3 Road Trip Games for the Whole Family

We’re away on vacation this week.

Our family has a favorite road trip game.

Our third favorite road trip game is the Hay Game, where you see a field of hay or a truck transporting hay or a bailer bailing hay or a cow eating hay, and you yell, “HAY.” Except, of course, you have to say it as though you’re irritated with your neighbor, like “Hey!” and hope they fall for it, getting all worked up because they didn’t do anything wrong. Then you can smugly point at the hay.

Good times.

Our second favorite road trip game is the Are We There Yet Game, invented by my Marine father, which goes like this:

Kids: “Are we there yet?”
My Dad: “Yep. Get out.”

But our first favorite road trip game these days is the Dam Game, which I invented mostly because I was tired of the Alphabet Game and the License Plate Game and the He’s on My Side Game and the I Have to Pee (right after we left the gas station) Game.

Abby was good enough to capture the Dam Game in action this year, so here, for your viewing pleasure, is a short but complete tutorial.

How to Play the Dam Game
by My Family

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P.S. My friend, Elsie (15), has a good joke.

What did the fish say when it swam into the brick wall?

“Dam.”

What did the fish who was watching him say?

“Dumb bass.”

He he he. Cracks me up every time. I make her tell it to all my favorite senior citizens. She always asks me if I’m sure she should. I’m always sure.

P.P.S. What’s your favorite road trip game? Or your best joke? We have a long car trip home at the end of the week. I’m on a need to know.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
16 comments
  1. We took a six hour car ride with just our littlest (#4) this past spring. On the six hour trip down she was a champ. On the six hour trip back she was a miserable champ. Poor kid was probably traumatized. Anyways we invented the game “Unnnnnnnnder Wooooooo!”. Every time we went under any kind of bridge or underpass my husband and I would shout “Unnnnnnder” and then “Wooooo!” when we came out. so it went like this
    Screaming baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”
    Me(with as much fake enthusiasm as I could put in my voice):”Oooooo! Look! Anooother bridge is coming! Should we do it? should we? should we say under?”
    Sobbing baby (chokes back a sob):”Ye-e-e-shhh. under yesh” sniffle, sniffle

    Bridge approaches….
    My husband and I yell like crazy fools “Uuuuuuuuuunnnnnder! Woooooooooo!”
    Baby stops crying long enough to join us in the Woooo!
    Under woooooo! – video game version coming soon to a store near you! Wooooo!

  2. We play the bridge and tunnel game. Everyone yells out bridge every time we pass under a bridge. Then, everyone tries to say tunnel as quickly and often as they can when we pass through a tunnel. My 20 month old LOVES this game and plays it every single time we hop in the car.

  3. My dad invented a game called “I Think We’ve Gone a Mile.” He would give us a starting point and when we thought we had driven exactly 1 mile, we would call it out. As a mom, I’ve realized that it’s a great game because it usually induces a moment or two of quiet! Kids tend to try to count seconds silently (in order not to give a sibling a clue) so at highway speeds you get 30-60 seconds of silence in the car.

  4. I spent this last week at church girls’ camp where there was a sign posted on the outside of the kitchen that was just a delight to read:

    Dam area
    There is a small but real risk of dam failure.
    (and directions of what to do if there was a dam failure and warning signs of imminent dam failure)

    Ah…the simple pleasures in life. Especially the life of a non-swearing, church-going woman. :o)

  5. We played the Hay game when I was a kid! Or maybe I just did, I forget. But my dad and I played the cow game. I think the winner is the one who spots the cows and starts the exchange. (me in this case, obviously.)
    me: “Look at that bunch of cows!”
    Dad: “That’s not a bunch, it’s a herd.”
    me:”Heard of what?”
    Dad: “Herd of cows!.”
    me:”Oh, a cow herd!”
    Dad: “What do I care what a cow heard?”

  6. Why isn’t the Hay Game an official Newberg game yet??!!! Can’t you imagine at Chapters as the hay trucks go by? “HEY!!!!!!!!” (glare like they just took the corner table by the window)… then smile and point :-).

  7. We live on a lake. To get to town to go to school, to the store, to relieve the constant boredom that living in a place where thousands of people come to have a vacation apparently induces (HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY BE BORED????), we have to cross a dam. I have two boys, and we play the “dam” game every single day. I’m here to report that it never gets old.

  8. My sister taught me the best car game ever… the “cow game”. You divide the car right side and left side and then every time you pass a field of cows you count them, the side of the car that has the cow pasture gets points. The problem arises when you pass a cemetery. The cemetery sides cows ‘die’ and they start from zero. Winner is the side who has the highest number when you arrive at your destination. Other animals can be added for variety but all animals “die” when you pass a cemetery.

  9. We play the Rainbow Truck Game, which the kids’ grandmother made up with them a few years ago.

    It is a cooperative game (they are trying to build a rainbow together) in which you pay attention to the color of the big tractor-trailer truck bodies and cabs. (Some trucks are, say, all red, while others will have a red cab and a white trailer, as an example.) Looking at either type of coloration for any given truck, you must find trucks in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Any truck currently within view that has not been used already is fair game.

    But green, blue and (especially) purple trucks are hard to find, right? How does that work out?

    Well, three white trucks spotted _in_a_row_ (going in a combination of directions is fine, they just have to be seen consecutively) count as a Wild Card, and can be the color you have been waiting for.

    Depending on truck traffic, it can take anywhere from 15-60 minutes to build a rainbow on an interstate highway.

    Try it!

  10. We play the “Hay” game too -alternately my husband always looks at those ’round’ bales and shakes his head in defeat and says “It’s so sad, those poor cows just can’t get a ‘square’ meal”

    We’ve played the Are We there yet game so often, that the other day in the car, tired of driving, I asked my 6 year old “Are we there yet?” He replies with “Has the car stopped moving? I don’t think so!”

    The latest jokes heard in our car – and please note, I am the ONLY female in the house hold “What do you see when a snowman bends over? Snow Balls” “What do you see when a duck bends over? Duck Quack!” What do you have when you have one green ball in one hand and one green ball in the other hand?? Total control of the Jolly Green Giant! ( my MOTHER told me that last one!) Sense a common theme?

  11. I’ll share my favorite jokes but use them wisely–if everyone knows them nobody will laugh at me anymore:
    –Why didn’t the baby oyshter give to charity?
    –Becaush he wash a little shellfish!

    –Why does nobody like chili peppers?
    –Because they get “jalapeño business!” (say that one out loud…)

  12. You could always do brain teasers. That’s what we did on long car rides.

    Like… “A plane crashed on the U.S./Canadian border and most of the people on board died. Where were the survivors buried?”

    Or… “On my way to St. Ives I saw a man with 7 wives. Each wife had 7 sacks. Each sack had 7 cats. Each cat had 7 kittens. Kitten, cats, sacks, wives. How many were going to St. Ives?”

    (The answer to the first is NoWhere! You don’t bury survivors.
    And the answer to the second is Only You!)

  13. A favorite joke told to me years ago by an 8-year-old when I worked at a daycare’s after-school program: A plane crash-lands on a runway but when the FAA investigate, they find that it wasn’t the pilot’s fault or the co-pilot’s fault. Whose fault was the crash? The ASPHALT!!!

  14. Haha! Love the “dam” game. My son and husband still love the slug bug game, mostly because they can hit each other.
    Have a great vacation!

  15. We play the “Waffle House” game, but it only works in states that have Waffle Houses…..

    Everyone someone spots a Waffle House, they have to tell “Waffle House” really loudly 3 times. Dad’s rule is that this should only happen in a car with just mom, even though he is the one who started the game…..

  16. Tell your Marine Father huge thanks! I will be highly entertained by his twist on the “Are we there yet?” Game. And that’s what is important – because no one gets bored on road trips as much as me 😉

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