Here we go! Another season of travel and adventure for the whole family. But as you know, when you travel to wonderful places there’s usually a bit of sitting in the car first. It’s the dreaded boredom zone for kids that can quickly escalate to tantrums and threats of turning the car around. To help avoid a breakdown on your next road trip, we’ve compiled a list of road trip games to play with the kids that can be played without the use of electronics. So, pack your bags, strap in the kids and let’s get our game on.
Games that don’t need supplies
For those times when the battery life is low or the WiFi signal is just not strong enough, use these great car games to keep all your passengers happy and engaged.
20 Questions/What am I?
Have one player think of a person, place or thing and the rest of the passengers take turns asking yes or no questions. For example, say the person is thinking of a dog. The first person to ask questions can say,”Is it a person?” The chance to ask a question continues to the next person if the answer is no. If the answer is yes, the same person can continue to ask yes/no questions until they get a no answer. The first person to guess it right, wins, unless they use up all 20 questions, then they lose.
Try to find the letters of the alphabet in order on road signs, billboard signs or anything else you pass like other vehicles or buildings. It’s fun to just play as a family, but to make it more competitive give a point to the person who calls it out first. For example, if the letter is G. a person can say, “G, Garden!” or “X, on that car’s license plate!”
Last Letter Game/ Last and First/ Word Chain
In this game, players think of a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. For example, if the first word is dog, then the next player will have to think of a word that begins with the last letter of the word dog, “g.” You can make it more challenging by giving the game themes like food, zoo animals or sports related words. If a player cannot come up with a word, then they are out (unless you have littles, then you can have them pass).
Cows on My Side
A simple concept for those road trips through rural areas. If you see a cow on your side of the car, shout “Cow on My Side” to get a point. If you see a cow on the other person’s side of the road, shout, “Cows on your side!” to get one of that person’s points. If you pass a cemetery, shout ”Ghost Cow!” and get all the other side’s points.
An old favorite among kids, this game focuses on giving clues to other passengers so they can take turns guessing something you see. The person who’s turn it is pick’s an item they can see either inside the vehicle or outside (of course, it should be something everyone will be able to see throughout the game). The player then offers a clue in the form of the statement, “I spy something… “ Then the other people in the car take turns guessing.
Pick a topic like ‘colors’ or ‘first names’ for the game. Then taking turns, players have 5 seconds to say a word for that theme. If they can’t do it within 5 seconds, they are out and it moves to the next person.
Spot a car of each color of the rainbow in order—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. This can take a good while to play, as orange and purple cars are often hard to come by. When you’ve finished, try it backwards!
Have the first person begin a story, but stop mid sentence. The next player picks up the story by completing the sentence and starting their own. They also stop mid sentence, allowing the next player to finish the sentence. This game doesn’t really have a winner, but it is fun to do and can create some hilarious stories.
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The first person starts with an unfortunately sentence. The next speron then comes up with a fortunately sentence that relates to the first.
Unfortunately, the boy dropped his ice cream.
Fortunately, he caught it.
Unfortunately, he caught it with his shoe.
Fortunately, a dog came and licked the ice cream off.
Unfortunately, it also stole his shoe.
A Stranger’s Story
This creative game is not about winning, but about making up a story for a stranger you may see while driving. Pick a person in another car you passed or can see, then take turns making up a story about them. The first person can give them a name. The second person can say where they are going and so on.
Need more Road Trip Entertainment? Check out these 10 Great Podcasts to keep the kids happy on the road!
Games you can buy
Check out some of the great games you can buy to bring along to make the good times happen.
All 50 States
If you are driving on a long trip, bring a pencil and paper to track how many different states license plates you see. Of course, the state you are in doesn’t count, but you can set different challenges like the state that is the farthest away or the state with the most license plates. Have family members predict who they think will win.
You can also print out lists of all 50 states and have each player mark off the state they found. Once you arrive at your destination or the next bathroom break, count the total for each person and the one with the most wins!
You can also buy this set:
License Plate Bingo
to bring a new angle to this game.
These zany story building word games are sure to bring a ton of laughs to the car. The classic activity for kids provides a template for a story with blanks placed throughout. One person asks the rest of the passengers to fill in the blank (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) without letting them know the context of the story. Once all the blanks have been filled in, that person then reads the story out loud to share the crazy creation. MadLibs can be found just about anywhere or you can have the kids create their own.
Road Sign Bingo
Encourage the kids to keep a look out the window with this fun, little bingo game. With cards that are easy to bring along, players can mark the image of items they see.
Games on the Go!
A collection of fun road trip games for the whole family. It includes some great classics but other games to make the drive fly by.
On the Go Wipe-Off Activity Pads
These cute books from Melissa and Doug are filled with fun little games and activities to keep the kids busy. They include dry erase markers so the fun can be on repeat.