If one of the reasons you decided to RV was to see beautiful countryside, you probably have no problem looking out your window as mile after mile passes. However, if the view gets monotonous (or if you’re traveling with children), try one or more of these old favorite road trip games and their fun variations to keep you looking out the window.
Reading and ‘Rithmetic
Looking for the ABC’s is an age-old game, but you can put a twist on it with these variations.
- The most basic way to play this game is for each person to find all 26 letters of the alphabet, on their own and in order. In other words, you cannot find a “b” until you’ve found an “a”. Letters must be found outside of the RV on things like billboards, stores or other vehicles. The first one to get to the letter “z” is the winner.
- For “group” play, find the alphabet together. Whoever finds the letter that is next just calls it out. Your car will sound like a preschool classroom – “A”, “B”, “C”. If you’re a competitive group, time yourselves to see how fast you can find the whole alphabet. Then do it again (and again) to see if you can beat your collective time.*Hint: If younger children seem to get stumped on letters like Q, X & Z, point out places where they can often be found while on the road. For example, tractor trailers often have “Air-ride equipped” written on the side for “Q.” Finding an exit sign on the highway will give you an “x” and looking for a pizza shop finishes the last of the 26 letters!
- Look for the letters in all capital or in all lowercase. This increases the difficulty. If you really want to get complicated, alternate between the two. For instance, “A”, “b”, “C”, “d”.
- Make a stipulation that you can only find one letter on one sign. This means only using the “L” instead of “L, M, N, O and P” on a sign with the word “MONOPOLY.”
- For another degree of difficulty, decide that the letters must be found at the beginning of a word. However, be willing to make an exception for harder letters like Q, X & Z, unless you’re driving by a quilt museum, xylophone factory or a zoo! You might ask children to write their words down on a clipboard as proof of their hunt.
- For younger players who are just learning the ABC’s, give them a clipboard with the letters already printed on a piece of paper. As they find them, they can cross them off. To make it even easier, skip the requirement to find them in order and just celebrate when all 26 are found!
- Mix it up! If your RV is filled with various ages, or one person is always winning, give him/her one of the harder tasks listed while giving the other player(s) a simpler one.
- Numbers might be feeling left out in this game, so why not look for them instead? Decide ahead of time if you will allow the number “6″ to be found in a number like “19609″ or if it has to be simply 6, like Highway “6.” Since technically this game could go on forever, choose a target number (might just be 10 if you’re looking for single digits) or decide to play for a set amount of time (who can get the highest in ten minutes of play).
Make a list of things to find while you’re on the road in your RV. For younger players, you might make this list with pictures instead of words (or pictures and words). Invest in a clipboard or binder for each participant or you’ll have papers all over the RV!
Make a very generic list (sign, restaurant, animal, car, truck, etc) or a more specific list with some of the ideas below.
Another option is to add colors to your list (red car, blue truck, yellow sign).
For a third variation, make a topical list, particularly if a participant has a special interest. For the car lover, make your list with all makes of cars: Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Lexus, etc. For the animal lover, make a list of animals, both domestic and exotic — you never know what might be traveling on the road! Another list might include all 50 states’ license plates.
An additional alternative is to play “by the numbers.” Choose one item from the list and set a time or number constraint. For example: 1) time how long it takes to find 15 red cars, or 2) find out how many red cars you can see in 10 minutes, or 3) compete for who can find 15 red cars first.
There are several different ways to keep track of what has been found. Of course, the item could simply be crossed off, but you could also keep a tally mark for less common items (I wouldn’t recommend this for speed limit signs!). Younger children might like covering the picture with a simple sticker.
Laminating the sheet or putting the sheet in a page protector and using a fine-tipped white board marker to cross off or tally means the sheets can be used again and again. You can easily store these in a Magazine Rack.
As an additional activity, you could start with a new sheet every day. After a few days, you could compare the lists. This might be easier for younger children if they graphed the items. Then ask questions like “On what day did we find the most graveyards?” or “Did we find more [insert company name] tractor trailers or more sheep?” or “Was there anything which had the same number of items counted?”
*Hint: Keep in mind where you’re traveling when making the list. For instance, you might not find a cow if you’re driving through New York City and a Lamborghini on a path through Yellowstone is unlikely. Though adding something like this to your list could be a bonus!
- Sign for your destination
- “An RV just like ours (or at least the same make!)”
- Stores/restaurants (specific examples: Walmart, McDonald’s, etc)
- Animals (specific examples: horses, cows, sheep, dogs in cars, alpacas, giraffes, etc)
- Company vehicles (specific examples: UPS truck, Fed-Ex trailer, etc)
- Airplanes, boats, school buses, helicopters, police cars
- Construction cones, barrels or signs
- Road Signs, especially less common ones (specific examples: Yield, U-Turn, Deer Crossing, Dead End)
- Plants (specific examples: Tree (even more specific: Weeping Willow, Oak, etc) or Flowers (Traveling through Texas in April? Look for bluebonnets!)
- Letters (“x”, “q”, “z”), letter combinations (“ph”, “st”, “bl”), numbers (“4″, “10″, “35″) or Words (“limit”, “exit”, “road”)
Using any of the items from the scavenger hunt list, make BINGO cards and play BINGO.
Like the scavenger hunt, the cards could be made with words or pictures. The cards could have a mix of items or be topical and they could include color words to be more specific.
While these cards could be laminated or used in a page protector with a white board marker, they could also be placed on a small cookie sheet or pizza pan (find them at a dollar store or thrift shop to keep your cost low) and magnets could be used as markers. This is another way to ensure the cards can be used again and again.
To get players more involved, give a list of possible items and have them create personalized cards. This takes some of the prep work and gives it to the players. If one player is consistently making an “easy” card, have players switch cards after the cards are made.
Make your RV Travel Time Fly By
Any of these games can be played as a group or individually. They can be used to pass the time or as an incentive for a future goal (e.g. find everything on your scavenger list and it will be snack time or stretch time.). They can be played in collaboration or competition (Just make sure every player agrees to the rules before you start) or simply just for fun. You might not have a problem looking out the window; after all, you chose to RV. But having options for moments of restlessness or boredom will keep the RV joyfully rolling along!
Be sure to check out our other RV Living Accessories, to make your RV trips more fun.