Parents heading out on a road trip with their kids might be wondering how to entertain everyone in the car for an extended period. It's a valid concern!
Corinne McDermott, founder of the family travel website Have Baby Will Travel, recommends car games for kids.
A car game is any activity you can do individually, or as a group to pass the time on long drives.
"It’s great to have a few up your sleeve to turn to as screen alternatives," McDermott told TODAY Parents.
Kid games in the car
McDermott shared the top car games that kids can play on their own:
"Look for" games
"We stay on the lookout for clouds that are shaped like things or deciphering vanity license plates," McDermott said. "If we’re listening to music or a podcast or an audiobook, we still keep one eye on the sky or on traffic to share our findings."
"It keeps their hands and brain busy without the use of a screen," McDermott said. "The same goes for other 'fidgety' toys like Rubiks cubes or classic fidget spinners."
"I am not a fan of '99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,' but I am a big fan of singing along to the radio," McDermott told TODAY. "Create a special road trip playlist or find a channel that plays slightly older popular music and see your kids transform into mini pop stars right before your eyes."
"Older kids can learn single-player card games like Solitaire and there’s even a solo Chess set with instructions on how to play without a partner," McDermott said.
Car games for kids and parents
McDermott said that as a parent, it is important to her to stay engaged with her kids while on the road and for them to feel that road trips are actually fun.
"Travel alone can be stressful before adding kids to the mix, so if we can find ways to enjoy the journey together then maybe we won’t dread the drive so much," she said.
For parents wanting to join in the fun, McDermott recommended two classics.
"You can’t go wrong with a classic 'I Spy' and we love a version of 'Who Am I?' that we’ve customized to be solely Disney characters so the options aren’t too vast," the travel expert and mom of two said. "Usually we give five statements about the character before revealing who it is but you can jump in with a guess at any time."
"I can’t help it, I love a good Punch Buggy, but I had to find ways to tame it a bit since my kids were at risk of knocking each other out," McDermott said. "We came up with 'Hug Bug' instead, so if you see a VW Beatle, you have to hug your fellow passenger(s) instead."
Tips for parents on road trips
McDermott told TODAY Parents that it is important to find games and activities to pass the time that aren’t screen-based, since motion sickness can "really kick in if you’re engrossed in a screen."
"However, shows and movies are easier, especially if your car has an entertainment system, or you have a tablet mount that keeps passengers’ eyes from being stuck downwards," she said. "Also, it’s really important to find things that won’t annoy the driver by being loud and annoying."