Car Games for Kids

Car Games for Kids

Growing up my family competed in EVERYTHING. Monopoly was an all day event, full of arguing, negotiating, betrayal; it would best be described as a Shakespeare play and if you were lucky everyone would be on good terms again in two to three days. We also loved traveling. Whether it was to Montana or Mexico, we were always in the car going somewhere. Road trips brought a special opportunity to combine our love of traveling and love of games. The games made the trip more enjoyable. We weren’t the “are we there yet kids,” we were the “no we aren’t tied, I called that plate first” kids.

I thought this was normal and reflective of everyone’s childhood… Like everyone else when they hit the real world, I found out that our experience was not the ‘norm’. I was talking to a friend of mine and he was telling me how he was dreading taking his two kids on a trip to Oregon. His main worry was how to keep them entertained when they hit areas without internet; what are the kids going to do without Netflix!?! At the risk of sounding like an old man, I think it sucks that we rely solely on tablets or phones to entertain us. The idea of entertaining ourselves has become foreign, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Aside from car games being a great way to spend time with your kids, and make an 8 hour trek feel like 3, it’s also great for kids brain development. It promotes creative thinking and problem solving.

So in addition to cliche 80’s-90’s songs for your playlist, add a few of these games to your trip and see if it doesn’t help make those long hours a little shorter.


License plate game: This one is easy and most people know it, spot the out-of-state plates and a bonus point if you can name the state capital. While I never saw the point of memorizing state capitals, it was fun stealing a point from my sister when she couldn’t remember Nevada’s capital. (It’s Silver City, Andrea).


20 Questions: You pick a person, place, or thing, and everyone in the car has 20 questions to try and figure it out. This game is great for kids under 15.


One word story: Everyone in the car tells a story together, saying 1 word at a time. Or a common alternative is everyone adds one sentence to the story. Its like a madlib book, without the book and kids love the silly nature of it.


Eye Spy: The game is simple you pick an object (a tree for example) say “I spy with my little eye something green.” Then everyone in the car takes turns guessing what the object is. This is my 5 year old son’s personal favorite. It made two hours in traffic to Disneyland fly by.


This or That: You pick a silly topic, and the car argues about it: Ninjas vs samurais? Summer vs Winter? Christmas vs Halloween? Would you rather skydive or swim with sharks? Who was the best batman?Don’t be afraid to burn through topics until you hit something people feel passionate about.


Questions: You have to carry a conversation using only questions. First person who doesn’t use a question, or takes too long to respond loses. This is an old theatre game, but is a lot of fun and is harder than you think. The main rule is that you can’t repeat the other player(s) and the conversation has to be somewhat coherent.


Name that song: Put on the radio, first person to name the song and artist gets a point.


Six degree of Separation: Pick two celebrities, and the challenge is finding a connection between them using 6 or less other people.


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