When traveling with kids, the journey is half the fun. These road trip games to play in the car definitely add FUN to any road trip. Each provides hours of laughter and makes the time you spend in the car fly by.
Whenever we travel, we love to play games with the kids. I love trivia games, especially geography-based trivia. My kids love to play classics like I Spy and Car Bingo. It makes the travel time fly by and we have so much fun doing it. Here are some of our favorites.
Games to Play in the Car
There are some games that will never go out of style. These first few games are ones I played as a child and now play with my children. They keep everyone entertained and laughing for hours and hours.
Road Trip Bingo
Travel bingo is a classic road trip game. It forces players to look up and out the window. It’s hard for them to be bored if they are actively looking for something on their board. For years, we used these reusable Insterstate Highway Bingo boards from Outside Inside Games (Shown below). Now we make our own and I share a versions of my travel bingo card printables here (shown above). To make them reusable, I slide in the printed sheet into a gallonn sized plastic bag. That way we can use a dry erase marker to check off what we find.
Would You Rather?
Ask each other questions that make them choose between two funny or just plain weird things. The object is to stump the other person and make them really think about their answer. Here are a few examples: Would you rather swim with a shark or hang upside down with chimpanzees? Would you rather eat wriggling octopus tentacles or a bowl of earthworms?
Everyone gets to take a turn “spying” something and everyone else has to try and guess what it was so that they can have a chance to “spy” the next object!
Name That Tune
Player 1 starts humming a song, and then Player 2 has 30 seconds to guess the song. If the song isn’t guessed correctly, the next player can guess what it is. We also played it with the radio to see who could guess the song first. We stumped the kids with 80’s rock because they called it “really old music”. Go figure.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Count to 3 and then throw down the flat hand for paper, fist for rock, or 2 fingers peace sign for scissors. Rock beats scissors. Paper beats rock. Scissors beats paper. All ages can enjoy the game, and of course there are no pieces and the score doesn’t matter!
No one travels well when they are hungry. So for every road trip, we pack a variety of travel snacks for the kids.
The Quiet Game
The goal of the Quiet Game is be the play that is the quietest the longest. I pull this game out whenever we are in traffic and could use with a bit of silence. There are two ways to play, have an open-ended time limit whether the last person to make a sound is the winner. Second version is to pull out a timer and set it for a certain amount of time (10-15 minutes is good).This version often results with a tie.
Take turns going around telling your favorite joke. Did you hear about what happened to the penguin, the horse, and the monkey? If you need a little help, see these family jokes from Scary Mommy.
These 7 geometric shapes can be combined in thousands of ways to create pictures. Race against another person to see how can craft a specific picture first or just play on your own. This wooden tangram set from Outside Inside Games
Here are other tangram based puzzles and games:
Car Sing Along
Practice your singing chops for karaoke. Sing along to the radio or create your own custom road trip playlist.
Show off your best impressions and have others try to guess who you are impersonating.
If you want a good laugh now, take a look at these funny camping memes.
Pin this for later….
The object of 20 Questions is to discover the mystery thing using yes or no questions. To play, one person thinks of a mystery person, place or thing for others to guess. Then everyone else takes turns asking yes/no style questions about what the first person is thinking of (Is it Blue? Is it something I can eat? etc.). After each answer, the questioner gets one guess as to what the mystery person, place, or thing is. Play continues for up to 20 questions or until a player guesses correctly.
Tic Tac Toe
You just need two players, a pencil, and paper to play. Player one places an X on the grid and player two places an O. This repeats until a player gets three in a row.
This is a classic style board game similar to Chutes and Ladders made into a magnetic travel game by Purple Cow. Roll the dice and move your pirate along the path towards the treasure. But watch out because if you land on the wrong spot, you’ll have to go backward instead of forward.
Here are some other fun magnetic board games perfect for road trips
50 Road Trip Games for Kids
50 Road Trip Games: Challenging Fun for a Memorable
Word Games to Play in the Car
The Alphabet Game is a classic word game to play in the car. Players take turns saying a word starting with each letter in the alphabet. The trick is they have to see that word or object while traveling. They can use road signs, businesses along the route, vehicles, billboards, etc.
To pay the first person finds an “A” word and when found announces “A – Amarillo city limit sign”. Then the next player says a B word. Play continues until a Z word is found. Players can compete with each other to see who finds all the letters first or join forces for a cooperative team game. Here every player takes a turn and says a word
A player thinks of a noun that other players have to guess. The player that selects the word indicates the number of letters the word has by marking spaces on a sheet of paper below hangman scaffold. Other players guess one letter at a time. If they guess correctly it is noted in the appropriate space. If their guess is wrong, the body is drawn on the scaffold one piece at a time. Player wins when he/she guesses all the letters before the hangman is complete.
First person picks a word and then everyone has to say a rhyming word. Play continues until someone repeats or can’t think of one.
Players take turns adding 1 word after the other to make up a sentence. Players repeat the sentence before adding their word and keep going until there are no more possible words for the sentence. Those who make a mistake are out. Imagine the silly sentences created, especially when the younger kids get involved.
Similar to sentence but you don’t repeat all the words. You just add one word at a time to create a full story.
Educational Road Trip Games
If you are looking for a game that will be fun but also challenge your minds while traveling in the car these educational games will be just right!
Host a Spelling Bee
Everyone takes turns spelling the words that the others come up with! This will give you a great chance to use your minds while traveling in the car.
Movie Related Spelling Bee
A variation on a spelling bee using words from your favorite movie; Game of Thrones, Lion King, Harry Potter, etc.
Be sure to also check out our road trip essentials.
License Plate Scavenger Hunt
Sharp your geography skills and be on the lookout for license plates from different states. You can print off a blank map before your trip and color in the states you find or print off this license plate game printable. You can also make a list of the states you find and keep a tally.
Before you leave you can create a scavenger hunt of objects you’d expect to find along the drive. It could be places, colors, animals, signs, car manufacturers or models, etc. Once in the car, the family would have to watch for those items and check them off. Winner is the first person to find them all.
Find my outdoor photo scavenger hunt and blank checklist printable. I also share a tip on how to make printables reusables and waterproff with a gallon sized plastic bag.
License Plate Math
As you search for different states, practice your math skills along the way. Write down the plate numbers, taking out any letters. You can compare who has the largest or lowest number. Add up each number and see if you get the same results.
Play one starts off the list was an item. Next person repeats what’s on the list and adds another item. Everyone goes around adding one more thing until someone misses one…then you get to start again! Instead of playing this game with a specified category just go crazy and let anyone add whatever type of item they want to the list! Cats, houses, the Appalachian Mountains, you never know what might come up. This is a great way to encourage conversation as a family unit; eventually someone is bound to be confused about what someone adds!
A great way to enjoy educational family fun. We really like the Professor Noggin’s Education Trivia Card Series that come in a variety of topics. Choose from National Parks, Wonders of the World, to the Parts of the Human Body. Regardless of the topic you choose, you’ll be working out your most important muscle!
Here are more top picks for trivia games.
Brain Twister Puzzles
Engage your brain with puzzles that can be taken apart and put back together. These Brain Twisters are far more difficult than your average Rubik’s Cube making them perfect for teens and adults. This set of three brain teaser puzzles are from Outside Inside Games.
Mad Libs are always fun. You complete a premade story by inserting random words. Great way to learn what an adjective does and laugh while doing it. Do them solo or as a family. Ithink the family version is a lot more fun.
Rest Stop Games
Sure you want inside games for when you are in the car. What about games for when you stop to stretch your legs? We pack those too because when we make rest stops, we want to get moving away, stretch out, and work off a little energy. Here are a few ideas.
These soft bocce balls from Outside Inside Games are perfect for travel. They are soft versions of the classic game where you try to get as close to the jack as possible. But they also bounce off walls and float, so you can create new games with them ranging from catch to keep away.
Activities while at a rest stop
- Running in an open space or field
- Playing catch
- Tossing a frisbee
- Balancing on a curb or painted line
- Jumping between squares or on cracks on the sidewalk
- Go for a walk with a buddy
- Set up a slackline
Do you have any tried and true road trip car games that you play on family trips? How do you keep everyone in a good mood while traveling in the car?