Hello! If you are traveling, you know that keeping kids occupied during road trips is key. With that in mind, have I got the perfect game for you!
Try our free printable license plate road trip game!
I’ll explain how to play and give you your free printout which you can take with you the next time you travel.
Believe me, this game is a winner. Your kids will be on the lookout for cars and trucks and other vehicles so they can check off the license plates they find on their game board.
The benefits of play are that this game gets them looking out the window (instead of at screens!) helps them learn their states, and is a whole lot of fun which naturally means less fidgeting and “are we there yet” questions.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small amount, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. All opinions are my own and I share things I think would be of interest to boys.
Free Printable License Plate Road Trip Game
Materials Needed to Make Your Game
This is so easy! All you have to do is print out however many boards you need.
Optionally, you can laminate the game so it can be used again and again.
Try this laminator. If you don’t have one, I suggest taking a look, it is a super handy machine to have and you will be shocked at how much you end up using it. I know I was!
Oh, and you need something to write with. This can be pens, highlighters, markers or even crayons because all they need to do is check off the states they find plates for on their game board list.
Travel Writing Surfaces
Here are a couple handy ideas for allowing kids to write and store things while traveling.
A storage clipboard which includes hard writing surface, a place for papers and notebooks and a storage space for pens, markers and so on.
This neat soft art desk lets kids store even more and has a bigger surface than a clipboard, is beanbag filled, has storage pockets and fits perfectly on a lap.
How to Play The License Plate Game
I’m sure many of you remember this from when you were young. If you haven’t played, or want to learn about other ways you can play, read on.
The way the game is played is to try to find the most license plates. Pretty simple, right? The trick of course is that depending on where you are traveling, it may be hard to find them.
Don’t worry though because when I was young, my family traveled in our own state a lot and we still saw many, many plates from other places. If you are taking a trip that crosses several states or even a cross country trip, all the better.
Have your kids look out the window at passing vehicles and see which states the cars are from. The printable game board has a list of states and the District of Columbia/Washington D.C. plus Hawaii.
Each person checks off the name of the state the license plate is from on the board.
Continue reading for different game variations.
License Plate Game Rules
There are a lot of different ways to play the license plate game! Here are some ideas for you.
The main thing is that all players know the rules ahead of time and that they all understand what it takes to win. If you are more of a cooperative play family, we also included those ideas below.
Choose one way to play, but keep the other ideas in mind as well so you switch things up if you would like.
Most Plates Wins
Whoever finds the most plates and marks them on their game board wins.
Play for a specific amount of time.
Play until you get to your destination.
Or play until you get to your destination and back home again.
Whoever covers the whole board wins.
Play over a period of time.
Play for one whole trip.
Play for the whole summer.
If your family enjoys cooperative games, there are a few ways to play this game together.
Share a game board and as each family member finds a state license plate, have someone check it off on the board.
Have each family member take a row of states. Then try to fill up the board together.
Let each person have their own board but switch boards after you stop at a rest stop. This is another way to work together to fill the board.
A few other things you may want to make a rule about.
Decide if two people can see the same vehicle’s plate or just the 1st person to see it gets to count it.
When you see a license plate does someone need to verify it?
No matter what type of rules you and your family decide to set for the game, the main thing is to keep it fun!
Free Printable Game
Here is your free game! I hope you and your kids have a lot of fun playing it. We will be making companion games as well so be sure to check back soon.
License plate game board <<< print as many copies as you need for your family.
NOTE: read the license and then set your printer to landscape. Print page 2.
Do keep in mind that this game, as well as the other games on our site are for personal use only. Be nice, don’t copy. If you want someone else to be able to use our free games, share the link to the post with them and they can print it too!
I hope you and your kids enjoy your trip!