By Michael Phelan
Published: Thursday, January 20, 2022
“Are we there yet?” It’s a question every parent can expect to hear more than a few times on a long, or even short road trip.
With hours, or even days, to pass before you arrive at your destination – how do you keep boredom at bay? We have the answer.
Go retro and try livening up your next family drive with these family-friendly games suitable for kids of all ages.
1. My Bug!
This game works best in populated areas. The format is simple: see a Volkswagen in traffic and shout “My Bug!”
The person who spots the most VW Beetles or Kombis wins (just make sure you claim them before anyone else).
2. Road trip car-aoke
In the words of John Farnham, “You’re the voice!” Do you know the lyrics to your favourite song, or do you just make them up? Find out in this road trip singing competition.
Compile a playlist of catchy tunes. The front passenger is then tasked with pressing play and randomly hitting stop. The ‘contestant’ must belt out the next line word for word. Nail it to keep singing. Fluff a line and hand the hairbrush mic to the next superstar.
How long can you stay quiet? It isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re sharing a tight space with a bunch of people (maybe even pets) or if you’re a motormouth.
The person who keeps their lips sealed for the longest period wins. No time limit. Parents have a distinct advantage if the kids are arguing in the back seat. Then again, maybe not.
4. Car bingo
This one requires a little homework.
Before hitting the road, make a bingo card jam-packed with objects and animals you might see during your journey. For example, if you’re travelling through the outback, you might include kangaroos, lizards and snakes – yikes!
Then it’s just like any old game of bingo. Cross off items as you see them until you have them all, then shout, “bingo!”
5. Cow poker
This isn’t a card game – it’s a counting game.
Divide the car into teams, each taking a side (left or right), and count how many cows you see on your side of the road. The team that sees the most cows wins the game.
Take the game to the next level by including other animals or objects. You could even include a points system to make it more interesting. Our handy scorecard below might be helpful.
6. I Spy
“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…”
No road trip is complete without this classic.
You know the drill: spot something around you, then sit back and relax while everyone racks their brain trying to work out what you’ve spied. Clues are optional. Degrees of difficulty vary, with some picking the obvious items, while others can be a bit more abstract.
7. 20 Questions
This is another classic road trip game. One person picks something at random while everyone else grills them with up to 20 questions. It could be anything, so be creative.
Can the car sleuths solve the mystery? If your powers of deduction crack the case without asking more than 20 questions, you pick the next object. But, if the trail goes cold, the champ carries on.
8. Big things
Okay, we’re cheating here because this one isn’t a game, but Australia is famous for its oversized objects, and it’s always good to take a break during long road trips.
Stop and take a photo at any of the big tourist attractions dotted around our beautiful Australian landscape. There’s the Big Lobster, Big Rocking Horse, Big Hills Hoist and Big Galah, to name a few. Trust me, you won’t miss them.
9. Story time
Everyone loves a good story, so why not create your own?
This tale is told one person, one sentence at a time until you get to ‘the end’. Who knows where your imagination will take you? Time travel, strange planets and fantastic creatures could make an appearance – it’s up to you. Record the story on a device and play it back to hear your crazy tale.