Top 24 Travel Games For The Campervan
We all have memories of long road trips when we were kids, having to put up with our parents' choice of music and staring out the window for hours waiting for the next toilet stop. Thankfully there have been improvements since those days, when all we had was a few sheets of paper, notebooks and the faithful Walkman. However, nothing beats old fashioned preparation. We would recommend not going anywhere without a pencil case, paper, and snacks to overcome back seat mayhem. Keeping the kids (and adults) entertained is still one of the keys to a successful trip. If you have a list of games you can play, especially if you are planning a campervan hire driving holiday that includes lengthy road trips, you will be a step ahead when the inevitable whining and "are we there yet?" questions begin.
Below is a list of our favourite travel games and activities that are easy to explain, as short or as long as you want them to be, and no doubt will become topics of conversation years down the track.
1. I Spy
A game of I Spy is important any lengthy road trip! This game can go on and on until a parent has had enough of guessing an abstract object that you passed ten minutes ago. If you are clever, it will keep the kids entertained for a good amount of time. For those who were deprived of this great Aussie travel game, just say, 'I spy with my little eye, something beginning with...letter of the alphabet' and those in the car will have to look around and guess the object. You can make rules as you go, like only outside the campervan or not guessing the same object twice.
2. Who am I?
It's simple enough. You think of someone famous, everyone asks you questions, one at a time and can only answer yes or no. To vary it a little you can move to only cartoon characters, movie stars or someone who's not even famous at all. It just helps if everyone knows who it is. Whoever guesses the correct answer gets the next go. You can also guess animals, or objects, and change the question to 'What am I?'
3. Scavenger Hunt Bingo
Get the kids to prepare these cards before the trip begins. This will add to the fun of playing. Draw or simply write the name of items such as a red car, a stop sign, a windmill, then hand out five cards each during the trip. As soon as the item is spotted, you move on to the next one. The first to finish their five cards wins. You can vary this game by just spotting types or colours of cars, or more or less cards per game played.
This is always a fun game to play, with paper and pencil being all you need. Someone calls out a street name (preferably longer than four letters) and everyone has two minutes to write as many words as they can using the letters of that street name. After the time is up, everyone adds up their scores to find the winner. To score, you get two points for every word but only one point if the word was used by someone else. It's so much fun you will want to keep playing every time you see a lengthy street name.
5. The Alphabet Game
Everyone has to find words beginning with letters of the alphabet, beginning at A and ending at Z. The words can be on street or shop signs, and whoever spots it first must claim it so the others know it's been taken. First to get to Z wins.
This game is very easy to play but needs to be prepared before you leave on your holiday. Just draw up grids for each person (apart from the driver) with objects on the squares that you would normally see on a long trip, i.e. tractor, sheep, stop sign etc. Use stickers to cover the square when the object has been spotted. It won't be long before someone will be able to shout BINGO.
A designated person starts by saying an animal of their choice, i.e. PIG. Then the next would have to say an animal starting with the last letter of that animal, i.e. GOAT. The next would have to start with the letter T. It goes on until someone can't think of an animal and they are out. There are a number of variations of this game. You can start the same way, but you have to repeat the animals that have already been called out, i.e. PIG, GOAT, TIGER etc. Whoever forgets an animal is out of the game. You can also play this game using different categories other than animals, for example, famous people or girls' names.
8. Game Bags
Every child (even teenagers) loves to have a special bag with surprises in it. This is a great idea if you have the time before the trip begins. Just fill it up with a new pack of pencils, small colouring book, small chocolate bar or lollipop, small games, torch, sketch pad ... just use your imagination and choose your time carefully when you hand it out as it will be received well especially if they are bored and starting to fight. A variation of this can be a game of Pass-the-Parcel, with surprises in every layer unwrapped.
9. Licence Plates
This is lots of fun for the imaginative. Every licence plate that you are driving behind has three letters. Every passenger has to think up a different meaning of the three letters. There are so many combinations that you could keep going for a while, until someone gets really tired of thinking. This is one of those travel games that start and stop when you least expect it. It's fun trying to beat each other to think up the meanings, as some of them can be tricky, especially the V's and Q's. This isn't for the littlies, of course.
10. Hang Man
Just make a number of lines for each letter of a word or words of your choice. Then a designated passenger has to guess the letter which corresponds to your word. If they are wrong, you start drawing the hang man. This drawing consists of a straight vertical line, followed by a line to the right, then a hang man's noose and a stick man figure. The aim is to guess the word before the last leg is drawn.
11. Dictionary Game
This is another word game, but it's the perfect time when there are no other distractions except the passing scenery. Just pick out an unusual word from the dictionary, and everyone has to write out their own definition. All the definitions are read out, and everyone has to guess which is correct. The results are funny as wrong meanings are guessed, and the actual definition is finally read out. Again, this is not a game you would play with little ones.
Don't forget to bring a pack of cards when you are travelling. Snap is an easy one for the whole family, but might be worth bringing a travel table for games such as this.
Everyone knows how to play scrabble. Look around for a magnetic travel scrabble version, which will be a worthwhile investment in family fun.
14. Scissors Paper Rock
People play this all around the world! It's easy to learn for little ones and a lot of fun for everyone especially when you get faster.
15. Mobile Phone Games
It's the century we're living in now, every second person has a mobile, and they all have games on them. So if your mobile is up and running why not let someone have a few contests on the games panel. These are addictive so you may need a time limit depending on how many phones are owned. Remember to pack the phone charger!
How well do you know each other? Depending on the age range of everyone in the vehicle you each take turns asking someone a question about themselves. Then, after about ten or so questions have been asked, you have to repeat as many answers as you can remember. You will learn a lot about each other, especially with questions such as, 'Where were you born?' and 'where did you go to school?' Find out who in the car has been listening as inevitably someone will remember all the questions that were asked. This is not a recommended game for older children, who can ask very pointed questions.
17. Tongue Twisters
Try out as many tongue twisters as you can, and make your own up. This is lots of fun for the whole family.
18. Art Attack
This is a great way to make the most of the passing scenery. You may discover a budding artist or two as you appreciate each other's artwork. Allocate five or ten minutes to sketch the first thing you see out of the window. It could be a simple sketch of a tree or a bridge. When the time is up everyone has to show each other their drawings. Another game is one person starts their drawing, and others have to be the first to guess what it is. Children will love the chance to become creative especially if you buy them a small sketchbook. This is ideal for any age group. Not recommended for rough roads.
Use the radio / CD player for backup as you try to remember favourite songs and their lyrics. Another great idea is to surf the local radio stations until you come up with a song you like. Every person gets to choose a song the rest of the group has to listen to. Make up your own words to the tunes. You'll find after this you will be humming the rest of the trip.
20. Memory Game
Find a number of small items around the car or next stop, for example: Band-Aid, coin, phone; and place them all on a tray or travel bench so everyone (except the driver) can memorize them. Then cover them with a towel or cloth. Everyone then has to write down as many items as they can remember. The winner is the person who has remembered the most items.
21. Travel Diary
Although it is not a game, it is an essential item if your child can write, and also for anyone who likes to record special holiday moments. Encourage them to stick in whatever they want, even entry passes or flowers. At the end of the trip, photos and pictures collected along the way are included, and you have lasting hand written travel memories.
The range of audiobooks available covers every taste and age group. You can obtain these books from your local library, and arrange to keep them for the duration of your holiday. A really good story enthrals everyone, and is a great way to break the monotony of a long car trip in areas with no radio stations.
23. Guess the Song
Turn on the radio and wait for a song to come on. First person to guess the name of the song and the artist gets a point. Make sure you pick a radio station that tells you this information AFTER the song finishes and not before! These days, our phones have aps like Shazzam that can tell you the song, so make sure no one is cheating! You could use this app to verify someone's guess though.
24. Spelling Bee
An adult picks a bunch of difficult words to spell (age relevant) and each child takes turns in guessing how the word given to them is spelt. One word for each child, one point given per word spelt correctly. A handy tip is to make sure if you are the adult, you know how to spell the words in advance!
Just remember, a lot of these games are best left to the passengers to play as the driver should always keep their eyes on the road!