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The Daily Dish Shopping

Whine-Proof Your Next Road Trip With These Travel Games For Kiddos

Here's how you keep the kids busy (and quiet!) in the backseat.

By Patricia Cunningham

Oh, we’ve been there. The annual family road trip. The car is packed so tight your legs are losing circulation, the GPS is routing you to Truro, Nova Scotia, instead of Truro, Massachusetts, the kids, strapped into their five-point harness car seats like high-risk criminals, are using their whiniest voices to ask “are we there yet?”—and you haven’t even pulled out of the driveway! Is it too late to turn back, you momentarily muse, to check everyone into day camp and take a spa day or week? Certainly not! Because this year you’ve come prepared.

Indeed, this year you’ve got a Lands End tote bag full of diversions to redirect even the most impassioned begging for screen time (which you are reserving for true emergencies like traffic, a busted tire, exorbitantly long stretches between rest stops). This year the road trip is going to be part of the trip, it’s going to be FUN! And 200 miles later you realize you were right.

Here are 15 totable games to liven up your next road trip.

Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win License Plate Game

Identify states by their license plates and “flip” the state to win. Two players can keep score with color-coded edges. Bonus: no loose pieces!

BUY FROM: Amazon, $19.50

Simon Hand-Held

Simon is as old as the original Star Wars and just as awesome! This compact version is ideal for traveling gamers. Heads up, though: You might be hearing beep-boop-beep in your sleep.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $32.99

UNO Wilderness

A deck of UNO cards is an essential for any family trip. Add to the excitement of seeing new vistas with this Wilderness version that celebrates the great outdoors!

BUY FROM: Walmart, $5.97

Mad Libs Vacation Fun

Fill in the blanks of vacation-themed stories, and hear the kids howl with laughter as it’s read back. Turns a frown upside-down every time.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $3.20

Find It: Discover America

Fifty-two iconic objects are buried within the red, white and blue beads in the tube—one for each U.S. state (plus Washington, D.C., and the Find It Penny). Players spin, twist and shake the tube to find the objects and win.

BUY FROM: Fat Brain Toys, $18.99

National Geographic Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas

This activity book is packed with games, fun facts, maps, roadside oddities and other boredom busters.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $4.14

Byte-Size Laptop Chalkboard

No power cord required for this laptop. Just open and let the imagination run wild with doodles, poetry and epic tic-tac-toe matches. A creative alternative for kids on the go.

BUY FROM: Land of Nod, $25

Melissa & Doug Travel Hangman

This colorful twist on the classic word game is uber-travel friendly since everything stays attached to the board. Includes dry-erase marker and white board for endless play.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $11.04

Spot It! Gone Camping

Kids never tire of this fast-paced, highly addictive card game where players have to “spot” the matching pictures to win—and parents actually love it, too. The summer-centric Gone Camping version hits the mark.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $11.12

Crayola Create 'n Carry Case

An art storage case that doubles as a lap desk. Perfect for backseat Picassos! Includes crayons, washable gel-FX markers, classic fine line markers, colored pencils and 30 sheets of construction paper.

BUY FROM: $10.06

Thinkfun Amaze

Sixteen challenging maze levels to drive you and your kids absolutely crazy.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $6.99

Stitchin’ Time Needlepoint Kit

A simple-to-use, totable kit that is ideal for budding crafters. Don’t worry, moms, the needles are plastic!

BUY FROM: Land of Nod, $20

Yahtzee National Parks Edition

A portable version of the original “shake, score and shout” Yahtzee dice game, but with a National Parks theme. A portion of proceeds benefit the National Parks Foundation. All good.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $16.95

Magnetic Chess Board

An ideally sized magnetic chessboard that let’s you take your game on the go...and ensures your horsemen aren't flying all of the car! Chess pieces stow away inside the board case when folded.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $19.79

Zingo To Go

Bingo with a little zing! A matching game that’s super fun for big and little kids alike. This travel version keeps all the pieces in place.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $14.77

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