Some families are looking forward to getting back out on the road and heading out on a long car trip, forgetting what it was like to take a long car trip with kids.
For some families, keeping the little ones entertained can be the hardest part. A few years ago, all you had to do was pop a DVD into the car’s DVD player, stick some wireless headphones on the kids, and then enjoy the silence for the next two hours. Or you can give each kid their own 7″ Kindle Fire (they’re $40 on Amazon) and download fun games and videos for them.
But if you don’t have a DVD player, or they’re tired of playing the same games, or they just need a break, what kinds of options do you have? What if you don’t have kids and you don’t want to watch movies or play games?
Here are seven car trip entertainment ideas that can help keep everyone entertained, and even the driver can enjoy.
- Play the Question Game: Based on the very first The Book of Questions published in 1987, there are dozens of books, cards, and even mobile apps that give you thoughtful conversation starters like “If you could travel to the future, but never return, would you?” Ask a question, and then everyone gets to answer.. this is even suitable for younger kids (over 7) because it can get them to think about life in a new way.
- Listen to old-time radio plays and new audio drama: Instead of movies the driver can’t enjoy, why not a “movie for the mind?” Pick an old-time radio theater show from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, or pick a new audio drama podcast. (Basically, just like OTR, but it’s produced today.) You can find plenty of old-time radio shows for (legal!) download on a number of different sites. Or just do a Google search for “audio drama podcasts.” Check out Decoder Ring Theater, ZBS (especially the Jack Flanders shows), and The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company just to name a very few.
- Cow counting: This is great if you drive on a lot of state highways or around the country. The idea is to count the number of cows on your side of the car but no estimating because that’s cheating. The first person to 100 wins. But if you pass a cemetery on your side of the road, you have to start over.
- License plate scavenger hunt: This takes some pre-planning first, but it’s fun for the kids. Create some bingo sheets or scavenger hunt checklists and hand them out in the car — the driver will need the navigator’s help, of course — and then keep your eyes peeled for items on the list. Pick things you’re likely to see on your trip (e.g., no snowmobiles on your summer vacation), and make them easier for younger kids.
- Road alphabet: Another oldie-but-goodie. Watch out for letters of the alphabet in order, on different road signs. The first person to Z wins. You can make the rule that you only get one letter per sign, and we recommend no license plates or passing cars. It has to be signs. Tip: Q and Z are tough unless you can find a Quick’s Pizza.
- Road trip apps: There are dozens of road trip apps in both Apple’s and Google’s app stores, from conversation starters and questions to scavenger hunts and bingo, to trivia games and even old-time radio shows. Find a few apps that let you serve as the moderator, or that you can pass off to other players.
Those are just a few of our suggestions to keep a carload of young travelers entertained on your next long car trip. What are some of your favorite car trip entertainment options? Leave a suggestion on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.