl the next time you see a green highway sign.

4. Count the Cows. Separate your family into two teams, divided right down the center of the car, and count all the cows you see out your respective windows. This gets fun when you pass those crowded field because everyone is counting really fast. Each person keeps their own cow tally, but you can lose your cows, too: If you pass a cemetery (on your side of the car) and someone on the opposing team yells, "All your cows are buried!"

5. Play the License Plate Game. This one's a classic. Before you leave on your trip, give a list of all 50 states to each of your kids. (Or give them a blank map of the United States.) Each time they pass a car with a particular license plate, they cross it off the list or color the state on the map. You can have everyone compete against one another or work as a team.

6. Read a book. Find a great read aloud book and take turns reading. If your stomach churns at the thought of reading while in a moving car, download a few audiobooks to listen to as a family.

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