Car Games for Kids

Summer is the best time of year for family road trips, but keeping your kids occupied during the long car ride might seem like a daunting task. Admittedly, it involves a considerable amount of planning to have the right games and activities to keep everyone in the back seat entertained. Don’t panic, though! Our favorite car games for kids will keep your youngsters occupied for hours.

I Spy Car Games:

A United States activity book

Keep your kids busy looking out the windows with I Spy games.

  • Car Scavenger Hunt: Print out a list of items for each kid to search for out the windows during the ride. Think about the types of scenery you’ll be passing on your road trip to determine what to include. It can be anything from mountains to cows to palm trees. You can also make this a competition by turning the list into bingo boards. The first child to get bingo wins.
  • License Plate Games: Have your kids keep an eye out for license plates from each state. Make sure to bring a piece of paper to write down all the states you find. To make this game more educational, bring along a book about the 50 states to learn about each one as you find its license plate. Some families say the cars have to be moving to count and others say they can be parked. Decide on the rules for your family and start searching!

Verbal Kids Car Games:

Two girls whisper two each other while playing

These games don’t require a lot materials, but they’ll keep your kids thinking.

  • 20-Questions: Take turns picking a random object (person, place or thing). The official rules of the game say to avoid proper nouns. Once someone has decided on their object, the family can take turns asking yes or no questions. Be careful, though! You can only ask twenty questions before you need to know what the object is and win.
  • Trivia: Before your vacation, purchase a pack of trivia cards or download a trivia app that is age appropriate for your kids. You can incorporate snacks as prizes for getting questions right if you want.
  • Never Have I Ever: Each family member playing the game will take turns saying something they have never done before (i.e. I have never broken my arm). If the other players haven’t done what was listed (i.e. broken their arm), they’re safe. If they have done it, they need to put a finger down. Everyone has 10 chances, one for each finger. The game ends when the first person has put down all their fingers.
  • Would You Rather: Take turns giving family members two options and asking “Would you rather…?” Everyone can answer which option they would prefer. For instance, you could ask, “Would you rather travel to the moon or to the bottom of the ocean?”

Road Trip Toys:

A magnetic hangman game

Try purchasing a variety of small, inexpensive toys and goodies to wrap up like presents. At designated time intervals, let your kids unwrap a new one to play with. They’ll love the anticipation of fun new games throughout the ride.

  • Joke Books: Keep everyone in good spirits by taking turns telling jokes from a joke book. You could also get a book of riddles for older kids.
  • Travel Board Games: Pack a few travel sized board games to play in the car. Magnetic games are especially handy because your kids won’t drop as many pieces on the floor.
  • Window Clings: Purchase a couple packs of window clings to let your kids decorate the windows and create imaginary scenes.
  • Simple Crafts: Simple craft activities like our travel spirograph can help keep little ones’ hands busy.

Road Trip Snacks:

A plate with small snacks like pretzels and peas
  • Turn snacks into another road trip activity! Bring a blindfold for your kids and have them use their senses to figure out what their mystery snack is. First, shake the snack around in its container to see if they can guess from sound. If not, they can smell the snack and make another guess. Next, they can try touching it. Still don’t know? Try tasting it! Once they’ve correctly guessed the snack, they can take off the blindfold and enjoy. To make this game last longer, pack multiple kinds of snacks in small portions.

Audio Activities for the Car:

A CD with kids songs
  • Pack the soundtracks to some of the family’s favorite movies, so everyone can listen (and sing!) along.
  • Listen to a kid friendly podcast or bring along an audiobook with a story the whole family might like listening to. You can usually check out audiobooks for free at a local library. Audiobooks can help your kids develop critical listening skills, while engaging their imaginations to picture the story without seeing it on a screen.

Get ready to hit the highway with your family! Our car games for kids will make the ride smooth by keeping everyone entertained and learning new things. We hope that these road trip ideas will help you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

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