Road Trip Games to Play in the Car With Your Kids

Road Trip Games to Play in the Car With Your Kids

Heading out on a road trip with your family is an exciting time. You have adventures planned from the moment you hop into the car until the moment you arrive at your destination. Your car is packed. You’ve got plenty of snacks.

But five minutes into the drive, you realize you need something for your kids to do during the drive. You know kids love technology, but pushing a tablet or phone at your kids doesn’t necessarily promote togetherness. Instead of using technology to fill the time, use this an opportunity to play some good old-fashioned road trip games. Here are a few to try:

The alphabet game

Use the world around you to find the letters of the alphabet in order. You might find the letter A on a billboard and the letter B on a license plate. Continue finding the letters of the alphabet until you’ve found them all.

License plate game

This game is lots of fun when you’re travelling a long way or in a popular tourist area. Use a pad of paper to write down the names of the license plates you see. The goal is to get all 50 states. Bonus points for foreign plates. Get the whole family in on the fun of searching for different plates. This game can also be played while you’re playing other games.

I spy

Perfect for younger kids, I spy is a game the whole family can play. During this game you take turns saying, “I spy with my little eye…” and then give a clue as to what you’re looking at. Everyone takes a turn guessing what you spy.

20 questions

Another great game for younger kids is 20 questions. It’ll keep your family busy for a long time. One person thinks of a person, place, or thing. The other players take turns asking questions. All questions must be answerable with “yes” or “no.” You can go until the team guesses the correct answer, or until you hit 20 questions.

Rest stop challenge

Sitting in the car all day long is hard on everyone. But, it’s especially hard on kids. At every rest stop, engage your children in a physical challenge. Time them for one minute and see who can do the most jumping jacks, push-ups, or squats. Your kids will savor the opportunity to move and it will get them ready for the next stage of the trip.

Games on paper

You don’t need a lot to stay busy during a car trip. If you have a paper and pencil you can play many different kinds of games.

  • Tic tac toe – A favorite game of both old and young, tic tac toe is easy to play. Draw a 3x3 grid. Player one goes first and draws an “x” somewhere on the grid. The next player draws an “o.” This continues until one player gets 3 in a row.
  • Hangman – For older kids, hangman is simple to play. One person chooses a word. They underscore however many blank spaces it would take to spell the word. The other players take turns guessing letters and finally guessing the word. For each wrong guess, the first player draws parts of a body to try and “hang” a stickman. If the group doesn’t guess the word before all parts of the stickman are drawn, they lose the game.
  • Dot-to-dot – Fill a paper with dots that are evenly spaced into rows. The first person taking a turn draws a line connecting one dot to another. Then the other player does the same in their chosen area. This continues until a square is closed in. When this happens, the player who connected the last line on the square writes their initial in the square. The game continues until all the squares are filled. The person with the most initials wins.


When you’re tired of everything else, a deck of cards can save the day. It’s easy to pack and most of us have a store of fun card games in our memories. Games like “Go Fish” or “Crazy Eights” are a fun go-to. But if you’re tired of the same old games, check out a book of card games from the library or look up more ideas online.

Your family’s road trip doesn’t have to be a lot of boring sitting, interspersed with fun stops. Make every minute count by playing games in the car with your kids. You’ll find it doesn’t take a lot of effort or planning to have fun.