Games

Headed out on an RV vacation? Let the fun begin as soon as you pull out of the driveway. We’ve pulled together some of the most popular time-tested games that have entertained generations, and odds are your kids will love them, too. 

Alphabet Game

The objective is to find words outside the vehicle and NOT on any other vehicle that begin with the letters of the alphabet, starting with the letter “A.” Once a player calls out an object they see with the letter “A,” they move on to the letter “B.”

The other players continue to look for items that begin with the letter “A.” You cannot use the same word that another player has used for a particular letter. For the letter “X,” an “ex” word can be used, such as “exit” or “exhaust.” However, if “exit” was used for the “e” word, it cannot be used for the “X” word. The first player to reach the letter “Z” wins the game.

Mom and/or Dad may need to act as referee if more than one player sees and says the word at the same time. The one who calls out the word first gets the word.

Animal Game

Each player thinks of an animal. Other players then take turns asking simple questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” For example: Is it a reptile? Does it have four legs? Can it be a pet? Guessing continues until either the animal is identified or everyone gives up.

It is then the next person’s turn to think of an animal. There is no scoring and no winner need be identified. This game helps kids use logic to solve problems.

Are We There Yet?

A map-based game that is not only a fun way for the kids to pass the time, but also educational as they can learn to read a map, learn about mileage and learn to keep a lookout for the road signs necessary to find on a trip.

  • A map of the territory you will be covering on your trip. Take it to somewhere like Kinko’s or Mailboxes Etc. and photocopy it in black and white.
  • A folder to hold the map and keep it neat.
  • Light-colored crayons, colored pencils, markers.

Mark the starting point and ending point for the day on the map. During the trip, the kids can color the map with light colors only so that they can still see the words through the colors. They can only ask you, “Where are we now?” That way they can look at their own map and keep track of where you are on the trip. Only YOU can ask THEM the question, “Are we there yet?”

Bury Your Horses

Everyone in the vehicle watches for horses and cemeteries. The first person to see a horse claims that horse and gets to add it to their count. The first person to see a cemetery shouts out “Bury Your Horses!” and everyone else but the shouter’s horse count goes back to zero. Repeat. The first one who counts 50 horses wins!

Car Color

Everyone in the vehicle names the color of the next car they will see in oncoming traffic. No two players can select the same color at the same time. Whoever gets the most right wins. To mix it up, instead of color, you can use vehicle type: Jeep, pickup, minivan, 18 wheeler, etc.

Car Color (variation)

Everyone should have a pad or sheet of paper and a pencil. To begin, everyone chooses one car color and each person playing should have a different color. Set a time limit, say 10 minutes or half an hour. Now keep your eyes open for cars that are your color and put tally marks on your pad.

At the end of the time, the one with the most tally marks is the winner. You might want to write down the color you are looking for on the top of your page. For younger children, take a crayon and color on the top of the page to help them remember what they are looking for. When the game is over, take a short break and do it again.

After you have played the game once, everyone switches colors and plays again for the same time. Continue until everyone has had a chance to look for each different color. Another variation is for everyone to look for a specific kind of vehicle, such as truck, camper, SUV, car, 18 wheeler, etc. The choices will depend on the age of the children playing. At the end of the time limit, see which kind of vehicle was seen the most.

Comic Strip Game

Prior to your trip, Mom or Dad can cut up a cartoon strip into individual squares. Then, mix up the squares and place them in an envelope or paper clip them together. On the road, kids will have fun trying to put the squares back in their original order by taping or gluing the strips onto a sheet of paper.

For a challenge, cut up two or more comic strips for the kids to put back together.

Commercial Game

Players take turns thinking of a commercial slogan or jingle, such as “Find your AWAY” for Go RVing or “Double your pleasure, double your fun” for Doublemint Gum. The other players take turns guessing what the product is. Players can assign points for each winning guess. The first player to earn a certain number of points, such as 10, wins.

Cows in the Cemetery Game

Each person (or team, if there are four or more players) is assigned the right or left windows of the vehicle. Each person (or team) counts the number of cows they see out “their” side. Cows are counted until the trip is completed.

The catch? If a cemetery is spotted on “their” side of the road, “their” cows must be “buried,” and they begin counting cows again, starting from zero. The side with the most cows at the end of the trip wins. If you are traveling in an area without cows, the game could be played with other objects, such as mailboxes.

Dictionary Memory

One person picks a letter out of the alphabet. Starting with the next person in line, that person says a word that comes to mind beginning with the letter that was chosen. The game continues on to each person, and a time limit is set for trying to remember a word. Eventually each person is eliminated.

Goin’ On A Trip

Take turns going around the group. First player says, “I’m going on a trip and I’m going to take a(n) (object beginning with letter “A”).” The second player repeats the phrase including the first item and adds an item beginning with the letter “B.” Play continues through group until last turn, which names 26 items “A” through “Z.”

Grandma’s Cat

First player says, “Grandma’s cat is ____,” finishing the sentence with a one-word description starting with letter “A” (like “adorable”). Second player must use letter “B” (like “black”), and so on. Great vocabulary builder, and older kids like it, too.

Grocery Store Game

First person starts with letter “A” by saying, “I went to the grocery store today and bought some apples.” Second person has to repeat from letter “A,” “I went to the grocery store today and bought some apples and bread.” Continue on with as many people as you want, going all the way through the alphabet.

The first person to make a mistake is out, and then you keep going with the remaining players until you have a winner. The best is when you buy items other than groceries.

License Plate Challenge

Players look out the windows while on the highway and search for different license plates (plates of other states/provinces). Begin by saying what state or province that plate is from (in the beginning, it can be any plate), and the players then have to find a license plate beginning with the last letter of the first plate.

For example, if a player finds a Vermont plate, they must find a license plate beginning with the letter “T” (for example, Tennessee, Texas, etc.). Game stops when player(s) can’t find a state/province with that plate or when player(s) give up.

For states or provinces with two or more words (like New York), search for a plate beginning with “K” (e.g., Kansas). Game can also be played the same way with anything else (e.g., car makes/models, animals, guessing cities, etc.).

List Game

Each person or team needs a list of 10 to 15 things that you may see while driving (can be made ahead of time). Each list is different (for example, police car, wishing well, airplane, weeping willow tree, white cat, church steeple, riding lawn mower, no exit sign, golf course and pizza shop). The first one who gets everything on their list wins.

You can vary the difficulty of the lists depending on the ages playing. We find all ages enjoy this game. It can stretch over several days sometimes, depending on the length and difficulty of the lists.

Memory Game

This game can be played by any number of players, but the level of difficulty increases with the number of players. Players choose a category, such as sports. The first player names a sport, such as baseball. The next player then repeats that sport and adds another sport, such as football. The game continues until a player fails to name one of the items in the correct order. New categories can be chosen and the game can begin again.

Name Game

Players first decide on a category of names, such as TV or movie stars, musicians, athletes, etc. One player begins by naming someone in that category, such as Michael Jordan. The next player then names someone beginning with the same letter as the last name of Jordan, such as Joe Montana. Players take turns until someone gives up. The game can begin again with a different category.

If you are playing with more than two players, you can add this challenge. If Player 1 says “Daffy Duck” and Player 2 says “Donald Duck,” it is Player 1’s turn again rather than Player 3’s turn. This is because Player 2 named someone whose first and last names had the same initials as Player 1.

Pack Your Bags

This game requires 2-10 players. As you go around the circle, have each player name an item that starts with that person’s name (if the player’s name is Paul, he could bring the pots and pans). Or to make the game more challenging, have the item rhyme with the player’s name.

Padital (ˈpə-di dəl)

Padital is a fun game that is best played on the road at night. Have at least two players watching traffic in either direction. When you see a car with only one headlight, say “Padital” and tap the roof of whatever you are riding in. A car or truck with a “Padital” is worth 1 point, a bus is worth 5 points, an 18-wheeler is worth 10 and a police car automatically wins the game.

The game is usually played to 25, but it can go on for however long you want. Remember to have fun while playing.

Picture Game

One player draws a picture or shape on a piece of paper, but does not show it to the other players. He or she then describes the picture, one element at a time. For example, “one vertical line on the left side of the page.” Then, “a half circle across the top of the page,” etc. The player who comes closest to drawing the picture correctly gets a chance to draw a picture or shape, and the game starts over again.

Popcorn Counting

A wonderfully simple, challenging and addictive game that requires 3 people minimum, but is best with 4+ players. One person starts the game by counting the number “one” out loud. Someone else has to follow that with “two,” and so on. The idea is for anyone to jump in and count the next number (there is no such thing as turns).

The catch is that if two (or more!) people speak at the same time, everything starts back over at “one.” See how high you can count, or try to beat your own record! Setting up patterns or signals about who is going to say the next number is off-limits. The more people playing, the more challenging (and fun) it is!

Rainy Day Easter Egg Hunt

Just because it rains or is too cold to go outside on your Easter camping trip doesn’t mean you can’t have the fun of an Easter Egg Hunt! This is an easy and fun way to have a hunt inside the RV, despite the weather. Cut out egg shapes from colored paper. The eggs can be hidden nearly anywhere – tape them to the back of cupboard doors, poking out between folded clothing, even on the ceiling!

Each egg could be “worth” a certain prize, which is written on the egg, such as “chocolate bar” or “peanut butter egg.” Different shapes can be used for different seasons, such as gingerbread men at Christmas or stars on Independence Day. Eggs can also be colorfully decorated with markers, glitter, etc. Be sure to let them dry before using them.

Reading License Plate Game

Observe license plates on other vehicles and “read” what they “say.” For example, the plate “007-BVD” could be read as “James Bond’s underwear.” (And, yes, we have seen this one!) Vowels may be added to make up words. For example, the plate “001-RVR” could be read as “Number one RVer.”

Sweet or Sour

Everyone in the car/RV waves at another person in another car. They must smile and wave at the person for 15 seconds. If that person smiles back, they are “sweet.” If they don’t, they are “sour.” Whoever has the most “sweet” or “sour” people wins!

Every time you get a “sweet” person, you can eat something sweet, like an M&M, and every time you get a “sour” person, you eat something sour, like a Sweetart!

Travel Bingo

You’ll need a pencil and a sheet of paper for each player with the name of states randomly marked in rows five across and five down like a bingo card. Each card should be marked differently and can be prepared ahead of time by a family member. Each player has his or her own bingo card to work from and searches for vehicles with the states on their card.

First person to get a row calls bingo. More games can continue by erasing the boxes covered, and four corners, the letter “L” or “T,” or blackout can be played, as in regular bingo games. Road symbols can be used instead of license plates (stop sign, railroad crossing, school zone, pedestrian crossing, etc.).

Treasure Map Game

Prior to your trip, Mom or Dad prepares a treasure hunt on an old or unused map. Begin with one place as “Start.” Determine where “Finish” will be and write it down separately. Describe points along the way, such as “go north at park,” “turn right at bridge,” then “take Chester Street,” etc. When the kids think they know the “Finish” destination, have them circle it on the map.

Then see if they are correct. If there is more than one player, the kids can make up treasure maps for each other.

Word Game

The first person says a word that starts with the letter “A,” like “apple.” The next player will then have to say a word that starts with the last letter of that word, which in this case would be “E,” so they could say “elevator.” This keeps going until someone gives up.