Work your kids' memory muscles without them even realizing it by playing a game during which they have to remember a long list of items. Start with a relevant sentence like "I'm going on a road trip and I'm going to bring apples…"
Each player after that must recite the sentence and the running list and then add an item in alphabetical order. The second player, for example, would say, "I'm going on a road trip and I'm going to bring apples and bikes."
Nearly every family has its own version of the alphabet game. In one version, look for each letter of the alphabet (in alphabetical order) on signs, license plates or buildings. For another version, look for things that start with each letter of the alphabet (again, going in alphabetical order), like an armadillo, building or cactus. You can choose any variation that you like or make up your own.
A simple whiteboard, along with dry erase markers (or dry erase crayons for little ones), is the perfect template for endless games of tic-tac-toe and hangman.
Before you set out on your trip, purchase a fun game like Melissa & Doug's Flip to Win Bingo (Amazon.com, $13), or make your own bingo cards with travel-related pictures (car, truck, traffic light, exit sign, rest stop, etc.) instead of numbers and letters. Laminate the boards and bring along crayons for marking off the pictures.
I spy is a classic road trip game that can go on forever. Each person takes a turn "spying" an item on the road (or inside the car), and the other passengers must take turns guessing what the item is. The person who guesses correctly gets the next turn to "spy" something.
Another classic car-trip entertainer, 20 questions is easy enough for even your littlest road trippers to play along. One person thinks of a person, place, thing or animal, and the other passengers have to ask questions (up to 20) to guess the item.
At the beginning, you may be the most enthusiastic player when it comes to the road trip car games, but with a few incentives (ahem, cool prizes), all your passengers will really get into the game before long. Before your trip, head to the dollar store or the cheapie bins at Target for some fun gifts to give as prizes for the road trip game winners.
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