LOONG Road Trip, Need Car Games or Ear Plugs....

Updated on July 26, 2010
B.J. asks from Wildomar, CA
18 answers

We're going on a 12 1/2 hour road trip Tuesday, w/o a DVD player. (My 5 kids ages infant to young teen) + my sweet lil 10 month old nephew who just HATES the car & screams at the top of his lungs when in the car, will be riding along with us to give my sister a break on the way there. I Can't afford a portable DVD player & my computers DVD holder thing isn't working, Grrr. (HELP ME!!!) LoL,

My 3 sisters will also be driving w/ us with their kids & I thought about getting walky talkys so we can play car games back & forth between our car groups. But I can't really think of any except for the 2 or 3 we played growing up that I've already exhausted with my kids this summer from drives to the beach..
SO any suggestions? We are a Christian family, so bible trivia/ any bible games that can be turned car version would be great, but we'll take ANYTHING to get us through this! LoL Don't know HOW my mom did it with the 4 of us plus our friends back in the day 2/3 times a year... LoL

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answers from Los Angeles on

Do any of you know how to sew? I am making an "I Spy Bag" for my two year old this weeeknd. It's basically a bag with a window filled with rice and toys . Go google I Spy Bag. There are tutorials and examples and they can make a fun game for all ages! (My older two have seen them and want one also!)



answers from Johnstown on

Last year was the first year we drove to Florida (an 18 hr trip) WITH a tv in the vehicle. Aside from that, all other trips we with nothing but CDs. My hubby and I are actually quite fond of Veggies. Perhaps you could do a "name that tune" and play a snipit of a song over the walkie and let the other car guess?

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answers from Los Angeles on

We never use a DVD player, in fact, we ordered our vehicle without one and everyone thinks we are crazy, but we are closer for it AND boredom IS good for kids. Being stimulated all of the time does not allow them to be comfortable with down-time.

We take TONS of road trips with our kids and did an RV trip along the Oregon Coast. Everyone survived, even our 3 month old, at the time.

We look at license plates and use the numbers and whoever adds them up first, gets a point. This is a game that doesn't last very long, so set it for 10 minutes the first go around.

Count motorcycles, then only blue big rigs, then VW bugs, or if there is something they might see along the way for your trip specifically, then count those.

Use the alphabet....start at A and the whoever sees something that starts with A first, then the next thing they see that starts with B. No points here, but just for fun.

I would rather spend money on crafts in the car rather than walkie talkies. Stop every 2 hours for 10-15 minutes and MAKE them play tag, etc. Tell them that when you stop, you need to tell someone in the other car, the coolest thing you saw on this last leg of the trip. It'll keep them watching.

Keep the snacks for the car, not the stops. Keep the stops for running and bathroom breaks.

Sit next to your nephew and keep him entertained. Keep his belly full....lots of snacks and water. Keep his diaper clean. And put more padding in those hard car seats. Honestly, we put cloth diapers between the plastic and the "padding" - and it changed the ride for my son....AND us.

There is a book called Carschooling ideas and it's FULL of stuff, so if you can find it locally, I would get it today and find what you need for car crafts.

Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time - For Kids Ages 4 to 17 [Paperback]
By:Diane Flynn Keith

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

Those that can read can play the license plate game , keep a running tally of how many from each out of state plate you see and who finds one from the state that's furthermost away. Or they can play the alphabet sign game. Have to find a sign with a word on it that starts with each letter , no skipping letters.
We made binders for each kid , with car games printed out and put in plastic sheet covers the slick ones then give the kids dry erase markers.
For the younger kids picture bingo, or count the animals , color of cars , etc. get creative.
Take a set of kid's trivia cards , are you smarter than a 5th grader , etc. You don't have to have the game board , the cards are useful w/o them.

Check out MomsMinivan.com for more ideas.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Stickers, temporary tattoos.. for the whole family. (we even did them on our grandmother once.. it was so much fun.. )
Crazy hats to put on and look and wave at the other cars with..
Night time driving, glow sticks, glow necklaces, bracelets.. again for the whole family.

Surprise snacks.. (yogurt raisins, canned Chinese noodles, Gummy frogs, dried cereal).

Mad Libs,
Joke books
Eye Spy
Rhyming words.. Someone starts and each person has to say a word that rhymes
Brain Quest cards.. I buy them at used book stores they have them on every subject.
20 Questions Ball (Target sells them)

Fill a clear water bottle with dry rice and add tiny things to it (leave about 1 inch empty on top. Seal or glue the top on it.. .. Pass it around and have different kids search for a certain hidden item.. As the turn it and shake it they will discover the items.

Word game. Say a word and the next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the word called.

Trivial pursuit cards from the children editions.
Little cars, Magna Doodle,
The quiet game. (give prizes for this game)

Finish the story.
Some one starts a story and each person has to add the next line.
"The once was a bad dog who.....
"The house was high in the tree and....
"She rode her horse out of the field onto the ....

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answers from Minneapolis on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Most of my suggestions have already been mentioned, and they don't have the Christian theme but two years ago we did a long trip and we also played I Spy, the Licence Plate Game, Hang Man. I went to second hand stores and found travel back gammon, and traveling bingo and chess/ checkers boards. I went to AAA and they had a lot of travel games there, and have this huge workbook/fun thingy. But the absolute best thing they had was Joke Books. They entertained us for HOURS with the different Jokes and then when we got our destination they put on a show with the jokes. Gotta tell you though, for my husband and I the jokes got sooo old, but I wouldn't change it because the kids got so much out of it!

Oh ya, I also brought TONS of fruit & trail mix w/ the m&m's. Lots of food...

Good Luck and enjoy!

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answers from Atlanta on

I love the license plate game! You can even get into variations where you count how many different types of plates from the same state you see (there are so many different designs now) or how many counties in a state you can get. We get our 4 year old to count how many of certain color cars he sees, play I Spy, and the name game (you start with a famous person's name and whatever the last name starts with, the next person has to come up with a famous person whose first name starts with that letter ex: Marlon Brando then Beyonce Knowles then Katherine Hepburn, etc.). I also think it's nice for you to give your sister a break, but I would trade the screaming baby off between cars. I'm also probably going to get slammed for this, but see if mom is up to giving him the proper dosage of Children's Benadryl for his age and weight. Some kids it has no effect on, but many are knocked out by it! It won't hurt him either way.

There are also these great travel cards -they're all joined together and have trivia on them for different age groups. I can't remember the name, but you can find them at bookstores and toystores -something like Kid Einstein or Trivia Genius -anyway, I bet a Christian bookstore would have something like that as well with Christian trivia.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Oh lordy...we're planning for the same thing! We've done a few short trips (like 4-6 hours) and the thing that works best for me (my kids are 2.5 and 10 months) is to just have a bag of stuff in the front seat, some new and some old favorites and every time they get fussy...give them something new. Good things are mini magnadoodles, color wonder markers, barbies, etc. My son is almost ten months and he LOVES balls! He has been throwing it against the back seat so it will bounce back to him and he can do it all over again! They have really fun, colorful, super bouncy ones at Target...get one for the baby!

My daughter also LOVED to sing toddler songs. My ears were bleeding by the time I got home (LOL!) but it kept her entertained! I also brought books that we've read so many times she knows the story and handed them to her so she could read them herself.

We did manage our short trips without the DVD player (I was determined!!) but I'm not sure what's going to happen on our long haul! Maybe you can borrow one from a friend? I think buying walkie talkies will be just about as much as a cheap DVD player, so you might do some pricing!

Good luck! It will be an adventure if nothing else! ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I never had a DVD player growing up and we did just fine in the car!

We liked travel bingo. You can buy travel bingo cards or just make your own. They have it with license plate states, things you see on the side of the road (barns, trucks, horses, etc.) or traffic signs.

I also suggest toys that don't have little pieces like Magna Doodle.

You can also get lots of coloring and activity books. Don't let the kids touch the toys until the trip so they don't get bored. Sticker books are great!

I've also heard of getting books on tape from the library. It's fun to listen to the story together. I'm sure they have good Christian stories. Try to get things that would be entertaining for the kids to listen to.

Switch the kids in the cars at the rest stops. Sometimes a change of scenery and friends keeps it interesting. Keep the same toys in the same cars. Then the kids can get new toys to play with as well.

I also suggest lap desks and card games. You can make a lap desk with a piece of cardboard and a pillow.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

we lilke to listen to books on Cd in the car, or kids music

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answers from Cleveland on

Travel games like checkers, Scrabble, chess for the older ones (or you and the oldest), hangman; coloring books; books on tape; regular books; 20 Questions; make up a story (one sentence per person; OR one person tells it until they feel like handing it off to the next, usually at a very suspenseful point); make lists using alphabet (e.g. list of flowers A-aster B-buttercup C-chrysanthemum; can use states, countries, Bible characters etc). Draw oictures with crayons pencils etc.

Sing along with CDs. Show older ones how to read the map.

Remember to take a ball or frisbee to burn off some extra energy at rest stops.

could you rent/borrow a DVD player? TV/VCR?

Ask your kids what they think would be fun to do in the car, they may have some good ideas

Have fun!

Just had a thought--could you go at night while they are asleep?

K. Z.

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answers from St. Louis on

First question I have for you is: Do the older ones read? Get lots of books/comic/chapter/for the little ones there are easy books with either very litte words or no words and they make up their own story. Any game out of the car can be turned into the car by switching to "what matches it outside while driving by". Like signs/colors of...anything, how many different licsense plates from other states can they find or how many colors or designs, etc. smaller toys are good but not the noise makers-my Dad tells us the story of his 3 yr old neice on a trip with us and she had a toy that made noise well after arond 4 hours he took it and threw it out the window because he could not stand the sound anymore-yeah he felt guilty and bought her another toy but not till they got back. Another change for the car is hide n seek but it is done by one person is it and "he" puts his hand behind his back and makes a number then the others have to guess it-this is good for a short time as the seat belt cn be uncomfortable and we know we don't take it off! So start out with it and then they will sit back much easier. You might check your local library and see if they have any equipment you can check out and while you are there ask them if they can give an extension to the time due back as you are going out of town-some places will make that adjustment/others don't. If you are doing bible trivia--why not have each can work on a play that they will show for the others when you stop at night--not a "potty stop" just not enough time while you are still driving.There are most Disney movies in print--so you might find them in books for the kids to read or someone to read to them. Do some stretching too-hands up/hands down/push your knees in and out--can be done like Simon says--hands on your head hands on your toes etc. this also breaks up the being locked in the seat all day without taking any chances. Have a good trip and stay safe!


answers from San Diego on

It looks like you have some great responses here and will be leaving soon, so I'll just add my 2 cents. If you have a newer version IPOD, you can load movies onto it and let the kids take turns watching. We hook ours up to our car radio so the sound comes through the speakers and everyone can listen.

oh, and mad libs - i still love those;)


answers from Los Angeles on

we bought our portable DVD for $100 and saw some for $60. Are you sure you can't afford it? Maybe some audio books could help.



answers from Los Angeles on

Can you leave at night so they sleep? that is my only idea



answers from San Diego on

Since you've got some older kids...maybe they could each come up with a few games to entertain the little ones. Gives the older kids something to do and helps out with the little ones. We travel by car with our two kids, age 5 and 3 from San Diego to S. Dakota every year. We are leaving for this years trip on Thursday :). I did buy a portable dvd player a few months ago because the kids and I were making an impromptu trip to Hawaii for my uncles funeral and I had never travelled by plane without hubby to help out with the kids. So we will be taking that with us. But I've got coloring books, cheap car games that I found at Marshalls, Color Wonder books and markers and a couple of small new toys for each kid. I will also have a HUGE bag of snacks in the front seat that I can hand back to the kids when they start to get antsy in the car. And these are snacks that I normally don't let them have...candy of all kinds, chips, fruit snacks, etc. Anything that isn't normally in our house. We play the find an animal game, the license plate number game, going to try travel bingo this year, Wee Sing CD's and a few other toddler type CD's. And of course I plan a lot of pit stops along the way and let the kids run free. And I mean RUN! We break the 21 hr drive trip into 3 days...about 7 hrs of drive time each day plus about 4 hrs alloted for pit stops and a 2-3 hr lunch break. Last year we just had the kid run races in an empty parking lot..and a nice surprise in Wyoming was that they had really nice play structures at each of the rest stops we went to. We also let the kids take turns listening to Daddy's Ipod. We also had
"Quiet Times". Thr running motto or joke between the hubby and I is on long trips, we carb them up and wait for the crash/nap. Usually within an hour of a meal or sugary snack, they would crash out in the car for a long nap. We also do some bible trivia...I even read straight from the bible for a few hours last year.

And don't forget the oldtime car song classics like 100 bottles of Juice on the Wall (I substituted juice for beer), Row Row Row Your Boat...actually just pick any song you want and sing it a million times. Maybe each kid can pick out a song they like?

And don't forget the all important EAR PLUGS! It's going to get LOUD in the car no matter how many kids you've got.

Do you have a neighbor or friend that could loan you their portable dvd player. We borrowed my friends last year...and we only had to use on the drive home.

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