Word Games for the Road

Welcome (back) to Amaze-ing Words Wednesday where we enter the labyrinth of language together and follow the scarlet thread to find our way around.

Down here in Texas, school is either out or almost out! While it isn’t officially summer yet, plenty of people will be hitting the roads in the next few months seeking enlightenment, relaxation, or fun. Whether you’re going on a trip to tour museums or amusement parks, you might need something to keep you entertained while in the car.

Summer road trip, here we come!

So here are some Word Games for the Road! Try something from the following list as a fun travel game with your friends or family. If they refuse to cooperate, tell them you aren’t stopping for a bathroom until they agree. Then make as many references as possible to water, rain, lakes, rivers, etc. until they can’t stand it anymore and conclude that a word game sounds like a lovely idea!

I love my love. The first person starts by saying, “I love my love with an A because he/she is __________.” The blank is filled in an adjective that begins with the letter A. The next player must say, “I love my love with a B because he/she is ___________.” Then C, then D, and so on. When a player cannot answer appropriately, he/she is eliminated. The last player left wins.

Example: I love my love with an A because she is amorous.” “I love my love with a B because he is bold.” “I love my love with a C because he is crazy.” Of course, time to respond is short, or you’re out. And letters like Q, X, and Z will be particularly challenging.

from The Fun Encyclopedia, E.O. Harbin, 1940

Name that lyric. Have you heard of Name That Tune? In that game, one player hums a tune and others try to guess the correct song. The first one to do so wins that round. But what about lyrics? Try a round of Name That Lyric instead. One player speaks lyrics from a verse or chorus of a song, and the first player to guess the correct song (full title) wins the round.

Examples: “Ground control to Major Tom.” I don’t know about you, but I’d have that one after the two words “ground control.” However, “I heard that you’re settled down, that you found a girl, and you’re married now” would take me a while (Adele, Someone Like You). Of course, this game is only fair if you select songs that most of you would have a shot of knowing. Still, my siblings or childhood friends and I could have a fabulous time with a round of lyrics using songs from way back when (Are You a Child of the 80’s?).

Progressive Poetry. The first person begins the poem by any line he/she chooses. Each successive player adds a line to form couplets (or more). Example:

We drive all day and drive all night.
We try to avoid a fight.
But Johnny is touching me.
And I don’t have enough room for my knee!

At least, that’s what it might sound like in my car. You must give each person a little time to think of something, but you might come up with some silly lines and enjoy seeing what you all can create. (You could also vary this into a rap song.)

from The Fun Encyclopedia, E.O. Harbin, 1940

The Alphabet Game. Using signs of all kinds (road signs, billboards, business names on buildings, etc.), find words that begin with the letters of the alphabet. First, find a word that begins with A, then B, then C, etc. Each player must call out the word they are using since each word found can only be used by one player.

For instance, if a sign says “La Quinta,” only one player can get that Q word, and other players must find another sign with a Q word if they are on that letter. In addition, each player can only pull one word from each sign, so if you saw “Acme Bricking Company,” you cannot do A, B, C in a row; you can have the A and find another sign with a B word. License plates don’t count, but players can decide ahead of time whether bumper and window stickers and manufacturer and brand names on cars will be accepted. Players must go in order, and the first to find words with each letter wins.

from my sister, and I don’t know where she got it

Categories. The first player chooses a category, and players take turns naming items within that category until they run out. For example, if the category is cartoon characters, you might hear SpongeBob, Bugs Bunny, Mighty Mouse, and other such names. The category can be anything, such as Disney movies, songs by David Bowie, shoe brand names, words for stupidity (believe me, there are a lot), video game titles, etc. You can play such that the player who gets stuck is eliminated, or just keep the play going for fun.

from Family Road Trip: 10 Word Games to Play

Questions Only. Have everyone in the car act out a scene — with dialogue only, of course. The catch is that everything must be worded as a question. You start with two players talking back and forth in questions. When one makes a statement, stumbles, or hesitates, he/she is replaced by another player who continues the scene. Each time someone messes up, that player is replaced by another. See how long you can keep the scene going or who can remain in the scene the longest.

from Whose Line Is It Anyway? TV series (For more suggestions from this show, see Mark’s Guide to the Games. Other word games include Alphabet, If You Know What I Mean, Interview, and Rap.)

Now what are some of your favorite road trip word games? What do you like to play when you’re traveling?

23 thoughts on “Word Games for the Road

  1. Julie, this is great timing! We leave for vacation next week, and the drive is about 9 hours. Grace’s DS can only entertain her for so long. Will definitely be using some of these:)

  2. Great ideas, Julie. Usually my kids (who hate long drives) sit with their iPods or iPhone stuck in their ears and no one interacts with anyone else. I’d MUCH rather do it your way. We have become a society of “shut-offs” where the outside world is nonexistent except for what happens over the internet. True connection is truly missing.

    1. Indeed. Thankfully, my kids eventually grow tired of the electronics, and we play a game to break it up a little. I have thus far resisted the TV/DVD combo in the vehicle too. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Alica! You’re right. I can find more things with Q down here, I’m sure. X is never easy. We have to look for things like “X-Press.”

  3. We used to always “Go Shopping” when on a road trip, which was kinda our version of the Alphabet game. We’d run through the alphabet (in order), and each person would have to backtrack and repeat everything else the others bought while at the store as well. If someone couldn’t recite everything in order, they lost. I wonder if my memory would hold all of that information now?

  4. We take turn asking questions that everyone has to answer. So like If you could vacation anywhere, where would it be? OR Would you rather sleep in a haunted House for the night or be dropped into the middle of the ocean and float overnight until help arrives? Sometimes we get personal too–What is one thing about yourself that you wish you could change & what is one thing you are really, really good at that no one else you know is?

    It’s amazing what you learn about your own family by answering a few questions!

    Angela Ackerman

    1. Oh, that’s wonderful, Angela! And my answer to #2 is haunted house. While I adore the ocean, I have a healthy fear of it, while I’m a skeptic about the whole ghost thing. Great questions.

    1. We also do I Spy. On long trips, I come up with anything and everything to entertain the family! Especially when the kids are saying, “I need to go the bathroom” and the next stop is 30 miles away — time for cunning distraction.

  5. These are so cool and creative. My husband and I play a version of the lyric game. The last one I stumped him on was “It was 1989. My thoughts were short. My hair was long.” He doesn’t listen to Kid Rock.

    Next time we have a long drive ahead of us, I might see if he’ll play some of these.

    1. You’re welcome, Rhonda! I think they work for families and friends. In fact, some of my friends would be more “game” for these than my family!

    1. I tend to forget things I have to carry out the door with me on trips, so I look for word games that require no supplies! But yeah, Mad Libs are awesome, Jenny.

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