It seems that family road trips are making a comeback, especially for people who are interested in seeing the country from the ground instead of the air.
We all have the advantage of knowing how kids can start to feel antsy during road trips because we have experienced it ourselves as children.
Having a list of things to do during road trips is helpful for the entire family. The miles go by much more quickly for a child who is busy and parents have the joy of happily entertained children.
With all the things you already have on your to do list for going on trips (which includes packing for pretty much everyone!), we thought you would appreciate some assistance with the in-car entertainment!
These games do not have to be complicated at all.
For most of them, you only need your imagination and the optional piece of paper, so there is no worry about overpacking the car with a ton of activity related paraphernalia.
Keep this list at the ready for that time (probably within the first hour of your trip) that you hear the words dreaded by most parents….”I’m bored!” or, my personal favorite, “Are we there yet?”
You will be able to quickly change the vibe in the car by introducing any of the fun road trip games we have listed below. Best of all, you might all have a ton of fun and be at your destination before you know it!
Road Trip Games For Kids
1. Play Road Trip Bingo
I remember looking at road signs a lot when I was on a long road trip as a child. Younger kids would love playing road trip bingo to make the miles go by faster.
A great way to help supplement this game is with this colorful and fun road trip BINGO printable. Playing this game will help the kids keep their eyes on what is outside instead of spending hours on screen time!
2. Have A Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
One of the best ways to pass the time is to have the kids have something to look for.
Our road trip scavenger hunt printable will help set you up to get started with fun ideas for your next road trip.
The kids will be on such good behavior because they will be so busy looking for all the of items of their scavenger hunt!
For an added bonus, the winner could have the first choice of a treat at a fast-food restaurant!
3. See Who Can Find More Of Each Color Car
This next option is a road trip classic! It is a great game especially for kids who are getting more familiar with colors.
Everyone looks to see how many cars of each color they are able to find along the way.
To help keep track of the cars, we have this cute car color find printable to help keep track of everything.
You could also include bonus points for unusual colors, interesting designs or trucks with different store logos on them!
4. Spot Items Of The Alphabet
Starting with the letter A, spot items on your trip that start with corresponding letters. This is definitely a game that can include the entire family.
If you have little ones, it may be better to take turns and help them so they do not get lost in the shuffle of competition.
5. Ask Each Other Fun Questions
Road trips are great ways to get to know each other even better than you already do! Asking each other different questions can really give you a new insight into each member of your family.
The sky is really the limit with what types of questions you can ask. Sometimes the easiest way to start on these questions is to ask some that make your kids laugh.
A funny example of this would be gross would you rather questions! In addition to gaining instant interest, these questions will also get everyone laughing.
If your road trip happens to be during the summer, you can try out some great summer would you rather questions to celebrate the season of sun and fun!
You will definitely be surprised at the variety of answers you get as well as the priceless insight you may get into the personalities of the people in your family!
The most important thing is to listen and take in the answers from your little ones!
6. Tell Funny Jokes
There is nothing better than hearing jokes from little kids! It’s one of my favorite car activities.
If your joke bank is running low, we have you covered with jokes for young children.
If you have kids that have outgrown their car seats and may have a more sophisticated sense of humor, we have also included jokes for older kids.
Leave room for your kids to bring up jokes they have heard or even better, jokes they have made up by themselves!
7. Play Sevens
Each person in the car takes turns counting and anytime the number is a multiple of 7 that person has to say BUZZ or else they are out.
If you need to modify this game for younger kids, you can start with multiples of 2 and maybe work in teams so that an adult can help.
8.Play Cows And Graveyards
Each person in the car counts the number of cows they see, but when you see a graveyard, it cancels everyone’s cows. Designate one person to keep a tally of cows and graveyard losses.
The person with the most cows at the end wins.
9. Play Hey Cow
If you spot a herd of cattle, one player rolls down their window and YELLS “Hey COW!!” as loudly as they can. You get one point if the cow looks at you.
10. Play I Went To The Market
The person who starts says “I went to the market and bought (something that starts with A- apple, maybe). The next person has to remember apple and add something with B.
This memory game will give everyone’s brain some needed exercise!
11. Play The License Plate Game
Who knew that you could use license plates to help teach your kids about United States geography? That is precisely what this classic game is all about.
Print off a map of the United States for each family member. The maps will be used as score cards for everyone- kind of like a bingo card.
During the long car ride, each person keeps an eye on license plates of the cars on the road. If the license plate is from the state you are in, it counts for zero points.
If the license plate is from a state touching the state you are in, it counts for one point. Every state that touches a one point state is worth two points and so on.
When someone spots a license plate, they must call out the state to get the point for themselves. This is a perfect way to help your kids learn about different states and their locations!
At the end of your long trip, you can tally the points on each score card to declare a winner!
12. Play Guess The Animal
This is one of the best games to keep everyone busy and learning at the same time.
One person thinks of an animal and everyone takes turns asking only yes or no questions to figure out what animal that person chose.
For young kids, your best option is to keep answers and questions more simple to meet them where they are in their animal knowledge.
However, the entire family will be surprised at how much your kids really know about animals!
13. Play Name That Person
Select a person in a passing car and make up their life story. The story can be as silly and magical as you want.
Make sure you give them a good backstory and a lot of side characters to follow the main character on their life story journey.
14. Play The Strange And Unusual Game
Each time someone sees something strange or unusual, they get a point.
15. Play The Counting Game
One person in the car starts with 1, then someone else (randomly without being signaled) says 2. If two people say it at the same time, you start back at one. The end goal is to get to 20.
You will be amazed at how much this will make everyone laugh!
16. Play Name The Song/Artist
Playing this game is such a good way to have your travel music playlist work double duty for you!
It is also a one of the better road trip activities to take part in for those of us who experience motion sickness and have a challenge looking at things inside the car while it is moving.
There are a few variations of this game. You can play the beginning of the song to see if people can guess it.
You can also have someone say the lyrics to a song and everyone guesses.
Make sure you have a kid safe playlist that has songs that kids of all ages can identify!
17. Play Triple Threat
Someone says three random nouns and the other people in the car have to tell a story about the three items.
You could either have one person tell the tale, have each person tell a different story, or have everyone take turns and be involved in the same story.
No matter what you choose, this game will score high in the creativity and fun category!
18. Have A Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
Among some of my favorite road trip games has to be rock paper scissors! Make sure you go over the rules: rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper and paper beats rock.
If there is a tie, the people who tied get to go against each other again until there is no tie. The people who lose could wash the car windows on the next stop or help get snacks for the winners.
The tournament could resume after each car stop.
19. Play Punch Buggy
Also called Slug Bug or Punch Bug, this game consists of looking for Volkswagen bug vehicles. Make sure the kids are clear on what one looks like before you begin!
When someone spots a bug, he or she lightly punches the person next to them and says “Punch Buggy!”. A variation of this can be to include the color of the bug vehicle that was spotted.
You can designate a person to keep a tally of each family member’s finds. Designate one point for a found bug and take away a point for each time punch buggy is called in error.
Go over the level of punch with your kids to start or you can change the rules to have them tap each other. Sometimes the excitement of the game can lead to and overexcitement in the punch category!
That being said, keep the game light and fun and give each other kudos for their finds. The only out of bounds area for this game is when passing by a Volkswagen dealership, or else mayhem may ensue!
The winner can be declared the bug champion of the trip!
20. Play Mystery Phrase
It’s like telephone, but you spell the phrase out in a person’s hand. To help ease the guessing a little bit, you could come up with themes, like summer items, animal names or shapes, for example.
This game is sure to get the laughter going in the car!
21. Play Fortunately, Unfortunately
This storytelling game will help you all create a story with tons of exciting ups and downs!
The first person says something like:” Fortunately, I remembered to bring sunscreen”, and then the next person says something like “but unfortunately, it made my skin green!” and so forth while telling a silly story.
Every sentence starts alternately with Fortunately or Unfortunately, thereby changing the story for better or worse with each sentence. Kids will enjoy the general silliness of this game!
22. Play Mad Libs
You can find many stories online that you can use to play mad libs. Print them off and you are all set for some funny stories that can be different each time.
If you would like to reuse stories, depending on the length of the drive, you can put them in clear pocket folders and use erasable markers to fill in each blank.
23. Play I Spy
Each person starts their turn with the phrase “I spy with my little eye….” and then they give some form of description about an item they happen to see out the window of the car.
For example, someone might say “I spy with my little eye something green” and then everyone else in the car starts guessing items outside that are green until someone guesses correctly.
24. Play The Quiet Game
For the times when things have gotten too loud and rambunctious (especially in the back seats!), this game will help chill things out, at least for a while!
As the name suggests, the point of the game is to stay quiet. The last team or person to stay quiet the longest, wins the game.
While I can not guarantee that this game will last long, it will give at least a short break and most likely end in laughter!
25. Play The Category Game
One person chooses a category and a letter (for example, animals and the letter G). Then each person takes turns naming items in this category that start with the chosen letter.
So for our example we would have gorillas, goats, giraffes, gerbils, etc. The first person who can not think of a word for the category is out and gets to pick the next letter.
The remaining players continue to name items in the category, but now using the next letter that was chosen. You continue to play the game this way until everyone but one person is out.
The winner gets to choose the next category and letter for the next game.
26. Play The Name Game
The first person in this game starts off with the name of their choice. Then the next person has to figure out a name that starts with the last letter of the first name and so on.
For example: Adam, Mary, Yolanda, Aiden. Anyone who can not think of a name or repeats a name already used is out. The last person left at the end wins the game!
27. Play Two Truths and a Lie
One player tells everyone two things that are true and one thing that is a lie. Everyone else has to guess which of these is the lie.
This can be quiet challenging since you are most likely traveling with people who know you pretty well!
28. Play Tic-Tac-Toe
For this simple game you can use a piece of paper and pass it back and forth. If you want to do something a little different, you can find tic-tac-toe magnets and use a small cookie sheet to stick them to.
For a bonus, you can add other fun magnets with pictures of the alphabet that can encourage some independent play as well!
We sincerely hope that this list will help ease some of the pressures that can come with a long road trip.
Time together with family can be wonderful, but it can also feel like a lot when you are all crammed in a small space for hours at a time!
While not every minute has to be life changing and amazing, it is good to have a plan to keep the kids (and adults!) busy and happy.
Remember that it is also ok for the kids to do their own thing at times as well. While it is nice to do things together, you also need a break every now and then and that is definitely ok!
Have fun and enjoy those sweet moments where you are all enjoying yourselves and laughing so hard that your eyes are watering!
Happy trails and as always, you’ve got this!