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13 Fun Games to Play to Keep Kids Entertained on Road Trips

by | Parenting

Dec 20, 2022

Road trips don’t have to be something feared when children are involved. And they don’t have to be filled with repetitive questions of “are we there yet?” Instead, get prepared before a road trip by getting games to play in the car that’ll keep your children entertained as you eat up those miles to your destination.

In this article, I provide a list of 13 fun car games that your children will want to play every time they head off on a road trip.

Here’s Our List of Car Games to Try

As parents, we’ve all been there. We’ve packed the car, got the kids buckled up, checked travel and weather conditions, locked the house up, and set off on, what we hope will be, an amazing adventure. 

An hour later, we’re stuck in traffic with six hours to go, and the first “are we there yet?” is uttered. Turning to our bag of games to play in the car, we realise we’ve left them at home in our rush to get going. That amazing adventure has suddenly turned into our worst nightmare, and the next service station is another 20 miles away.

Luckily, we’ve rounded up the best car games to play, so the next time you head off into the great outdoors, you’ve got a list of games to play at your disposal.

1. I Spy

This is a classic car game to play with your children and is probably the go-to game to play on road trips. I Spy is incredibly easy to play and a favourite among young children. One person starts by saying, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with….” They then finish by saying a letter of the alphabet or the colour of the object. The others in the car take turns guessing what it could be, with the winner being the person who figures it out. The winner then becomes the spy and starts again.

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2. Twenty Questions

This is another firm favourite game to play in the car. One person thinks of a person, place, or thing without letting others know. The others in the car take turns asking yes or no questions such as “does it have legs?” or “can it be eaten?” Once the players have asked twenty questions, they each get one chance to guess the answer.

3. Alphabet Game

This is a fun and simple game to play in the car. One person takes one side of the car, and another person takes the other side. The object of the game is to go through the alphabet from A to Z by finding things they pass along the way that start with each letter. The first to get to the end is the winner.

4. Scavenger Hunt

With this game, you’ll need to plan ahead of time, as it will take some preparation. Before setting off on your next adventure, make a list of the type of things you may see on your road trip. You could even split the list into sections such as animals, objects you find in nature, colours, vehicles, etc. Within each section, have a few items that your children need to find, with a reward at the end for who sees all the items.

This car game is bound to keep them entertained for a while!

5. Car Colour Game

This game works by everyone picking a colour and counting the number of cars that match that colour as they drive past. The first person to reach 10 or 20 cars (you’ll need to decide on the number, too) is the winner.

Read: Tips For Helping Kids Who Just Aren’t Interested In Books to Love Reading

6. Guess the Song

This car game is best suited for older children, but that’s not to say younger children can’t get involved as well. In this game, each person takes turns singing a song lyric. The others then have to guess the title of the song and who sang it. If they manage to get both right, even better.

7. I’m Going On a Picnic

This is a fun, classic game to play in a car and is great at testing out memory skills. One person starts by saying, “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing…” followed by something that starts with the letter A that you can eat. The next person continues by saying what the previous person said but then adds something they can eat, beginning with the letter B. 

This pattern continues through the alphabet, with each player remembering to add on what was previously said. The further you get through the alphabet, the harder it is to remember what was said. The person who can say all 26 items is the winner.

8. One Nonsense Rule

Of all the games to play in the car, this one is sure to make you laugh. Everyone gets to make up one nonsense rule on the road trip. For instance, every time you stop at a traffic light, you need to bark like a dog, or if you go under a bridge, you need to lift your feet off the floor. Each time a rule is made, everyone but the last person who misses gets a point. Once you reach your destination, tally up your points to find out who’s the winner.

9. The Quiet Game

This game is exactly what it says it is. The quiet game is a good choice when you all need a little downtime after all the games you’ve played. All you need to do is see how long someone can go without speaking first and whoever speaks first loses. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially with little ones who love good chatter.

10. Read Stories Aloud

What better way to spend a car journey than by listening to your children read stories out loud? Get them to pick their favourite books to read to you. Not only does this help pass the time, but it builds on their reading skills too.

Read: Tips to Help Your Kids Remain Active This Holiday

11. Would You Rather?

This is a great game to play in the car that’ll get everyone thinking. Each person takes a turn asking an obscure question such as “would you rather eat two spiders or a slug?” or “would you prefer to live underground in the dark or sleep upside down in a cave?” You may find your children surprising you with the answers they give.

12. Make Up a Story

If you’re following a car, why not make up the details of the people inside that car? You can each take turns giving them names, saying what they do for a living, and where they might be driving to—the more creative the answers, the better with this one.

13. Chinese Whispers

One person starts by whispering into another person’s ear a message. The second person then whispers the same message into another person’s ear, getting as close to the original message as they can. The last person then says the message so everyone can hear it. At some point, the message may be lost with a garbled response that’ll get a few giggles.

Games to Play in the Car Can Make Road Trips Less Stressful

Road trips are part of the adventure to getting somewhere, but sometimes when children are involved, and a lack of planning is the result, they can often be fraught with stress for all involved. 

With the aid of car games, not only are you keeping your children entertained for as long as possible, but you’re also making road trips less stressful and more fun for all involved.

It also strengthens the bond between you and your child. Added to that is the fact that research suggests that the quality of conversation parents have with their young children can greatly impact a child’s vocabulary three years later. What better way to boost this than through games to play in the car?

Read: Cybersecurity Tips for the Safety of Your Children

Final Thoughts

Most people love going on road trips, but when you have children, you have enough to think about without worrying about what games you’ll play on the way. To make your life somewhat easier, hopefully, this list of 13 games to play in the car will be beneficial to you and your children and will make your road trip more enjoyable.

What’s great about them is that you don’t need much to play them – apart from the scavenger hunt game – and they can easily be seen online if you get stuck for car game ideas. With these games on hand, that six-hour road trip won’t seem so daunting after all.

By Rebecca Campbell

I’m a mum, a freelance journalist, and a blogger. When I’m not writing, I love being outside with my family, whether it’s hiking, running, camping, travelling, or snowboarding. You can find out more about my blog RebeccaSCampbell, where I write about parenting.

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