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Mind flex: Banish the boredom

You’re only a few hours (or minutes) into your trip when you first hear the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” Here are 10 games you can play as a family to curb boredom and bond with your loved ones.

1. License plate game

An oldie but a goodie, the license plate game is a simple yet fun way to pass the time, especially on a road trip. Everyone keeps an eye out for license plates from different states or countries, and each time a new plate is spotted, the spotter gets the point. Create a scorecard or use a smartphone app to help you identify and keep track of the license plates you see. 

2. I Spy

Another classic game, I Spy, is sure to get the entire family involved. One person finds an object within sight and says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and includes the color, shape, etc. Family members take turns guessing the object until someone guesses correctly. The winner gets to be the next spy. 

3. Would you rather

Take turns asking family members “Would you rather” questions, which present two challenging options. An example would be, “Would you rather have butterfly wings or a unicorn horn?” Discuss your choices and the reasons behind them. It’s a great way to get to know your family members (or co-road trippers) better. 

4. 20 questions

In this game, one person thinks of an object, person or place, and the rest of the family takes turns asking yes-or-no questions to help them guess what it is. The goal is to figure out the item by asking 20 or fewer questions. If no one can guess the correct item, then the answerer wins the round. If one of the questioners guesses correctly, they get to be the next answerer.

5. Animal name game

The first person names an animal, such as “giraffe.” The next person has to name an animal that starts with the last letter of the previous animal, like “elephant.” Keep taking turns until someone can’t think of a new animal within a few seconds.

6. Name That Tune

This game may take a little preplanning. Compile a playlist of songs or have someone hum or sing the first few bars of a song. Whoever can guess the name of the song (or the artist) first wins. 

7. Mad Libs

Concoct funny stories by using Mad Libs. You can print collections prior to your trip or use the Mad Libs app on your smart device. One player acts as the “reader” and asks other players to fill in the blanks of a story with adjectives, nouns, colors, exclamations and more. You’re all sure to laugh at the results of your created story. 

8. Road trip Bingo

Print—or create your own—Bingo cards for your next trip. Outside of the free space, the rest of the board can be filled with common items you would see while traveling, such as airplanes, taxis, stop signs, cornfields, gas stations…anything to do with travel. Come up with fun prizes for the winner, such as choosing the next meal or getting their favorite candy from the vending machine at the rest stop. 

9. Memory game

This game has someone start with a simple sentence like “I’m going on a trip, and I’m bringing….” The first person lists an item that begins with the letter A; the next person repeats the sentence and adds a new item starting with B, and this continues until you run out of letters or someone forgets an item. 

10. Celebrity name game

Similar to the animal name game, one person starts by saying the name of a famous person (e.g., Tom Hanks). The next person must then name a celebrity whose first name begins with the last letter of the previous person’s name (e.g., Salma Hayek). Everyone continues listing celebrities until they can’t name a celebrity in a few seconds. 

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