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6 Road Trip Games to Play with Kids In Your Car

Top Family-Friendly Road Trip Games

Road trips are the best, aren’t they? Time with your little ones that you can focus on them and spend time bonding. I love road trips when we’re not in a rush to get to our destination. However, if I’m being totally honest here, there’s something about a road trip when we’re rushing to get there. I’m not sure that my kids agree with me here, but I try hard to turn that “rushing” into something fun for my kids.

Today, I want to share with you six road trip games that are perfect for in the car when you’re in a rush: Elephant, Turtle, Porcupine, I Spy, Alphabet Game, Guess the Song, Trivia and What Am I Thinking Of?

Driving is the most common way of transportation in many countries. It’s kind of boring to sit down quietly during driving, especially when your kids are with you. Road kids occupied on the trips are the best. If you’re an adult who loves road trips, I’m willing to bet that you had parents or grandparents who took you on one when you were a kid.

Some of my earliest memories are of riding around in my dad’s big blue Pontiac Catalina, listening to AM radio, stopping for Frosties at Wendy’s, and seeing the world go by from the side window. There’s just something about a road trip that’s exciting, adventure-filled, and fun. It also gives you those moments of “stop and smell the roses” as you drive past a field of daisies or spot a herd of cows in a pasture.

But for kids? Well, they usually want to get somewhere. Fast. And when you’re on a road trip with them, it’s easy to feel like the journey is more important than the destination. For some parents that can be a bit of a problem – trying to keep your kids from going stir crazy while you drive down I-4 through central Florida toward Disney World for instance.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important things to remember when you’re on a road trip with your kids and give you some tips and tricks that will help make your journey more enjoyable for everyone involved.

What Games You Can Play in the Car

You can play several games with your kids in the car, according to their age group. Your choice of the game also depends on the length and duration of your trip. Here are some common games that you can play with your children:

1. Elephant, Turtle, Porcupine

We play this game when we’re in the car and my kids are getting antsy. I say “Elephant” they waddle/slide their feet like an elephant is walking. Then I say “turtle”. Then they slowly crawl on the floor pretending to be a turtle.

“Porcupine” makes them put their hands up to make spikes on their back and feet! The rules are simple: when they ask if we can play a game, we say “ok, let’s play Elephant Turtle and Porcupine,” then we each take a turn.

When it is your turn you say an animal and the action. Then the next person has to say an animal with that same word in it but add another body part from head to toe, so it could be Elephant Nose or Turtle Head. The kids love it but we adults will too! I hope you get a chance to play this fun game with your kids.

2. I Spy

We play this game when we are not in the car as well, but it’s also great for road trips! I say “I spy something green and point to a tree outside and they have to find it. Then we go back and forth until we spy all the things that we can find that are green out of our windows!

This is a fun game for kids to play in the car – I spy something. You can use this method for nearly anything that you are watching out the window of your car, so it’s perfect when traveling long distances or on a family vacation.

The first person chooses an object and says “I spy something ________.” The second person has to guess what the object is. The first person can say, “You’re getting warmer” if they are close, and “You’re getting colder” if they aren’t very close at all.

If the second person guesses correctly or gives up, then it’s their turn to choose an object and say “I spy something ________.” This game can last as long as you like.

This is one of the oldest traveling games in many countries around the world. It’s fun and easy to play. Spying means finding something that can be seen from your current location. The person who guesses first wins the game. To make it more interesting and challenging for kids, you should set some rules like:

  • Be as specific as possible; i.e., don’t say ‘car’ but mention the model and color.
  • Don’t spy on things that move (e.g., people, birds, airplanes) or that are too small (e.g., ants).
  • Only guess objects that can be seen from your current position; don’t try to spy anything on the other side of the road or behind you.

Suggested Topics

  • The color of the car in front of you
  • Number plates within your field of vision
  • Buildings around you, or things that are painted with different colors

This game is for younger kids who love to play make-believe. You can set a simple story for them to follow. For example, suppose you are going on a picnic, so you say:

Today, we are going on a picnic and everyone will bring something for the meal. In this game, I’m going to be a mommy and I’ll give you some clues as we drive further. You have to guess what you’ll be bringing for the picnic.

You might also mention other family members in your story, which will make it more interesting for kids. They’ll try to imagine how their friends or grandparents are doing on that trip.

Remember to keep it fun and make sure the other person has a good time guessing what you’re spying too!

3. Alphabet Game

My kids love playing the alphabet game on road trips. My youngest daughter is working on recognizing her letters (but can’t yet read), so I call out a letter and she calls back the first word that she sees starting with that letter. My son knows all of his letters, but can’t yet read, so he’s still learning to recognize words starting with each letter. It’s great practice for both my kids!

I’m sure that every parent has experienced this situation. For some time now you have been talking to your child about the same thing, but he just doesn’t get it yet. Or maybe he hasn’t even noticed what you are pointing out to him.

The alphabet game in the car is perfect for practicing letters because children almost always have to sit down and be focused on what is happening inside the car.

If your child knows how to recognize letters, this game will help him practice turning his focus from outside (the road) to inside (the car). He has to pay attention and listen carefully because you will give clues only about letters that are visible in the street or front of the car.

The alphabet game in the car is a great opportunity to practice matching letters and recognizing them. You can even encourage your child to find letters that he sees on signs, houses, or other things outside. Give him a hint if he still has trouble finding a letter: “Look at the second E from the left on the green sign.”

4. Guess the Song

This game is good for slightly older children who know English songs well. It’s also great for those who can recognize songs just by listening to their beat.

The person in the back seat has to guess the title of a song that is being played on the radio or from your mobile phone. If you’re not sure about the name of the song, don’t hesitate to ask “What was that song I just heard?” to make the game more interactive.

In this game, one person chooses a song from their iPhone playlist and starts it. The first person to guess the title of the song correctly wins an imaginary point. If you win consecutively three times, your opponent must sing a line from the chosen song in front of everyone else. The game begins whenever someone wishes to play.

Person 1: *Picks a song on their iPhone playlist and starts it*

Person 2: *Walks around the car humming to find the song*

Person 2: “I got it! What is this? Is it, ‘Uptown Funk’ by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars?”

Person 1: *Looks at the playlist on their phone* “No, it is ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams.”

This is a fun way of learning new English songs, especially for kids who love music.

5. Compete in Trivia Games

I love using the Trivia Crack App with my kids, but it takes a long time because I have to explain each question. What do I do? I bring Trivial Pursuit cards in the car with me and my kids compete against each other.

My daughter loves answering science questions, so that’s what we play for! A great way to start a trivia game is with a word scramble. Put a bunch of words in a hat and have each person remove one word at a time. When the player finds an ‘S’ they need to put their name on the word, then draw from the hat again until all words are taken. The winner? Whoever has the most words.

Trivia games have been a favorite of mine since I was a child. They provide entertainment, education and a chance to show off your knowledge about topics large and small. Here are some tips on how to play trivia games with kids in the car. Keep Reading!

20 Questions

One player thinks of an item in the car, and the other players ask yes or no questions trying to figure out what it is. For example: Is it small? No. Can you eat it? Yes. Is it red? No. If your children are old enough, you can even use this game for foreign countries or cities.

For example: “I am thinking of a city in America.” “Ok, is it on the beach?” No.  Is it in California?” Yes! If you like to let your kids win, pick an item that they might know about. If not, pick something small and easy you can give them clues until they guess it.

6. What Am I Thinking Of?

This guessing game is perfect for parents and their children who want to spend some quality time together. It’s ideal if you’re going on a long and tedious journey. Here’s how it goes:

One person will start by thinking of a specific object that can be found in or around the car. For example, if you’re traveling on a highway, an object might be something attached to the road such as a mile marker,’ ‘a traffic cone’ or even a license plate.’

You can also think of something less obvious like ‘a sticker on the dashboard’ or ‘an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror.’ The person who guesses what you’re thinking of will be the next to start thinking about an object.

Good luck and enjoy your travels! Hope your kids enjoy one of these games if you chose one and start making games like these a tradition on road trips. Your kids will never forget how to play these and they can pass them down to their children.

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