From apple picking to autumn foliage, there are plenty of things to do and places to see come fall. Some of us may even wind up traveling long distances to tick these items off the fall bucket list.
If you happen to be driving by car, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared for a few hours on the road with some fun road trip games to play in the car for families.
Of course, a large part of that revolves around how to keep the kids entertained in the car. If you’re having a hard time thinking up ways to pass the time, keep reading. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of fun road trip games to play with the kids.
You can also check out our guide to planning the ultimate road trip for more fun things to do in the car. See our suggestions below!
22 Best Games to Play in the Car
1. Name the Artist
The first person to name the artist or group when a song comes on the radio gets a point. Keep playing until you reach your destination and whoever has the most points at arrival, wins. Need a great playlist? Check out our dance party tracks on Spotify here.
2. The License Plate Game
The goal is to spot as many license plates from different states as you can. Whoever sees a plate first and calls it gets to color it in on their map. The person with the most states colored in at the end, wins.
3. The Grocery Game
Choose your first player and ask them to think of an item you can purchase at the grocery store. Everyone else in the car takes turns guessing what it might be by asking a question. Is it something you would find in the frozen food aisle, perhaps? No? Guess again!
4. What Color is It?
Have the adults in the family list a bunch of things that are the same color. For example, they may say “fire engines, apples, stop signs…” They should keep going until the kids yell out, “Red!” Remember, road trips are long. The more items you list, the better!
5. Alphabet Game
Keep an eye out for road signs! The objective here is to find a word on each sign you pass that begins with each letter of the alphabet, starting from the beginning (“A” for Arby’s, and so on). Call them out as you drive by. First one who gets to Z, wins!
6. Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
Print out our Scavenger Hunt game card, one per player. First one to complete their card wins.
7. Punch Buggy
An ol’ fashion road trip favorite! See who can spot the most punch buggies, also known as the Volkswagen Beetle, on the road! When you see one, shout it out and include the color of the car (Yellow punch buggy!). Those kinds of sightings are worth one point.
Classic bugs are worth 2, and vans worth 5. Rare models, such as “Herby the Love Bug” are worth a whopping ten! Whoever has the most points by the time you reach your destination wins. Remember, the game doesn’t end until the car is parked!
8. I Spy
Because this one is already so well known, it won’t take a lot of instruction to learn how to play. The first person selects something either on the road or in the car without revealing what it is to the rest of the players in the car. Then they must repeat the phrase, “I spy with my little eye something that begins with the letter …” as it relates to the answer.
The other passengers then try to guess what it might be. While it’s not the most complex car game out there, it is a great way to help young kids develop their spelling and grammar skills, particularly those who are still getting familiar with the alphabet.
9. 20 Questions
We’ll admit that when driving through long stretches of rural area, “I Spy” might not be the best choice to entertain the kids with. 20 Questions, on the other hand, offers endless opportunities for road trip entertainment and is a great choice for games for long car rides.
Pick out a person, place or thing. Everyone in the car can take turns asking yes-or-no questions about what it is, or who it is, you may be thinking of. No two people should ask the same question, and no one can answer more than 20 questions.
Whoever guesses the mystery object first goes next!
10. Triple Threat
Next on the list of road trip games to play on car rides is the Triple Threat. Here, the adults must choose three nouns, like “plate,” “monkey” and “snow,” for example. The kids have to create a story that includes all three things. Be warned: things will get very silly, very fast.
11. Category ABCs
As far as games for a car ride go, this one is pretty straightforward. Have the first player choose a category and name something that begins with the letter A.
The next person does the same, only their answer should begin with the letter B. The next person is in charge of letter C, and so on. Some examples for the “food” category include Apples, Broccoli, Cookies…
12. Car Color Search
A perfect game for younger kids. Print out one game card per child and let them circle the car colors as they spot them.
13. Would You Rather
Here’s another kid-friendly exercise: Choose one person to think of a question. For instance, Would you rather be the funniest person alive, or the smartest person alive?
You can direct these questions to everyone in the car or take turns providing answers. Of course, when it comes to playing these types of games in a car, it’s important to make sure you’re well prepared.
You can always print out some questions ahead of time to make sure you don’t run out of ideas when on the road.
14. In My Suitcase
Why not sprinkle a fun memory game into your road trip experience? The first person starts by saying, “I’m going on vacation and I packed…” Finish the sentence with any item that begins with the letter A.
The next player must repeat the sentence said by the first player and add an item to the list beginning with the letter B. Keep going and see how many letters you can get through before someone forgets!
15. Name the Most…
Decide on a category and go around the car to see how many related items you can name. For example, you can start with Disney princesses or characters from a specific movie.
You can up the competition a bit by having the passengers bet on who can name the most within the shortest amount of time. If challenged, each opponent must provide an answer within 5-10 seconds. Whoever gets stumped first, loses.
16. Sing Along Challenge
Looking for games that carry a little rhythm? Look no further. To play, one person starts singing a line from a popular song. Passengers must pay attention to the last word sung.
The next person to sing a line must make sure it begins with the same word. See how long it takes until someone gets stuck!
17. The Movie Game
Here’s another fun game to play during a long car ride. Have someone in the family suggest a letter. For instance, if they chose to begin with T, then everyone else in the car must think of movies that begin with T, as in Toy Story and so on.
Once you get through that category, you can begin moving through the alphabet.
In need of a few more fun car games to get you through the drive? Get everyone in the car to respond to a series of hypothetical questions, like, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”. Or, “If you could transform into any kind of animal, what would it be?”.
Brownie points for whoever provides the most creative answers!
19. Count the Animals
For this game, you must name a series of objects or animals to look out for when on the road. You can choose any number of things, from cows to road signs to yellow cars and more.
Keep a tally of every object on the list that you spot. Whoever has the most points by the end of the road trip wins!
20. Top 10 Game
This one can be applied to almost any subject. Into cars? Have the family come up with the top 10 favorite models. Maybe you’re a musical fanatic. Ask everyone in the car to volunteer their favorites until you get to 10.
Any Robert Pattinson fans in the family? Come up with his top 10 roles!
21. Backseat Bingo
Looking for more fun games to play in the car? Check out this next activity. Before you hit the road, print out these bingo cards. They have different sheets available for different areas, so print according to where you’re traveling.
Each player should take a good look at their cards and keep their eyes on the road to spot items along the way. The first player to cross out a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of their bingo sheet, wins!
We hope you enjoyed our list of road trip games to play in the car! Don’t forget to take photos along the way and share on social media. Tag us in the fun! Check back in with us soon for more things to do with the family.
Each week, we’re bringing you some original ideas on how to have family fun at home, at the lodge and when you travel.