The classics are classics for a reason: Kids love them. Kids live in a world of opposites—all too happily we might add. For one, they are little crazy convo generators that make us shake
with laughter. You simply can’t predict them. Well, unless you can. Because, two, they are also brutal masters of mindless, completely predictable repetition. And as you enter your RV (with all those road hours ahead of you), you may not be sure which fork in the road they’re going to take. There is one thing you can do though to take control of the situation: Hand them your phone. Oh, we got you! (Just kidding around here.) But seriously, the best device-free thing to do is play a road game. No need to reinvent the wheel here. These classics have been around for a long time for a reason— they fuel interactive, family fun with your kids so you can enjoy more wild hilarity and hear a lot less, “Are we there yet?”
One of the best things about “I Spy” is that it’s easy (you don’t have to burn too many neurons on this one) and anyone can participate (if your child can talk, they can play). At its core, it is a game about observation and description. Which means that you can even use it to introduce new vocab (with the bonus being that they think—correctly—that you’re super smart). The older and more advanced your kids are, the more adjectives you can work in.
License Plate Game
There are lots of versions of this game (so don’t get upset if we didn’t pick yours), but the one we like best goes like this: Everyone in the car is on a team, and we’re trying to spot a license plate from every state. This game is a particularly good slow burn. It will start fast (as you rapidly identify nearby states), but it can continue for days (or even the entirety of the trip). You will also need an official state recorder (whom you can also cruelly quiz about capitals).
You can play the license plate game almost the second you pull out of the drive. And “I Spy” works the first few times you play but doesn’t do well with overuse. Which means you wanna keep a few printed Mad Libs in reserve (or even add in the fun of letting the kids run into Walmart or a gas station to grab a book during a rest stop). What makes Mad Libs timeless good fun is that it allows your kids to put their absurd twist on perfectly unsuspecting sentences.
This is the king of road games for kids who love to draw (and parents who like quiet). The rules are simple. Turn a sheet of paper into a giant tic-tac-toe then let the first player draw a simple squiggle line in one of the squares. (A “simple” line doesn’t include 15 loops.) The second player then takes the sheet and has to turn the first player’s squiggle into a drawing. On completion, the
roles switch and when the paper is full, Mom (aka the judge) declares a winner.