Your mission trip or retreat outing is planned. The forms are in. Parents feel at ease. (Actually, that never happens.) Yet you still need to get from “here” to “there.” That’s what road trip games and activities are for!
You’ll need more than the perfect music playlist for your time in a high-end bus or barely-held-together-with-duct-tape church van. Think about what you’ll be doing with teenagers to keep them occupied for hours on end.
Whether you have a long drive to the airport, multiple hours of travel after you land, or are doing the whole trip on the road (and yes, we’ll be praying for you), you don’t need to wait for significant bonding to take place. Begin right away with road trip games, and the journey will be just as fun as the destination.
10 Road Trip Games & Activities for Teenagers
1. Secret Mind-Benders
A number of games fall under this category. A game master (usually an adult) asks a question, and then others need to figure out what the answer is and why it’s acceptable. For example:
- The Line: You say, “Okay, I draw a line from Mike to the bridge ahead. Is it a good line or a bad line?” or “I draw a line from Sue to our hubcap. Is it a good line or a bad line?” (It’s only ever a “good line” if you say the word “okay” first.)
- The Green Glass Door: You say, “I am going through the green glass door, and I am bringing _____, but not _______. Does it get through?” (The only items that get through are words with a two of the same letters next to each other, like “noodle” but not “pasta.” You can create your own secret code to play the game again, such as words that begin with the letters of the person you’re asking the question to.)
2. Build a Text
Sometimes you need a quiet game that still keeps kids engaged. Pass around a phone and encourage each student to add three words to a single text message. Start in the back and then have it sent to the front. By the time the phone reaches the person in the passenger seat who adds the last three words, do a group vote on who that text should be randomly sent to, with no explanation. In case of a tie, you get the final vote. Obviously, keep it appropriate and be aware the cost of sending a message based on your location.
3. This Book Gets Around
Snag a bunch of this best-selling resource to get students talking with each other. The creativity alone is worth it, but so is the bonding that these intentional questions will nurture.
4. Lip Sync Battle
Yet again, the importance of your playlist factors in here. Assuming you have some clean songs everyone knows, have the person in your passenger seat be the DJ as you challenge everyone in the van to do their best lip sync (with exaggerated expressions and all). Switch up the song every 30 seconds or so. You can vote on winners each round. Then have them do a final battle in the end for a candy bar or dessert at the next stop.
5. On the Upside/Downside
Moving clockwise, one person says something that begins with “On the upside…” and the another person replies, “On the downside…” (i.e. “On the upside, my dog caught a squirrel.” and “On the downside, the dog now has rabies.” Then “On the upside, taking the dog to the doctor made the doctor famous.” And “On the downside, it was because the doctor botched up, and your dog is dead.”)