Long bus rides can get boring for kids and tedious for adults. It is always a good idea to plan activities to keep everyone occupied and out of trouble. There are a number of bus ride games that you can play that will keep everyone's mind working and relieve boredom too. Bus games can be played competitively, but most are designed to keep children occupied until the bus arrives at its destination.
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The alphabet game consists of finding things you see outside the bus that begin with each letter of the alphabet, according to the High Trails website. Separate everyone into teams according to rows and start with "A" and just keep going down the list. Give one team member a pen and paper, and have him jot down items as team members call them out. Have them call out things they see on their side of the bus only, to avoid confusion. You can skip the letter "X" to avoid getting stuck.
For a bus scavenger hunt game, MomsMiniVan.com suggests preparing a checklist of things that everyone is likely to see on the course of the trip. You can also play with a time limit, or make it for the duration of the trip. Again, you can separate teams into rows, and make it a stipulation that you can only count items seen out your side of the bus. Give each team member a copy of the list and have the kids call out what they find.
Separate the bus into right and left teams and have them count the cows they see from their own side of the bus. You can have students count up to a certain number; alternatively, you can use a time limit or have them count for the duration of the trip. There will be a lot of frantic counting if you pass a full field of cows. One extra rule is that if you pass a cemetery on your side of the bus, one team loses all its counted cows if the other team yells out, "Your cows are buried!"
High Trails notes that players can play the geography game individually, or they can be split into teams. Choose whether you will use states, countries, cities or some other geographical feature. The first player or team names a state, for example, and the next must name another state that begins with the last letter of the state named by the first player. Each player or team has 15 seconds to give an answer. If the player doesn't answer in that time, she receives a strike. Three strikes, and you are out of the game.
License Plate Game
For the license plate game, make teams and have them look at license plates, jotting down whenever they see a license plate from a new location. The goal is to get as many states as possible. You can even decide on point totals for each state, with states farthest away worth the most. Have players call out the state when they see it, so no license plate is counted twice. You may only be able to play from one side of the bus if you are on a two-lane highway.