In addition to lots of individual activities to keep kids busy and learning, The Trip Clip has a handful of printable 2-player games for siblings, for a parent and their child, and kids in a classroom.
You can buy these as a bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers
Most of the time my kids played these games with each other on our trips, but sometimes my husband or I played with them, and sometimes they played with friends in the car or at a restaurant. Our family are all big game lovers, so I’m not surprised that my kids gravitated to these printable versions when we were traveling. I was a little surprised by how helpful the kid-sized clipboard was in making these games so portable. Here are my kids playing Dots and Boxes in the car before we even pulled out of the driveway:
They set the clipboard on top of a suitcase that was between their two seats, and passed the 4-color click pen back and forth. The colors on the pen were especially helpful for this game because they could change colors to see who drew each line.
Battleship was also a perennial favorite. Playing this game with pen and paper is very close to the same experience as playing the actual board game, and it had the advantage of not having tiny pieces that needed to be managed. For this one, my kids both needed their own clipboard. Here they are playing in Hawaii while we waited for an hour for a table!
The clipboards are small enough that they fit easily in a bag or purse, so I learned to always keep them with us if we might have a long wait anywhere. We even took The Trip Clip clipboards camping. My husband took the picture below while I was playing Battleship at the campsite with our older son:
Notice that each player gets 2 printed boards for battleship – one for hiding their own ships, and one for locating their opponent’s ships. If you clip the pages into the clipboard in the right order, the ‘secret’ page with the map of where you’ve hidden your ships is covered by the one you’re using to find your opponent’s ships. Here’s a customer who made this work well on an airplane – she even discovered that you can turn it into a 3-person game!
Hangman was a little less popular with my kids. the 3 year age gap was more of an issue with this game than it was with Dots and Boxes and Battleship, but they still played it occasionally, and we had some success teaching our older son how to choose phrases that our younger son would be able to read/know how to spell. My husband and I also played this with each of them individually, and I found it was a great way to practice reading and spelling right at their ability levels.
My kids discovered that it was fun to play this when we went out to dinner with friends who were more similar in age. Here’s my older son playing with a friend at a restaurant while we waited for our food:
Hangman is a great game for a classroom because all the kids will be at similar reading and spelling levels, and teachers can even encourage them to use spelling words in the puzzles they choose. This mom found it helpful even just at home:
Of all these 2-player games, tic tac toe was the least interesting to my kids, but they did pull this one out occasionally too on trips. It was easy to print a bunch of extra tic tac toe sheets just in case it’s what they felt like playing that day.
There is one other multi-player activity available on The Trip Clip: BINGO. Kids can play it alone, but it can also be a 2-player game, or a game for the whole family. You can print multiple copies of the same board and compete to see who can get a BINGO or find them all first, or you can all work cooperatively to find the items on the board. Another option is to print out different boards for each person who’s playing and see who can find all of their items first. There are lots of ways to play BINGO (I wrote a whole blog post about this), and this was very popular on all sorts of trips with my family. Here’s another family who had success with the BINGO activity on their trip:
In addition to loving games, you’ll notice from these pictures that my kids love tie-dye. Some of the items they’re wearing in these pictures were purchased on Etsy from some very talented tie dye artists. We’ve done a bunch of tie dyeing at home, too. Our kids enjoyed inviting friends over each summer to tie dye a few t-shirts before the upcoming school year. Even during covid this was a good activity since we could do it outside!
You may also notice that my kids always picked red clipboards. I kept trying to get them to use different colors so that the pictures I took for my website would be more varied, but they both always insisted on using red ones. Here are all the colors that are available!
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