Family Car Games - The License Plate Game

Author: Jillian Ryan

Tags : Cheap Vacation, Kids, Road Trip, Teens

It's back to the future with the License Plate Game, one of our favorite car games -- in printable form -- to make road time and the long miles fly by. We've also got game suggestions in app form that your kids will love.

Families know that FTF has reviewed and recommended numerous handy travel games, electronic devices and books to keep traveling children content during a long family road trip. Whether it was a cool car game and audio book that relied on pop music, or a hot car game that needed Hot Wheels to make it work, many of these time-passing activities required accessories or electronics.

Our forefathers, however, had to rely on unplugged fun to keep the backseat quiet. That's why we think none of these new-fangled distractions compare with having an old-fashioned car game on hand.

So for your next road trip, don’t bother packing the toys and games that the kids request. Instead, surf to this printable brochure of the License Plate Car Game -- a portable version of the game described below.

License Plate Game - Printable Car Game

The great thing about the open road is that everyone is from somewhere different and the best way to keep track of each car’s origins is through its license plate. Here are the rules to a simple, classic game.

•  Before departure, go to the printable brochure of the License Plate Car Game and print out a color PDF brochure. You'll have the rules and a scorecard with pictures of America's 50 license plates. 

•  At the start of your road trip, put one child in charge of this master list that includes all the states' license plates.  Keep in mind that some states have more than one style of plate, and some use a variety of colors and images.

•  Then as you travel to your destination, make sure the entire family screams out the various license plates they see along the way. 

•  The goal is to cross off each state/territory/province off the list.  Remember it will be easy to spot the plates from the area you are traveling, but good luck finding Puerto Rico or Hawaii! 

• Once, while traveling from New York City to Montreal, Canada, my family managed to see a plate for Guam!

•  To make the game more competitive for older kids, give them each a printout and let them race each other to see who spots the largest number of license plates each day.

Don't forget to print out several copies of the brochure so your family can play multiple times.  

More Car Games for the Backseat

For a variation on this theme, download a printable brochure of the ABC's Car Game and print out several copies. It has all the letters of the alphabet, so all ages -- even early readers -- can play over and over again throughout your trip.

For a guide to several more of my favorite car games, download a printable brochure of FTF's Most Popular Backseat Car Games... and keep it in the glove compartment at all times.

Need a discount car rental for your next road trip?

There's an App for That

Got gadget junkies in the backseat? Or maybe you ran out of printables? Download the license plate game for free in app form from iTunes. 

For little ones learning their ABCs, try the the free ABC for Alaphabet Kids app to keep the kids busy in between rest stops.

Safe there and safe home!

Note! This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.


Next road trip, turn your

Next road trip, turn your kids into backseat detectives, eagerly eyeing other cars on the highway to find license plates from as many states as possible.

Sounds like a really fun car game to do with your family when you go on long road trips. We'll have to try this next time we have a vacation.

This is something we always play!
Car Travel Bingo
Travel Bingo boards that you flip the red area when you see the picture on the board. Look for them at dollar stores or Cracker Barrel. OR, try creating your own by writing words or simple pictures of roadside items or roadsigns. I have some readymade printable car bingo game posted at the Moms Minivan Printables page. OR, I finally found a place that sells the family classic Auto/Car Bingo online.

Or, try playing regular old Classic Bingo made For Travel.
Bigger kids love this one. The windows also slide shut so there are no loose pieces. Hold their interest with this one by offering a prize (lollipop!) to the winner, and play several games. Even the driver can "play" if someone else watches their card "for" them.

Josefina - <a href="">Mexico</a>

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