Successful family vacations generally take quite a bit of planning. You’ve got to have the snacks for when they’re hungry, water bottles and juice boxes for when they’re thirsty, wet wipes for when they make a mess of themselves – the preparations are endless!
But perhaps the thing that might make you the craziest as you hit the road with your kids is the chorus of “I’m bored” and “Are we there yet?” that you’ll be subjected to as you make your way to your destination.
The answer, of course, is to be ready with travel games for kids. We’ve rounded up our favourite travel games to give you some ideas to get started.
Remember these from your own childhood? This one is always a hit and can be adapted for a wide range of ages. You can either buy the booklets, or print out mad libs from a website like Woo Jr! If your kids are on the younger age, you’ll have to give them examples of verbs, nouns and adjectives to get them going. The time in the car (or in the plane) will fly by as you crack yourselves up with silly stories created by your family.
License plate bingo
An oldie but a goodie! You’ll need to print or purchase the bingo cards in advance for this game. It works best when you’re travelling through a pretty diverse territory – e.g. from Ontario down to Florida, since you’ll be trying to find license plates from a variety of provinces and states. If you’re staying a little more locally, consider using the first letter or number from the license plates to play.
Scavenger Hunt and/or “I spy”
While you might get an eye roll if you suggest this one to older kids, younger kids will love it. Get a little more creative than just “spying” things with certain colors. Use other fun and descriptive clues to get your kids to guess the object, like describing what the object is used for or what its shape is. Alternatively, if your kids are reading, print up a list of scavenger hunt items (think: cow, police, yellow car, etc.). The first to find them all wins.
While some card games might be a little too complicated to play while rolling along at 110 kilometers per hour, simpler card games like Uno and Go Fish are easy to play and always a hit with younger children. For older kids, check out the toy aisles at your favorite retailer and you’ll see that several other card games have been adapted into travel games for kids.
Originally intended to stimulate conversation around the dinner table, these conversation starters work just as well as a travel game for kids. Asking thought-provoking questions like “who is one of your heroes and why do they inspire you?” and “What event in the past or future would you like to witness in person?”, your family will strengthen bonds as you learn more about one another.
So, the next time you and your family hit the road, put the tablets and smart phones away and try these old-fashioned travel games for kids instead. You’ll arrive at your destination happy, more connected and, most importantly, sane!