Road trips always bring joy, especially when you have kids in the back seat. However, a journey might be tiresome if there isn't too much fun for the little ones. So, what can parents do?
Here's the answer: Parents can choose the best road trip games for kids and entertain them during the journey.
We will present the most popular fun games for children, describe each in detail, and help you keep your kids entertained on the road.
Table of Contents
- A Wholesome List of All Fun Road Trip Games
- 1. I Spy
- 2. Rock, scissors, papers
- 3. Twenty questions
- 4. Making up stories
- 5. Quiz time
- 6. License plate game
- 7. Would you rather
- 8. Grocery store
- 9. Fortunately/Unfortunately
- 10. Song/Movie titles
- 11. Hangman
- 12. Scavenger hunt
- 13. Squares
- 14. Draw what you see
- 15. Pictionary
- 16. Alphabet game
- 17. Animal name game
- 18. Telephone designate
- 19. City, country, river
- 20. Word association
- 21. Sing-along challenge
- 22. Mastermind
- 23. Yahtzee
- 24. Activity booklets
- 25. Mad Lib
- 26. Books
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Bottom Line
A Wholesome List of All Fun Road Trip Games
Younger kids are excited at the beginning of the trip, but what happens in the middle of the journey?
As they get too tired, you need to think of multiple fun things to cheer them up. So let's see some of the best travel games to lighten the atmosphere.
1. I Spy
I Spy is one of the simplest travel games, as it requires only your imagination. The game is also excellent for boosting your child's observation power.
The person chooses an object to guess and sings, "I spy with my little eye something beginning with…". Then, they give the first letter of the thing they chose, and the rest of the passengers should guess the item correctly. Finally, the winner takes turns selecting another object for guessing.
However, this road trip game might be more suitable for older kids, as youngsters struggle with letters and spelling. So, if you have younger players, you can adjust the car game to their level and guess the colors or shapes of the objects instead of the first letter.
"I hear with my little ear" is another version of the I Spy game, particularly convenient for wildlife areas. It's a great game for toddlers as they can increase their wild animal interest and knowledge.
2. Rock, scissors, papers
Rock, scissors, papers is another fun game for young kids, as they are sitting relatively close to each other. The game is straightforward; each child shows one of the three symbols with their hands - rock, scissors, or paper. The rules are the following:
- Scissors beat papers
- Rock beats scissors
- Paper beats rock
However, you can add other shapes and play different versions with new rules.
3. Twenty questions
Twenty questions is an exciting car game for all family members. One passenger thinks of an animal, object, plant, or person. It must be known to other passengers. Then, the rest of the team come up with different questions to figure out who the mysterious person or object is.
Kids can only ask yes or no questions. Therefore, the primary goal for the passengers is to guess the object/person correctly before they ask more than twenty questions.
Sometimes, parents give additional explanations of the objects/persons they're thinking of to help their children guess. Or, you can change the rules - increase or reduce the number of questions allowed for the road trip car game if you notice your children struggling to guess the word. You can think of Disney characters or similar interests to ensure a fun road trip.
4. Making up stories
If you let your imagination out, you can become a skillful storyteller. In addition, storytelling is an ideal word game for a whole family, as everyone can take their turn to begin or finish the story.
For instance, the person starts by saying, "Once upon a time, there was a little…". Then you can let your little ones fill in the gaps. After that, each person can say a word or more to finish the sentence, then start a new one. But you can try with single sentences as well.
You can also add more rules, for instance, not repeating the words, starting with the last word, etc. Children like such fun car games as they can express their thoughts clearly.
5. Quiz time
Quizzes are ideal road trip car games, as kids learn in a fun way. Many parents call them pop quiz games.
The road games are perfect for two to six years old children and work best when you give multiple-choice options. Little ones take turns answering your questions. The questions must be age-appropriate to have more fun, and adjust the questions to your kids' levels, so they know the answers.
It might help to prepare the questions and hand them over once you notice the dull atmosphere. There are multiple quiz cars available if you cannot come up with the questions. The guessing game is also ideal for road schooling lessons.
6. License plate game
The license plate game is terrific for a long car ride across the United States. The main rule is to look for license plates from states other than yours or those you're currently in.
The whole family can play the road trip game, and the winner is the first person who notices and counts the license plates of all fifty states. Then, the license plate game ends. But, if you cannot count all the states, you can decide a winner with the largest number of states after the small bathroom break or similar longer or shorter breaks.
The activity is not only suitable for road trips, but for widening geography and history knowledge, as you can explain the modern history of the North American continent.
However, the license plate game can be played in variations. For instance, a player might spot a letter on the plate and say it out loud. The next person needs to form as many words as possible, starting with the given letter. The first player will write all words down. The player with the most words will be the winner.
7. Would you rather
Would you rather is another exciting road trip game to pass the time in the car, especially during the longer rides. The rules are simple: you will devise two or three terrible scenarios and ask other passengers to choose between them. The person answering has to explain why they picked a specific plan.
You can be as creative as you like. For instance, you can ask your family member: Would you rather wear diapers or wet socks for a week? Then the first person answers, the second, the third, etc.
Finally, you can think of new scenarios after everyone takes their turn or switch to a recent road trip game.
8. Grocery store
The grocery store activity is a twist on the classic alphabet game. You will say you're going to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. List out what you will buy, and start with the letter "A."
For example, the first person says, "I'm going to buy an apple." The second person repeats the previous sentence and adds a new item starting with the next letter - B. For example, they would say, "I'm going to buy an apple and a biscuit. The memory game continues until you use the entire alphabet.
You can change the memory game and choose a meal while the others have to say the ingredients necessary to prepare it. Limit the time for answers to thirty seconds in alphabetical order, without writing anything down.
The game requires hypothetical fortunate and unfortunate situations, and you can adjust the game to your kid's knowledge. For instance, you can say, "Fortunately, the scientists made a mistake, and now carrots can turn into cookies.
The next person gives the sentence beginning with "unfortunately." For instance, "Unfortunately, the cookies will color you orange," or another hypothetical situation. The game is over once every family member gives a few scenarios.
10. Song/Movie titles
In this game, passengers will quote a sentence from their favorite songs or movies, and others must guess them correctly. For example, someone can say, "My parents can't be spies - they're not cool enough!" In this case, others must think of the name of a movie - Spy Kids.
The same rule applies to songs and TV shows. Just adjust the rules to your kid's knowledge, or it will be hard for them to guess.
A hangman is a classic word game helping your little ones practice new letters and spelling in a competitive and fun way. You need a pen and paper, so the driver cannot play.
The first person starts by drawing lines and briefly explaining the word - a person, object, plant, animal, etc. Next, the players take turns guessing the word and say one letter. Then the host writes the letter as many times as it appears in the given word. A winner is a person who first guesses the word.
You can draw a snowman or use similar stick figures instead of a hangman if your kids dislike it. There are no strict rules, so think of creative ways to avoid boredom.
12. Scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt is one of the most famous road trip games to increase the observation power of your little ones. You should prepare a list before your road trip. It would help to combine different things you will see - road signs, cars, their colors, etc. you can also include natural features, buildings, vehicle types, and similar points in the game.
Give each kiddo a copy of the list. Illustrate it with various pictures for those who cannot read yet. Leave enough space for ticking off the objects once the kids notice them.
As with previous examples, you can change the rules of the Scavenger hunt game. For instance, you can turn it into a race or a bingo to see who will do the task first. And if you don't have to prepare and print the lists, you can find multiple printable options online.
The game is best for two people, so you can play it with your little ones on the road. You will need a pen and some paper.
The main object of the game is to make as many squares as possible. You can draw a dotted grid on the paper for a starting point. You will decide the grid's size, but it might be better to draw a larger one for a start with your kids. Next, two players take turns joining two dots by drawing a straight line between them. You cannot draw diagonally.
When a child completes a square, he/she will write the initials inside and get bonus points/bonus go. The game is over when the children join the whole grid. Then you can add the number of squares each of the players has claimed to announce the winner.
14. Draw what you see
The title says everything. Kids can draw the landscape - animals, trees, road signs, other cars, buildings, and everything else they see while in the car. The game might not work for every car ride, but you can take a more extended coffee break with the driver when it does.
Kids love pictionaries as these road trip car games work best with two or more kids. Your children will draw something and show it to each other. They will have to guess what the object is. You can focus on the road better and take a break while the kids are playing.
16. Alphabet game
Pay attention to the road signs for the game. The main objective is to find a word on each sign you pass, beginning with the letter of the alphabet, starting from A to Z. You will call them out as you drive. The first passenger to collect all letters is the winner of the word game.
However, you can play the game differently. For instance, you can choose the right-hand side of the road, and the others get the left. Then, you have to count all objects appearing on the road, starting from the letter A to Z. once you point out all the letters in the alphabetic order, you're a winner. However, the only person to count all letters is the winner.
17. Animal name game
Every person says their name and the name of the animal beginning with the same name—for instance, Gina, the giraffe. The next person says all the names and animals before their name and adds their own. The game starts again if a person messes up the order.
Another way to play the game is to begin with one animal name - a cat, for instance. The next player then must name another animal beginning with the last letter of the previous animal (cat - tiger). They must not repeat the previous animal. The next player then says rhino, etc.
18. Telephone designate
One person whispers a word or a sentence to the second person in the car. That person then whispers the same word or sentence to the third person, and so on. The last person to hear the word or sentence must repeat it correctly so everyone can hear it.
The game starts anew if the last passenger doesn't repeat the word/sentence correctly. You can also whisper stories instead of sentences or words.
19. City, country, river
City, country, river is one of the best word games, as kids can show their knowledge. It might be more suitable for older kids than preschoolers. You can choose an alphabet letter and say it out loud. Others must come up with the city, country, and river beginning in the same letter.
For instance: Miami, Mexico, and Mississippi. But, you can add mountains, national parks, and similar geographic points to make the road trip game last longer.
20. Word association
The activity is ideal for older children and youngsters. The first player says a random word out loud. Then, others must quickly tell other words associated with the given one. The steps repeat a few times, cycling between all the passengers. The game will end when a player takes too much time to connect the word with the given one.
21. Sing-along challenge
The activity carries a little rhythm. One player starts singing a verse from a popular song. Other players must pay attention to the last word sung. The next player to sing must begin with the last word from the previous singer. The game can last longer or shorter until some gets stuck with the words.
A player thinks of a secret word with a quantified number of letters, for instance, six. The rest of the players guess terms of the same length. They are told how many correct letters match the proper position in the word and how many letters are valid yet in the wrong place. The game continues until a player identifies the right word.
Yahtzee is an excellent board game for long car rides. It requires a pen, paper, and five dice. Kids cannot play it with their parents unless they have a travel method of the activity, but kids can play in the back seat for more fun on the road. And if you want a travel version of the game, you can find it on Amazon.
24. Activity booklets
Activity booklets are excellent fun road games containing puzzles, riddles, and mind games for your little ones. The main problem is that you don't know how long they can entertain your kids.
For instance, they might use the booklets for 45 minutes, yet sometimes they can only play for five or ten minutes and get bored. Therefore, it would be best to find road trip games inside the booklets to match your kids' interests and keep them occupied.
25. Mad Lib
Mad Lib is one of older children's most prominent fun car games. These road trip games aren't only for fun but teach your little ones sentence constructions and grammar points.
The rules are simple: you have a pre-written story with a couple of keywords missing. Players in the car need to supply words based on their function in the sentences (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc.). Players will fill in the words with random selections and read the story when completed.
Books are perfect road trip games if your kids love reading! You can prepare age-appropriate books in advance or pack them with your children. Of course, you will not forget their favorite ones.
You can pick books with a lot of illustrations for smaller children. For example, fairy tales or short stories and pictures will help them understand the plot better and keep them entertained.
However, books can cause car sickness, so if you have car-sick children, please use audio books instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you entertain kids on a road trip?
You can use multiple road trip games to entertain your kids on a road trip. You can select among our popular models and see what your kids like the most.
How do I entertain my six-year-old on a road trip?
You can choose various memory games, a single or multiple-player game with papers and pens to entertain your six-year-old child. Find activities that match their interests, as kids will spend a lot of time playing such games.
How do you play black magic?
To play black magic, you need to follow the rules: There are two spies to play this game. They will be referred to as Spy 1 and Spy 2. Spy 1 and 2 sit in front of other players. They explain that they can read each other's minds and will demonstrate this in a game of Black Magic. Then, Spy 1 leaves the room, taking a player with them as a watch (to ensure there's no cheating).
Once Spy 1 is away, Spy 2 will ask the other children to pick any object in the room and clarify the color. For example, "that yellow chair." When all the players agree on the thing, Spy 1 is called back into the room.
The Spy 2 will ask Spy 1 a series of questions: "Is it the white shoe?". Spy 1 will focus, use his mind-reading powers, and reply "no" to all the questions asked. Once Spy 1 knows the correct answer, he will say "yes."
How do I keep my five-year-old busy?
You can keep your five-year-old busy in the car by playing various road trip games, such as animal name games, license plate games, memory games, alphabet games, and similar activities without or with pen and paper.
How can I entertain my child in the car without screens?
To entertain your child without screens, you can play games, draw, count, listen to music, or listen to various audio books.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are multiple road trip games for kids to keep your little ones excited and entertained on the road.
Ensure you pick the games and activities to match their interests; otherwise, they can quickly get bored on long trips. Be as creative as possible, and always follow your child's imagination. You can learn a lot from each other.