Great and not-so-great games for kids on road trips

Nashville, Tennessee to Tallahassee, Florida. Tallahassee to Memphis,
Tennessee. Memphis to Branson, Missouri. Those are all road trips I’ve
been on recently and while they might not be considered long road
trips, the shortest was still over 5 hours. The longest was about 10
because with children, it just takes longer. Think about stops for
snacks, potty breaks, etc.

The first leg of my trip I was with my dogs and they are great
travelers. That was Nashville to Tallahassee. From there I launched
out with my brother and two of his kids to Memphis, Tennessee. I was
quietly anxious to show these two nieces a couple of spots that I hold
in high regard- Graceland (Elvis Presley’s home) and the Lorraine
Motel (where Martin Luther King, Jr gave his life for the cause of
equality and “freedom of the whole human race”).

But we’ll get to that! Before leaving on the trip I looked up sites
with lists of fun car games to play. I jotted down a list of 9 games.

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The game we enjoyed the most starts with this line: I’m going on a
picnic and I’m bringing a _________. There is where you fill in a word
that starts with A. The next person repeats the line, along with the A
word and adds a B word. The next person repeats it all, plus A, plus
B, and adds a C word. On and on it goes till you get to Z and it was
so fun. We all loved coming up with odd or silly words for each
letter. And to keep the game going without anyone getting frustrated,
it’s more than OK to help out when someone gets stuck along the way.

We also played 20 questions which I’d say was the second most popular
game. We each came up with a person, place, or thing, and then
everyone else in the car had to guess it within 20 questions. It was a
little tough for my youngest niece because she’d fire off 37 questions
in a few seconds, so it may be best to go around one by one to ask the
questions, as a way to prolong the game and keep it organized.

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Another top 3 game was using a print-out map of the United States.
With the map you can mark off every time you see a state, whether it’s
on a license plate, billboard, road sign, etc. This one is good
because you can do it for a while, set it aside, and when another
state name pops up, pull out the map again and mark it off. So it
could last the entire trip as a game you do, then come back to.

We also added a twist to it where I had the girls close their eyes and
point to anywhere on the map. I’d say something like, “This state is
where you were born.” They open their eyes and read off the state. You
can come up with fun ways to set it up- you met your husband in this
state, you will get a job next year and move to this state, etc. That
was fun!

The game that didn’t work so well was the question game. This is where
any conversation taking place has to be in the form of a question. For
instance…
Person 1: How was your day today?
Person 2: How do you think my day was?
1: Is it safe to say it was an amazing day?
2: Does a bear poop in the woods?
1: What kind of answer is that?
2: Aren’t I free to say what I want in this country???
1: What country are we in, anyway?

And so on. I think it would work best for older kids, or adults. But
even when my brother and I tried it, just he and I with my nieces
listening along, it just didn’t ever really take off.

So I hope you can try out some of these games and help make a long and
potentially hectic trip go by fast and make some great memories along
the way. And if you’re ever in Memphis, make sure to at least drive by
Graceland and check out the Lorraine Motel (if you have time, also add
going into the home of Elvis, and into the National Civil Rights
Museum next to the Lorraine Motel).

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-Out of the Wilderness

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