Quick, Fun & Free Road Trip Idea

By , June 12, 2010 8:58 am

License Plate Scavenger Hunt

  • Download and print a free, printable map of the US (or your country/region).
  • Give one to each of your children and see how many license plates they can spot while on the road.
  • They can color in the states as they spot them.
  • For US mainlanders, a special prize for Alaska or Hawaii makes it even more fun.

The map format (vs. just a list) gives them a real sense of geography.  On a recent road trip,  I found my kids saying things like:  “The farthest state we have seen from where we are now is New York” or “Look!  We have all the states that border Arizona!”

TIPS – For extra learning, choose one with state capitals*. Younger children will just enjoy coloring the map.

* For a printable PDF file of a US map with state capitals (free for personal or classroom use), go to this site, scroll down, and click on the link “United States: Capitals.”

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons.  Licensing and author information here.)

4 Responses to “Quick, Fun & Free Road Trip Idea”

  1. Hi Mom Unplugged,

    Apologies for leaving this in the comments, but I couldn’t find an email address or contact form to send this message to you.

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    The Raising Playful Tots Index is a quarterly look at play based blogs from around the blogosphere. The purpose of the index is to:

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    .-= PlanningQueen´s last blog ..Tips For Visiting The Art Gallery With Kids =-.

  2. Tara says:

    We did this on the way to a theme park this weekend. I was very surprised at how excited our 6 year old twins were at every new license plate state. It kept them very occupied! Not only did they learn US geography, but it also enabled us to teach them some anecdotal things (this is where your grandparents were born, where Mom did an internship, etc). Great FREE fun! Thanks for the timely advice :)

  3. Anita Ann says:

    What a fun idea!

  4. Mom Unplugged says:

    Thanks so much for your comment! I am so glad to hear that it worked for you.

    I too was surprised with how interested my children were in this activity on our recent long car ride. I find that they STILL look at license plates whenever we are in the car and are very excited when they see one that they know they don’t “have” yet. Several days ago they actually found the elusive Alaska plate.

    Anyway, thanks again for the comment and your additional great teaching ideas. I really love to hear when one of my suggestions works for someone!

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