This license plate game is a great activity that can be played again and again.
It’s really simple to plan, explain and play, so is especially good for keeping your kids entertained on a long car journey.
How To Play
Make a list of all 50 states (plus Washington DC). Players (or teams) then have to find as many license plates for the different states as they can.
There are a couple of different ways you can play this scavenger hunt:
1. Road Trip
As mentioned above, this license plate game works really well as a road trip scavenger hunt. If you only have one child, they’ll just be busy trying to find as many different states as possible.
If you have 2+ kids though, you can turn it into a competition by having the children race against each other to be the first one to find each state’s license plate. Note down on the sheet who finds which state’s plate first. Alternatively, use this great Melissa & Doug game to keep track of who found which license plate first.
To add an extra element, if someone calls out the wrong state, subtract one point from their total – this will discourage players from randomly guessing while they’re too far away to ascertain which state is on a license.
The winner will be the person who has found the most license plates by the end of the journey (minus any penalty points for calling out the wrong state).
You can still play this scavenger hunt even if you’re not travelling anywhere. In this version, players are free to go wherever they need to in order to find the different plates. They should then take a photo of each one as proof that they did indeed find it.
This version works best with teenagers and adults as they’ll tend to have the transportation they’ll need to be able to hunt for the different plates. If playing this license plate game with teens, be sure to emphasize safety as they may end up running around parking lots to find what they need.
Some license plates will be much harder to find by virtue of those states being thousands of miles away from your own. When we play this game, we therefore award double points for Hawaii and Alaska.
We also choose a “Golden Snitch” license plate – the first person to find this plate wins the whole game, regardless of how many points they’d scored previously. This works better with the road trip version, as with the free-for-all version you’re unlikely to be able to know who found the plate first.
If you don’t live in the US, the suggestions we’ve made above won’t be any use to you! No matter where you live though, there will be ways that you can design your own license plate game.
One option would be to create random three digit letter and/or number combinations that players have to find.
If you liked this idea, you’ll love our book – 52 Scavenger Hunt Ideas.
List of 50 States + DC
Here’s a list of all the states that you can print or copy and paste into a separate document: