Car games to play
Car games to play Road trips with your children don’t have to be difficult ordeals punctuated by endless variations on “Are we there yet” Instead, try out these 21 fun car games to keep your young crew entertained.
The License Plate Game
Make a group effort to spot tags from all 50 states. Whoever calls out a state’s license plate first gets a point. (Bonus points for the first person to spy a Canadian plate!) The family member with the most points at the end of the drive wins.
Get creative inventing a family fairy tale! The first person starts with “Once upon a time…” and offers a complete sentence, then the second person adds to the story with their sentence. Take turns adding sentences until the story reaches a conclusion.
There aren’t many distractions in the car, so it’s the perfect opportunity to bond with your children. Get them talking by asking some fun “get-to-know-you” questions: What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever eaten What do you like daydreaming about What are three things you want to do this summer
The object of the game is to point out all the letters of the alphabet in order, from A to Z. The first person to spot the entire alphabet wins!
The Animal Name Game
To start this road trip game, one person names an animal. The next person then has to name another animal (no repeating!) that begins with the last letter of the previous animal named (for example, “elephant” ends with “t,” so the next person might say “tiger,” after which the next person might say “raccoon,” and so on).
The game can go on forever, and kids like that no one wins or loses. If your children are a little older, you can swap animals for other categories like TV shows, cities, or foods.
One person secretly thinks of a person, place, or thing. The other players then take turns asking yes-or-no questions, such as “Can it fly?” or “Does it grow in the ground?” Finally, after the players have asked 20 questions, each player gets a chance to make a guess.
Designate a storyteller. The storyteller whispers a story to someone else in the car. That person whispers the same story—getting as close as they can to recreating it word-for-word—to a third person, and so on. The last person to hear the story repeats it out loud so everyone can hear. Invariably, some of the stories will have been lost in the translation, and the resulting garbled message usually inspires a good laugh.
Name That Song
Take turns singing a single song lyric. Then, the other people in the car can guess the singer or title—bonus points if they get both! (This game works best for older children and teens.)
You’ll need some advanced planning for this one. Before the trip, make a list of items you’re likely to see on the road—a blue billboard, cows, a motorcycle, etc. Your kids can be on the lookout for these items, keeping track of what they see. If they find everything on your list, they win a prize. (Perhaps some candy at the next rest stop?)
The first person says, “A is for __,” filling in the blank with any word beginning with the letter “A,” such as “apple.” The second person comes up with a word for the letter B, such as “book,” but must also repeat the “A” word: “A is for apple, B is for book.”
Continue through the alphabet, each person taking several turns and reciting more letters and words. By the time you reach the letter “Z,” that player will have to recite the whole alphabet and its corresponding words. However, if you’re playing with younger kids, you may want to choose an earlier letter to end on than “Z.”
Secret Place Race
One person looks at a road map and finds a small town, village, lake, or river. That person announces the name of the place they have chosen. A second player has 60 seconds to look at the map and try to find the secret place.
Each player chooses a fast-food restaurant, such as Burger King, Taco Bell, or McDonald’s. Players earn points by spotting their restaurant off the road, on a billboard, on exit markers, on Food and Fuel signs, or by hearing it mentioned on the radio. Impose a time limit—say, 20 minutes—then add the points.
Though not exactly a “car” game, this activity is perfect for long road trips. To offset the sedentary nature of the journey, have kids compete in athletic challenges at rest stops. See who can do the most sprints, push-ups, or jumping jacks in a minute, then stage a 20-yard dash.
Choose a broad category, such as cities, movie titles, or dinner foods. Then, players take turns naming items within the chosen category in alphabetical order. For example, if you chose cities, you could say Athens, Boise, Charleston, Detroit, and Edinburgh. If a player doesn’t state their answer within 10 seconds—or doesn’t travel down the alphabet correctly—they’re out. The last player standing wins.
The first player states a random word aloud. The next player quickly says another word associated with the first one. These steps repeat, cycling through all of the players. (Here’s an example: mustard, hot dog, barbecue, Fourth of July, fireworks…). The game ends if someone takes too long to answer, provides an answer without a clear association, or repeats a word.
Watch Your Mouth!
Before the road trip, choose words or phrases that are “off-limits” in the car—for example, the first names of family members or “Are we there yet?” If someone says one of the off-limits words, they get a point. Whoever has the fewest points at the end of the drive wins the game!
This game is surprisingly simple. Whenever you pass a cow, yell out “cow!” or “moo!” The first person to spot the cow and say the word gets a point (no repeats!). Whoever racks up the most points is declared the winner.
Road Trip Riffing
The first player starts by singing a few lines of a song. Then, another person jumps in to connect the lyrics with another song (essentially, the last lyrics Player One sings should be the first lyrics Player Two sings). Here’s an example: “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you….” “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy…” “Happy birthday to you!” Car games to play