What Are Fun Games to Play in the Car? 23 Awesome Ideas For Your Next Road Trip
You’ve got a big road trip with the family planned. Your bags are packed, your GPS is ready, the tank is full and your cooler is stocked with sandwiches and snacks. But the real challenge remains: How are you going to entertain the kids in the car?
The answer to that is easy: with some epic car games for kids!
Playing games in the car makes time pass more quickly, keeps boredom at bay and also keeps your kids on their toes. Even better, playing games in the car can help you improve their analytical and grammar skills, boost their creativity and imagination, and simply get to know them better.
Sure, you could cross your fingers and hope everyone falls asleep, or you could set off on your family holiday armed with lots of fun car game ideas. We recommend the latter. Travelling with kids is never easy, so take your pick from our list of 23 games, perfect for kids and adults, and get ready for the best family road trip ever.
Here's the list:
1. One of the most well known games is indubitably “I Spy”. In the event that you’re not familiar with this one, someone in the car says “I spy with my little eye, something…” and then they describe the colour of what they see. Everyone else in the car has to guess what that person saw until they get it right.
2. Another popular road trip activity is “I’m Going on a Picnic,” which is an excellent memory game. The first person says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring…” and they name a food or beverage. The next person adds to the list by saying “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring…” and they add their idea and they repeat the previous person’s idea. The next person has to add a third item to the list and repeat the two previous ones, and so on. If you want to take it up a notch, follow the letters of the alphabet!
3. Are you familiar with the license plate game? Give your kids a pad of paper and a pen and have them write down all of the license plates they see while in the car. Whoever has jotted down the most, wins.
4. Another fun game is where you make up a story with everyone in the car. One person says the first sentence of the story, then someone else adds the next sentence, and so on. In the end you have a funny story that everyone helped create together.
5. Have you ever tried a word association game? The first person names an object and the next person has to name something associated with it. The third person has to name something associated with the previous word, and so on. For example, the first person might say “bus,” the second person “school,” and the third person “teacher.”
6. Let your kids practice the alphabet with the following game. Pick a topic and then everyone has to take turns naming something in that category in alphabetical order. For example, the topic might be fruit, so you could say apples, bananas, cherries, etc. Of course, you can play this game without the alphabetical order requirement and just pick a category, like Halloween, sports, vegetables, things you take to the beach, etc. Then everyone has to name something within that category.
7. “20 Questions” is another good game to try to pass the time. One person thinks of a person or character and the rest of the players take turns asking questions (20 in total) until they correctly guess who it is.
8. How about a round of “Would You Rather” during your next car trip? Take turns coming up with age-appropriate scenarios where everyone has to pick their preference, for example, would you rather eat a giant bug or swim with a shark? Extend the conversation by having your kids explain why.
9. Have you tried the “Hot Seat” game? Everyone in the car takes a turn being in the hot seat, when everyone else takes turns asking them questions that they have to answer truthfully.
10. One of our favourite games is a car scavenger hunt. This requires some organisation at home before you go. Make a list of things you might see on your journey and give it to your kids before you hit the road. The list can include things like cows, an RV, a police car, a barn, a specific road sign, etc. Once in the car, everyone has to keep their eyes on their surroundings and see how many items on the list they can check off.
11. Another similar and fun car game that also requires planning ahead is car bingo. Before you set off, give everyone a list of different types of vehicles: RV, police car, ambulance, school bus, Volkswagen Bug, a purple car, etc. and the first person to cross off everything on their list wins!
12. How about boosting everyone’s self esteem and confidence with the compliment game. Here, once again, we’re guided by the alphabet and everyone takes turns complimenting each other. For example, “A is for Logan’s new asymmetrical haircut, “B is for Maya’s beautiful blue eyes,” etc.
13. Rock, paper scissors is another easy game to play, and chances are you already know how it goes: scissors beats paper, paper beats rock, and rock beats scissors.
14. Have you ever played the Alphabet Race? Before you leave, cut up small squares of paper with all of the letters in the alphabet. When you’re on the road, pick a letter and the first person to see that letter out their window—on a car, license plate, billboard, etc.—keeps the paper with the letter. Whoever has the most at the end of the game wins.
15. Test your kids’ creativity by having them pick an object in the car (tissues, the seatbelt, pens) and pretend that it’s a new “invention.” Have them describe what this new object does, who it helps and how it works.
16. If you’re up for the strange car game, it goes like this: Before you leave, everyone picks an odd car colour. Once you’re on the road, every time that person sees a car with their colour, they get a point. Whoever has the most points at the end of the trip wins.
17. Are you familiar with Heads Up? Download the app on your phone so you can play it in the car. Each person takes turns holding the phone up to their forehead and there’s a word on the screen, but they haven’t seen it. Everyone else gives that person clues until they guess the word!
18. Name that song is a very easy game to play in the car. Players take turns humming a song or singing the song without words and everyone else has to guess which song it is.
19. Here’s a good one for little kids. Parents make a list of things that are all the same colour and the kids have to name that colour. For example, you might say bananas, corn, the sun, etc. and the kids must answer “yellow.”
20. Another fun counting game is where the parents start counting something out loud and the kids have to guess what they’re counting. Are you counting the trucks that you pass on the road? Or maybe the traffic lights or the traffic signs? This is a great game that kids love to play.
21. For parents of kids who love math (and even for those kids who don’t), the adult thinks of a number between 1 and 100, for example, and the kids have to ask questions until they guess the right number. They might ask if the number is higher than 50, if it’s an odd or even number, if it’s a multiple of 5, etc.
22. There are, of course, travel car games for kids you can take on your next trip. You can buy everything from travel chess and Scrabble to Memory and Connect 4. You can also get Mad Libs, word search puzzles, and hangman and connect the dots games for the road.
23. Last but certainly not least is the quiet game, an option you might consider if everyone is getting a bit hyper. For this activity, whoever is quiet the longest wins and whoever speaks first loses, indubitably a favourite among parents.
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