Fun games to play in the car (for a family road trip!)
Have you ever noticed how the media portrays family road trips as this wonderful adventure filled with sing-a-longs and fun times?
But moms know the truth: a road trip is a recipe for disaster when it comes to dealing with bored children in the backseat.
While there’s nothing wrong with letting kids get bored (it’s actually great for helping them develop independence), a road trip is probably not the place for valuable life lessons.
Instead, you can help the time fly by playing games in the car.
Whether you are driving to a summer adventure or even the grocery store, here are some fun-filled games to play in the car, so no one gets bored.
Boredom-Busting Games to Play in the Car
Over the summer last year, our family took our first road trip!
We loved it. My twins were nine so there weren’t many mishaps or arguments. We were going to go for a road trip when they were six but my son got ill and we had to cancel.
And then, well, COVID-19 happened and we stayed home for two years!
So when we finally had a chance, we took it and have a blast.
Many of our car games came from this book!
1. License Plate Game
You can start a challenge to see how many different license plates you can spot from different states and provinces.
Bonus points if someone can find a license plate from a different country!
2. Create a Story
Get one person to start with “Once upon a time” and the introduction to a story.
The next person adds to the story, then the next, and so on.
You can set a time limit (so the story doesn’t go on forever!) or allow each person to only add three sentences.
3. Guess the Song
Take turns singing a song and see who can guess the song first. Or you can hum the song to make it more challenging.
4. Rest Stop Challenges
While there are tons of games to play in the car, not all of them have to be in the car!
Set up some challenges whenever you stop at a rest stop, like who can do the most jumping jacks or win a short race.
This is a great way for everyone to stretch out their muscles, especially on long trips!
5. Punch Buggy
Yes, this classic is still a popular game to play in the car!
Whenever anyone sees a Volkswagon Beetle, new or otherwise, they shout out the color (“Yellow punch buggy!”).
Traditionally, you would punch the person beside you, but I can see that inciting a riot in the backseat.
Maybe make up a points system for different colors instead?
6. Car Karaoke
Make a playlist of everyone’s favorite songs and have a road trip sing-a-long!
7. Song Challenge
Another fun musical game to play in the car is the song challenge.
Have someone start by singing a line from a popular song.
The next person has to take the last word of the line and use it as the first word in the next song.
8. Play a Trivia Game
Before your trip, grab a trivia game like Trivial Pursuit (you don’t need the whole board set up in the car) or print out some trivia questions.
Make sure your questions are related to everyone’s interests but throw in some educational ones as well!
9. Scavenger Hunt
Before your trip, make a list of items your kiddos may see during your travels (like cows, a transport truck, etc.).
Get them to keep track of what they see and see if they can find everything on your list.
10. Would You Rather?
“Would You Rather?” is a game where you ask each other outrageous “or” questions.
For example, “Would you rather eat a pizza covered with ants or a chocolate bar full of grasshoppers.”
They don’t have to be this gross, but they can certainly get wild!
11. Backseat Bingo
Print out some bingo cards featuring things your kiddos may see during the trip (kind of like the things on the scavenger hunt list).
The winner is the first person to get a line, four corners, or a full card – whatever you choose!
12. Two Truths and a Lie
Everyone takes turns saying three statements: two that are true and two that are a lie.
The other players have to guess which one is a lie!
13. The Alphabet Game
To play the Alphabet Game, simply choose a category (like animals or fruit), and everyone has to name something in that category in alphabetical order starting with A.
For example, Apple, Banana, Cantaloupe, etc.
You can make this game super challenging by having everyone repeat everything that was said before their turn!
14. Movie Trivia Games
There are many different movie trivia games you can play in the car!
You can get everyone to take turns describing the plot of a movie in the worst way possible and have others guess what movie they are talking about.
Or you can take turns guessing quotes from movies and tv shows.
15. Map Search
Take an old-school road map (no Google Maps!) and choose a remote location.
Pass it to another passenger and give them 60 seconds to guess the location you chose.
This fun story-like game alternates “fortunately” and “unfortunately” statements to create a silly story!
For example, Bob got in his car, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t start. Fortunately, he could ride his bike to work. Unfortunately, his bike had a flat tire.
Have your passengers count how many cows or horses they see out of their side of the car and keep track of the number.
If you pass a cemetery, whoever is sitting on that sie of the ccar loses all of their cows or horses.
18. Who Am I? Guessing Game
This guessing game to play in the car uses “yes” or “no” answers to guess the identity of a famour person.
One perso chooses a famour person in their mind and the other passengers take turn asking questions until someone makes the right guess.
19. Truth or Dare
Play a safe game of truth or dare by daring passengers to do something that can be done safely inside the car.
For example, they can plug their nose and sing the national anthem or try to touch their nose with their foot.
20. Rock, Scissors, Paper
Passengers in the backseat can begin a Rock, Scissors, Paper tournament.
Players bounce their firsts on their other hand three times before choosing rock (a closed fist), paper (an open hand), or scissors (two fingers in a v-shape).
Rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper, and paper beats rock.
21. Silly Rules
Let everyone come up with a silly rule that has to be followed throughout the entire trip.
For instance, everyone has to cluck like a chicken every time they drive under an overpass, or anytime the driver passes someone on the highway, everyone has to clap.
22. Never Have I Ever
Get everyone in the car to hold up five fingers. Then, everyone takes turns saying something they have never done.
If someone has done that thing, they put down a finger. Whoever puts down all of their fingers first loses.
23. Spelling Bee
Have someone look up difficult words on the phone and ask the passengers to spell them.
If a player spells the word incorrectly, the next person has a chance to try and spell it.
24. Tic Tac Toe
Tic tac toe is such a simple and classic game, but it’s a perfect game to play in the car, so no one gets bored!
Just provide your passengers with paper and pencils – and if you have multiple passengers, you can get as many games going as needed.
25. The Quiet Game
Are you looking for a way to get some peace and quiet during the trip? Get your kiddos to play the quiet game!
Basically, you see who can be quiet the longest and whoever speaks first loses.
Set a time and enjoy some peace and quiet!
Other Things You Can Do In the Car
You don’t have to plan tons of games to keep your family entertained during a road trip.
Here are some other things you can do in the car to prevent boredom:
- Listen to podcasts. There is a podcast out there on every topic! You can definitely find some kid-friendly podcasts your little ones will enjoy.
- Listen to audiobooks. Some people have a hard time reading in a moving car, so why not listen to audiobooks instead?
- Read stories out loud. Have one passenger read stories out loud to the other passengers. This is great for little kids!
- Watch movies. Download a movie or two onto a tablet and set it up so everyone in the backseat can watch.
- Pack lots of snacks! Make sure your little passengers don’t get hangry during your trip and make sure to pack lots of road snacks.
Games to Play in the Car to Have Fun!
Figuring out some games to play in the car will not only keep everyone from getting bored, but it’s a great opportunity to have fun and connect as a family!
Which games do you love to play in the car with your family?
Any I can add to my list?
Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to pin!