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Fun Games to Play in the Car with Your Family

Fun Games to Play in the Car with Your Family

Are you heading for a family road trip… and already fearing the unavoidable “Are we there yet” questions?

Believe me, I know the feeling! We have been on several road trips and also traveled by train for long hours… so I have already a great collection of games that can help to pass the long trip in a fun way for the entire family!

Fun Road Trip Games with Young Children in the Car

Well, with babies, there is not much you can do in terms of games – besides maybe singing their favorite song until they fall asleep, and hopefully spend a significant part of the trip sleeping

In case you are traveling with young kids some simple game ideas can give you higher chances to have a lot of fun (besides the obvious hard moments) even on long journeys!

Oh, and do not forget to have enough snacks (and know the location of any fast-food restaurant) on the way. These can also come in pretty handy on your next road trip, besides the following easy game ideas!

No Preparation Needed – Just Go On and Have Fun!

I think we all have a favorite classical road trip game. For us, it is definitely the Alphabet Game! We do not only play it on long trips, but also on short rides or even on walks to the store 😊

Check out my collection of our best games, you can play together on long rides!

I Spy

How to Play: The first person says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and gives a clue about something they see in or outside the car. The next person, or all others, depending on how you set the rules, tries to guess what it is based on the clue.

Why it’s Great: It encourages observation skills, and language development, and keeps kids engaged as they search for items.

20 Questions

How to Play: The first player thinks of an object, and the whole family takes turns asking up to 20 yes-or-no questions to guess what it is. The game continues until someone guesses correctly or the questions run out.

Why it’s Great: It promotes critical thinking and reasoning.

License Plate Game

How to Play: Spot number plates from different states or countries and try to find as many as possible. If you have younger kids, you can search for cars based on brand or color to make it easier for them.

Why it’s Great: It turns a boring ride into a fun scavenger hunt, and kids can learn about geography in the process.

Letters of the Alphabet

How to Play: Starting with the letter ‘A,’ find words outside the car (road signs, billboards, etc.) that begin with each letter of the alphabet in order. Well, for little ones you can help with spelling and order of the alphabet 😊

Why it’s Great: This classic game besides being fun, enhances literacy skills and challenges kids to be observant regarding their surroundings.

Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament

How to Play: Hold a mini rock, paper, scissors tournament (the driver should be excluded😅). The winner of each round progresses to play against someone else until there’s an ultimate champion.

Why it’s Great: Simple, quick, and keeps everyone entertained.

Story Chain

How to Play: Start a story with a sentence, and each person adds one sentence to continue the narrative. See where the creative story takes you!

Why it’s Great: Sparks imagination, encourages storytelling skills, and creates a certainly funny tale.

Counting Cows

How to Play: Count the number of cows (or other animal you choose) you see on your side of the road. Each person keeps their count, and the one with the most cows wins.

Why it’s Great: Teaches basic counting skills and makes countryside drives more enjoyable.

Color Spotting

How to Play: Pick a color, and everyone tries to spot as many objects of that color as possible during the journey.

Why it’s Great: Enhances color recognition skills and it is suitable even for very young kids.

Guess the Sound

How to Play: Close your eyes and take turns making a sound (the driver again misses half of the fun). The others guess what the sound is. It can be an animal noise, a vehicle sound, or anything fun.

Why it’s Great: Encourages creativity, and listening skills, and adds some laughter to the trip.

Zitch Dog

How to Play: Someone says, “Zitch Dog,” and everyone quickly looks out the car windows to spot a dog. The first person to see a dog yells “Zitch Dog!” and gets a point. Play until a set time or a certain number of points. It is such a fun game, we really love it!

Why it’s Great: Adds an element of excitement and unpredictability to the journey. It’s a playful way to keep everyone engaged and actively observing their surroundings. Plus, who doesn’t love spotting cute dogs?

Fun Car Games You Will Need Some Preparations to Enjoy

Travel Bingo

How to Play: Create bingo cards with various items or road signs your kids might spot during the journey. Give each child a card and a marker. As they spot items on their cards, they mark them. The first one to get a row covered shouts “Bingo!”

Why it’s Great: Combines the excitement of bingo with a road trip twist. It encourages observation and keeps kids actively engaged.

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DIY Memory Game

How to Play: Before the trip, create pairs of cards with pictures or drawings of matching items (animals, shapes, etc.). Shuffle the cards and place them face down. Take turns flipping two cards at a time, trying to find matching pairs. It is best if you are not too squeezed in your car. I always have some memory cards with me as it works like a charm when we travel by train or have to wait at a restaurant too…

Why it’s Great: Enhances memory skills and concentration. Plus, kids can get creative by making their own cards before the trip.

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Coloring Kit

How to Play: Pack a travel-sized coloring kit with coloring books and crayons. Assign themes or specific items to color (e.g., red car, green tree) and let the kids use their artistic skills during the journey. Or if you want to avoid mess, there are those “paint with water” books, that can work pretty well too with little kids.

Why it’s Great: Fosters creativity and provides a calm and entertaining activity. It’s also a great way to create fun keepsakes from the trip.

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Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

How to Play: Create a list of items for the kids to spot during the journey (a yellow house, a bridge, a gas station, etc.). Hand out the lists and let them mark off items as they find them.

Why it’s Great: Turns the journey into an exciting scavenger hunt, promoting teamwork and observation skills.

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Story Cubes

How to Play: Purchase or create story cubes with images on each side. Take turns rolling the cubes and incorporating the images into a collaborative story. The unpredictability of the dice adds a fun twist.

Why it’s Great: Sparks creativity and imagination. The randomness of the cubes ensures that each story is unique and entertaining, making the car ride more enjoyable.

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Fun Games with Tweens and Teens on Family Road Trips

It might get a bit easier to travel with older kids… but longer rides can still become challenging with tweens and teens in the car.

Fun Car Games With No Preparation Needed

Guess the Celebrity

How to Play: One person thinks of a celebrity, and the next player takes turns with the others asking yes-or-no questions to guess who it is. The game continues until someone correctly identifies the celebrity.

Why it’s Great: Incorporates pop culture knowledge, provides entertainment and can lead to amusing discussions about favorite stars.

The Great Debate

How to Play: Pose a thought-provoking question (e.g., “Is time travel possible?”) and let everyone express their opinions. Encourage respectful debates and discussions.

Why it’s Great: Stimulates critical thinking and provides insight into differing perspectives.

Invent-a-Song

How to Play: Collaboratively create a song by taking turns adding lyrics. Each person contributes one line at a time, building on what the previous person said.

Why it’s Great: Enhances creativity and often leads to a one-of-a-kind, entertaining tune.

Road Trip Riddles

How to Play: Take turns coming up with riddles for others to solve. The person with the most challenging riddle (that still gets solved) wins that round.

Why it’s Great: Challenges logic and problem-solving skills, making the journey both entertaining and intellectually stimulating.

Alphabetic Expedition

How to Play: Starting with ‘A,’ each person thinks of a place they’d like to visit (real or fictional) that begins with that letter. Share the location and take turns. The goal is to go through the entire alphabet during the trip.

Why it’s Great: Encourages geographical and cultural awareness, and adds a sense of adventure to the journey.

Printable Games for a Long Road Trip

Word Search Challenge:

How to Play: Kids find travel-themed words in a word search

Why it’s Great: Offers a mental workout, challenges their minds, and keeps older kids focused and engaged during the car ride.

Trivia Question Cards:

How to Play: Take turns answering trivia questions, creating a friendly competition among your children.

Why it’s Great: Stimulates their minds, provides an opportunity to showcase knowledge, and engagingly introduces new facts.

Destination Crossword:

How to Play: Solve a crossword puzzle with clues related to the upcoming destination.

Why it’s Great: Adds an element of anticipation, encourages problem-solving, and entertains kids with a purpose.

Alphabet Game Worksheet:

How to Play: Use a worksheet with a pre-made list of the letters of the alphabet, and maybe some examples. Kids should spot items outside the car starting with each letter of the alphabet.

Why it’s Great: Promotes literacy skills, challenges kids to observe their surroundings, and turns the journey into an interactive alphabet adventure.

Travel Mad Libs:

How to Play: Fill in blanks in travel-themed Mad Libs, creating humorous and creative stories.

Why it’s Great: Enhances language skills, encourages creativity, and provides laughs as kids share their unique stories.

Road Trip Journal Pages:

How to Play: Kids use printable journal pages to write or draw about their travel experiences.

Why it’s Great: Fosters self-expression, and creativity, and allows kids to create a personal record of their journey.

Car Conversation Starter Cards:

How to Play: Draw cards with conversation prompts to spark discussions during the trip.

Why it’s Great: Encourages meaningful discussions, allows kids to express their opinions, and creates a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in the car.

Mystery Map Challenge:

How to Play: Provide each child with a map marked with specific landmarks or stops along the route. As you pass each location, they cross it off. The challenge is to guess the next destination based on the remaining marks.

Why it’s Great: Enhances map-reading skills, encourages geographic awareness, and adds an element of mystery to the journey.

Emoji Code Breaker:

How to Play: Create a sheet with emojis representing various travel-related phrases or words. Kids decipher the emojis to reveal the correct terms.

Why it’s Great: Combines technology with problem-solving, making it a modern and engaging game that keeps older kids entertained.

License Plate Math Challenge:

How to Play: Assign numerical values to letters on license plates and create math equations. For example, if a plate reads “ABC 123,” the equation could be (A + B) x C = ___. Kids solve the equations as they spot license plates.

Why it’s Great: Integrates math into the journey, making it an educational and interactive way to keep kids mentally stimulated.

Board Games to Play on a Long Car Ride

Uno

How to Play: Match colors or numbers to discard cards. Use action cards strategically to hinder opponents.

Why it’s Great: A classic card game that’s easy to learn, encourages strategic play, and is perfect for keeping everyone engaged during the car ride.

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Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

How to Play: Players take turns placing cards face-up in the center, saying “Taco,” “Cat,” “Goat,” “Cheese,” “Pizza” in sequence. If the spoken word matches the card, players slap the pile. The last to slap must draw the pile. The goal is to get rid of all your cards. This one can be good for younger kids with older siblings too!

Why it’s Great: Requires no setup, minimal space, and is fast-paced. The constant repetition of words and the element of surprise keep players alert and entertained, making it perfect for car rides.

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Connect 4

How to Play: Two players take turns dropping colored discs into a vertical grid. The first to connect four of their discs horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins.

Why it’s Great: Compact and easy to set up, Connect 4 provides a quick yet strategic gaming experience. The vertical design prevents pieces from scattering, making it car-friendly.

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Guess Who

How to Play: Each player selects a character card. Players take turns asking yes-or-no questions to narrow down the possibilities and guess the opponent’s character.

Why it’s Great: Portable with a compact design, Guess Who is engaging and encourages deductive reasoning. The game can be paused and resumed easily, making it suitable for the interruptions that can occur during a car trip.

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Battleship

How to Play: Each player arranges their fleet on a grid. Players take turns calling out coordinates to locate and sink their opponent’s ships. You can even play it on squared paper.

Why it’s Great: The game comes in a travel-sized version, and the compact grids keep gameplay manageable. It’s a strategic game that can be played quietly, making it ideal for the confined space of a car.

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Long car rides can be challenging for every family member. However, with some planning and preparation, you can ensure to enjoy laughter and fun even on the longest road trips! I hope you can find some of these road trip game ideas suitable for your family and will have an enjoyable ride on your next family adventure. You do not necessarily need to pack a huge list of things to make it happen, just try to keep in mind some of the simple ones as a starting point 😊 And anyway, sometimes it is enough to start the games, and as the kids’ imagination flow, they will figure out their new ones to play for sure!