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7 Travel-Friendly Games for Your Next Family Road Trip

Fun family games you can play in the car when "I Spy" and the license plate game get old.

Josey Miller



When your family takes its show on the road, it's not always a nonstop gas. That's why properly-prepared road trippers know it's all about packing along some entertainment — and snacks! Your family will never need to kill travel time singing “99 bottles of milk on the wall” again (unless ... you really want to?) with these seven travel-friendly, blast-from-the-past games.

1. Mini Frogger Arcade Game

Look before you leap! You may be driving down the highway, but your frog just wants to cross it — water hazards be darned. Meanwhile, parents in the car will take a trip down memory lane — the Frogger sound effects will bring you right back. Fair warning: this game may kick off some lengthy adult debates about ColecoVision vs. Atari.

2. Spot It! Card Game

When everyone starts to feel antsy in the car, a distraction like this one can really hit the spot. And the concept of Spot It! couldn't be easier to master: Each of the 55 cards has a bunch of pictures on it. The dealer flips one over. Whoever calls out two matching pictures on the card first wins the round. And the player with the most cards when the deck runs out is the champ. It’s all about speed, not strategy — and even the youngest family members will want in.

3. Rubik’s Cube

Are the miles not exactly, er, flying by? Is it going to be a while before you can stop to stretch your legs? Is the backseat about to become a battle zone? Toss a Rubik’s Cube into the mix. It should last until you arrive at your final destination — even the inventor himself took a month to solve the puzzle the first time he tried. (And by the way, the world speed record for solving one of these things is 3.47 seconds: Good luck!)

4. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots

These fist-throwing figurines are another throwback for the grown-ups. And kids love going head-to-head until one robot’s, well, head pops off (really). This version uses joysticks, but the point stands: Bring the pain!

5. Carmen Sandiego Handheld Game

Where in the world will you be when you play this handheld version of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Go ahead and sing the bass line. You know you want to.) Fear not: The masterminds behind this new-but-old toy were on a mission to design the graphics to be as bad as you remember. We wouldn’t want the kids to get spoiled, right?

6. Simon Classic

Lights! Buzzers! Action! Totally portable, Simon’s a childhood staple — not at all a flash in the pan. Take it for a spin around the block, and it will take you right back. The blinking patterns you need to repeat may start short and slow, but they get longer and accelerate at every turn. Can you keep up, or will you be lapped?

7. Flip-to-Win Hangman

Let’s pretend, as we have for, well, ever, that the concept of this game isn’t totally gruesome. (What’s at stake if you lose? Oh, just a stick figure’s life, that’s all.) With this portable wooden board game edition, there’s no need to scrounge around for a Dunkin’ napkin and a pencil previously lost under the driver’s seat to play. And once you hear sound the letter pieces make when they flip over, you’ll be hooked.