17 Fun Games For A Family Car Trip

Tired of the sentence “Are we there yet?’” in your road trips? These are the famous words that every under 10 year old on a road trip will utter ad nauseam. The most effective way to counter and put an end to the incessant repetition of ‘Are we there yet?’ is to say, ‘Let’s play a game’. The game better be good or you know the consequences.

So here’s a list of popular games that can be played by all in a car. These games don’t require any gadgets or props and you can get as creative as you like with each one.

Here’s to fun filled family road trips!

License Plates

There’s a lot you can do with number plates depending on the age of the children travelling. You could start with first person to see A-Z is the winner; first person to see numbers 1 to 10 is the winner; make words using the letters in the licence plate number; first person to add up the numbers and say ‘odd’ or ‘even’ is the winner; first person to add up all the numbers on the plate correctly; or even first person to identify which state the vehicle is from based on registration number is the winner.

I Spy With My Little Eye

This classic boredom buster requires one person to look around and choose an object that has to be guessed by the others and say, ‘I spy with my little eye something that begins with the letter….or something the colour…..or something that starts with the sound’ (if kids are too small to spell yet you can use phonics). The person with the correct answer gets to go next. In our car I am always exempt from this game as I claim I have mind reading abilities and always guess the right object when it’s our son’s turn to select the object. Yes, wicked me! 😉

Unique Cars

This game can involve pre deciding points for each type of not-so-common vehicle on the road. First person to spot that vehicle gets the points allocated to it. This can also evolve into the Banana Game where anything that is yellow can be counted as a banana from a yellow car to a yellow flower. The person who spots the maximum number of bananas in a stipulated time frame is the banana king or queen.

Fortunately – Unfortunately

This game is also ideal to get the creative juices flowing. One player is required to make a statement using the word unfortunately, for example, ‘Unfortunately it has started raining on a bright sunny day.’ The next player has to counter that statement using the word fortunately which for this turn could be, ‘Fortunately it rained as we can now see two beautiful rainbows.’ The sillier and more absurd the situations the more fun this game can be.

Find the Alphabets

This can be a team game if you like. Using everything and anything you can see outside the car from hoardings to license plates, the team to find the alphabets A-Z first are the winners.

Spin a Yarn

This game can go on for hours and encourages creativity. All you need to do is start the opening sentence of a story for eg, ‘Once upon a time in the land of La Lurple lived a witch who loved everything purple.’ Each player has to add a sentence to build on the story and it can go on for a few hours or a few minutes. You can add rules such as the sentences have to rhyme or then even have the kids illustrate the story when you get to your destination.

Name the Song

This game presumes that your players can hum or whistle in tune. The first person who gets a turn has to hum or whistle a tune while the others have to guess the name of the song. If humming or whistling is too tough then let all try and guess the name of a song on the radio or CD.

Spot the Word

Each player has to choose a word while the music is turned off. After the words are fixed, turn on the music or radio on and listen carefully to the lyrics. The person whose word is mentioned first in the song is the winner. Assign some random gifts like useful item water bottle humidifier for dry weather.

Picnic shopping

This is a memory game that requires the first player to start with, ‘I went to the shop and bought….’ this first item has to be something that is for a picnic and begins with the letter A. The next person then has to say he or she bought the previous item as well as then something with the letter B and so on with each person needing to remember the previous items and also come up with something exciting for the picnic basket.


Every road trip route is likely to come up on a few tunnels at least. While kids learning to count might enjoy counting from the start to finish of the tunnel, older passengers (barring the driver ideally) can try and see who can hold their breath the longest from start to finish of the tunnel.

A-T-L-A-S – Atlas!

Almost every child who travels on a school bus will know this one. It’s a game that makes geography fun. The first person has to name a country, state, city or continent. The next player has to use the last letter of that country, state, city or continent to name another place. Be ready to look through maps for added fun once the popular names have all been called out.

Stone, Paper, Scissors

Another school bus popular game is stone, paper, scissors. The players (ideally only two)  need to make a fist with one hand and say together, ‘Stone, paper, scissors’ as they swing their fists up and down. Just after the word scissors has been said, the players have to make a gesture of either palm open to denote paper; V with index and middle finger to denote scissors; or fist closed to indicate rock. The winner gets a point based on strongest object used as gesture. The logic being stone beats scissor, scissor beats paper, and paper can cover a stone so it beats stone. Same gestures are a tie and need a re-play.

Count the….

Even the youngest counters will love this game that requires only for each one to call out loudly each time they spot whatever has been selected to be counted. This could be cow, dogs, birds, red cars, men in blue turbans…. the list is endless. For little ones if you select animals, have them make the sound that the animal makes when they spot it.

Spelling Fun

This is a simple homemade version of spell bee. You can organise a championship to determine who the best speller in the family is. Keep some DIY tools like bottle cutter for using empty beer bottle and make some thing good once return from trip.

Guess Who

Taking a cue from the board game of the same name, this version requires one player to think of a person who can be someone that the entire family knows or even a historical figure. The other players are required to ask questions that will elicit only a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to try and discover who the person is thinking about. Questions can range from gender, hair colour, facial hair, and typical attire to other distinguishing physical characteristics.

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