Being in a car for many hours on a road trip can be challenging for all family members.  My goal for this particular road trip was to engage my teenage sons so that they wouldn’t be tied to their electronic games, watching movies and texting. Before our trip I printed up several activities and put them in a binder that easily slipped between my seat and the center console. And I made sure to have extra pencils on hand!!

First One: My boys love cars!  I had them each make a list of about 20 cars.  I had them include dream cars and ordinary cars.  (They didn’t know why I was doing this)  Then I did image searches for their cars and quickly copied and pasted them into rows onto a blank Photoshop document.  There are so many “car bingo” games you can print up out there on Google images.  I wanted to really personalize this one.  For instance I had to include an El Camino because in our family we just laugh at them a lot!  And I had to add a smart car because my boys loathe them. I told the boys that for every bingo they got they would get a prize.  The rules were very loose as we all knew they were never going to see a Bugatti Veyron. They completely forgot about asking for a prize in the end because they had so much fun looking for cars. (Notice my Photoshop skills were lacking.  I really just copied, pasted, dragged, dropped and made it just good enough.  Feel free to copy them for your own road trip!!)

Cars bingo

carsbingoSecond One:  I printed up a bunch of tongue twisters that I pulled out at random times on our trip.  We often had car swaps with cousins and so it was fun to goof around with tongue twisters of all ages. There is a free kindle book of kids tongue twisters you can download if you don’t want to print them.

Third (the biggest hit):  I printed up a license plate bingo card for each kid. Copied below from: Iheartorganizing.blogspot Since we were going through National Parks I knew this would be fun!!!  My boys went crazy with this one!! Especially because I told them the prize would be a punch card for summer ICEEs, Slurpees or one of those drinks that they love!!!  I told them they had to get at least 35 different license plates and I let them replace Canada and Government plates for hard to find states.  During our trip we went to four National Parks.  I admit we didn’t see many cars in Death Valley, haha, and Yosemite was a quick drive through for us on our way home. but we saw so many different plates in Zion’s National Park and Grand Canyon!  My sons kept asking if we could just drive around the parking lots.  And whenever we were standing around the car they would jog around the lot to hopefully catch site of new plates.  It was so much fun to see them get excited about it.  We all worked together and were able to bond over something kind of silly and so simple.

My favorite memory from this game was that my son said, “Mom!  We are never going to see a Hawaii license plate!”
But the morning we woke up in our camp site at The Grand Canyon, we saw a Hawaii license plate on the car at the camp site next to us.  My husband actually went over and thanked them for helping us out on our game. haha.

license plate bingoHere is my 14-year-old son proudly displaying his license plate game paper.  Notice how it’s creased and a little wrinkly!!! That proves how excited he was about this game.  He kept it in his pocket.

lisenceplateAnd here is the punch card I put together today in Photoshop.  I wanted to print it up on something legit since we had so much fun finding the license plates together and I know they are excited about this prize.  I found that you can order small quantities of magnetic business cards at Vista Print so I splurged a little (about $11 for 25 cards – shipping included) to get the image printed on magnetic cards.  Hey, we’ll have some for next summer already!! I’m hoping that a paper punch can punch through the magnet.  I’m not too scared.

iceeI found another bingo printout at Iheartorganizing.blogspot for my younger daughter.  This was a hit, too, and I printed up extras to have along for cousins who joined us off and on for parts of our drive.

car trip bingoFourth:  I found a site where you can make personalized crossword puzzles (Like this one) I made a cross word puzzle that included all the places we would be going on our trip and all the cousins, aunts and uncles we would see. Again, I made extras for the cousins and I made one for myself ’cause I just like word games!!

Fifth:  A silly game we played with all ages including grandparents.  You don’t need a print out for this one. We started with the letter “A.” The first person said, “I’m going on a trip to the desert (because we were driving in the desert on a dirt road at the time) and I’m taking a “_________” (something that starts with A).  The next person says, “I’m going on a trip to the desert and I’m taking “_____.” They repeat the letter A thing that the first person said and then they add their own thing that starts with the letter B.  You continue on this way until you make it all the way through the alphabet.  Grandpa actually liked this game the best!!!

The possibilities are endless for a fun, family bonding, road trip!!!  It was our very best yet and I’m looking forward to our trip next month.  There were so many ideas from this site and more that we didn’t even get to do!!


  1. SO much fun!!! I’m actually taking pictures and making up a post of what I’m doing for my cross country road trip move! I don’t want my boys watching movies the whole way. I have some pages printed off for them and some fun little games for them to unwrap in the car! great minds think alike :) Fun to see you put something like this together too. It’s been high on my priority list right behind . . . packing.

  2. Beth

    Heather I look forward to seeing your ideas too!!! How fun. It really was the funnest road trip I can remember. The perfect balance of quiet and fun time :)

  3. Edith

    sounds like a lot of fun. I think my boys would love the license plate bingo if I actually made up the card for it.

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