Family road trips are like a rite of passage for some kids. Sometimes flying is an option, but when it isn’t, the car is some families’ preferred way of getting to and from their vacation destination. And before you rack your brain trying to figure out how to keep the kids happy and yourself sane during long car rides, you can try these fun car game ideas. In some cases, they are perfect for more than one kid to play along and actually get along without fighting over the iPad or trying to steal the other’s pillow. And in other cases, you too can play these car games with them.
Don’t get it twisted — you are still bound to hear the inevitable “Are we there yet?” from your kid when you are barely halfway through the drive to whatever far off destination you are traveling. But sometimes they need a little help to keep from getting so bored they turn their annoyances on you. That’s where car games come in. It might be easy to let the kids have at it with their technology for the duration of the car ride, but on road trips, even those kinds of distractions can get boring.
Bring back the basics with some of these car game ideas that are bound to get rid of the boredom and help your kids have fun.
1. Twenty Questions
You’ve probably played this game before, but the beauty of it is that it requires nothing but an imagination and some brain power. Your kids take turns thinking up an animal, sport, TV show, or anything else that falls under a specific category. Then, the other one asks yes or no questions until they figure out what the answer is without going over 20 questions.
2. Would You Rather?
You can search online for the best “either or” options for this game, or have your kids come up with them. Like, would you rather have feet for hands or hands for feet? The more you come up with, the sillier they get. The game itself has no winners, but it’s bound to provide a ton of laughter and entertainment for kids.
3. Story Time
Younger and older kids can have a lot of fun with this one. Someone starts off with a story and ends abruptly at any part. The next person continues where they left off, and so on. By then end, you’ll have a sort of mad lib story you’ll all be cracking up over.
4. The Name Game
Pick a category, such as animals, TV shows, or fruits. One kid names something from the category and the next player names another item from the category that begins with the last letter of the previously named item. The longer they can keep it going until one of the kids is stumped, the better.
5. Map I Spy
Almost everyone loves Where’s Waldo? books and this is just the road trip version of that idea. With this one, one of the kids tales out a map and finds a town or landmark on it. Someone else has to then look at the map and find what they described.
6. The License Plate Game
Give each of your kids a small map of the United States. Have them keep an eye out the windows at all passing cars and as they see different license plates from different states, they cross that state off on their maps. The first person to get them all or, more realistically, find the most in an allotted amount of time, wins.
Your kids will need a sturdy book or tray to use for writing on, but hangman is a classic any way you look at it. Your kids can take turns coming up with easy or complicated topics to work with as they try to best each other in games of hangman in the backseat.
8. Simon Says
Being in the car limits what kids can do in terms of Simon says, but it offers another easy and fun car game for kids. One of them starts off as “Simon” and thinks of silly things for the other to do and say. But, as with the classic game, they have to say “Simon says” before each command to actually make it official.
It’s easy to forget that kids have short attention spans, especially when stuck in a small space like a car. Even if you can handle a long car ride that takes literally all day, your kids might have a harder time dealing with being cooped up in a car for the majority of that time. So instead of dealing with the frustrations of their boredom, nip it in the bud with these fun, free, and easy car games for your next big road trip.