With the right activities, road trips can be a lot of fun. Great road trip games can be anything from 20 Questions to crossword puzzles. But instead of buying a general crossword puzzle book, why not make unique crossword puzzles? Whether you want to make crosswords as a fun family activity or as an educational tool, a crossword will make a great road trip game for kids.
What Kind of Crossword Will Your Kids Like?
Deciding on the kinds of crosswords your kids will enjoy as a road trip game will help you determine how many crosswords to make, how difficult they are, and perhaps what they’re about. The first question to ask yourself is how long will your kids focus on puzzles? A long puzzle won’t help for a long car ride if your kids will get frustrated or bored in five minutes. Younger kids might have greater difficulty focusing while older kids might focus longer. Perhaps your kids would even prefer word searches.
If, however, you know crossword puzzles will engage your kids for up to several hours, you can make them according to the length of your trip. A medium-difficulty crossword for kids might take up to 15 minutes, whereas a harder one would take longer. If you’re going on a three-hour road trip, you could make five difficult puzzles, or three difficult ones with four medium ones (or throw in a few easy ones). Not sure how to determine the difficulty of crosswords for your kids? Make a few that your kids can solve before the trip to test it out.
Types of Clues and Answers
Now, what should your crossword puzzle turned road trip game be about? Over the span of a road trip, you can cover multiple topics.
The easiest place to start is with a topic you know they love. Quiz them on their favorite movie, book, or band, for example. Or educate them with puzzles on topics they’ve recently covered in school, or on things you’d like them to know more about. Crossword puzzles are a great way to sneak in a little education with playtime. This “Road Trip Anyone?” puzzle offers intellectual clues, which could take a lot of time to answer despite the size of the puzzle.
Similarly, make a crossword about a book and play the audiobook in the car. That way, kids will have to listen to solve the puzzle. Maybe give them a prize at the end of the trip if they focus! Have a favorite road trip playlist? Add song lyrics as clues and the song as the answer to engage kids with listening, too.
Encourage car conversation as well by making clues that require discussion to answer. Clues can feature personal prompts like, “The name of mom’s childhood pet,” if you’d like to talk about getting a family pet. It can feature more hypothetical situations like, “What would dad wish for with one wish?” This can lead to kids sharing their own thoughts on these topics, like in this crossword.
Finally, get your kids excited for the vacation by making a relevant puzzle about the location or the activities you’ll all enjoy. Driving through a big state like Texas? This ought to fit the bill.
Making Your Road Trip Game Crosswords
There’s a lot to do before a trip, whether it’s just a weekend getaway or a two-week holiday. Give yourself some extra time to make your road trip crosswords before your trip. If possible, have your kids make them, too, so everyone can share crosswords.
Once they’re done and ready to solve, you might want to print them out for the car. If everyone has a mobile device, Crossword Hobbyist’s crosswords are mobile-friendly and can be enjoyed with just a link. You could also offer both options to your kids; some kids might enjoy the comfort of their mobile device, while others might like to also doodle on their crossword or fill it in with cool colors.
And of course, don’t forget to make enough crosswords for the trip back, too! If you’ll be at a location with a computer, you can always make a few more before you leave again. Just in case you’re having too much fun on your trip, prepare a few extra beforehand. Younger kids might also enjoy word searches as a road trip game, or you can always mix and match the two kinds of puzzles for extra fun with your road trip games.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.