Long road trips can take its toll on the best of us. Sitting still for long periods of time make kids and adults unnecessarily agitated, especially when the roads seem to stretch out endlessly in front of you. While the car may not look like an ideal place for a game, it helps to pass the time. By introducing a set of games to play in the car for kids during your road trip, you can:
1. Pass the time,
2. Be less bored,
3. Use your mind to keep you alert on the road
4. Entertain kids
5. Cultivate specific grammar or analytical skills
Table of Contents
Playing games in the car is one of the best tried and tested ways to keep adults and kids happy. By occupying your mind on the road, you’ll arrive at your destination before you know it while still feeling sharp and not sluggish from the long trip.
We compiled a list of the most fun games to play in the car for adults and kids!
Probably one of the most well-known fun games to play in the car, I Spy, is simple enough for kids and adults to enjoy. A player chooses an object in their immediate environment without revealing it to the other players.
Once you choose an object, the player repeats: “I spy with my little eye something that begins with the letter …” and then gives the players of the first letter of the object as a clue. The player who guesses the object correctly gets a turn to guess the object next.
While it may seem simple, I Spy a great way to develop grammar and spelling skills in young kids who are just getting acquainted with the alphabets. The game does not have to be dull, by choosing objects both inside the car and in the passing environment.
You can make sure that guesses stay varied. The game is also simple enough to put adults and kids on an equal footing. This game is sure enough to entertain all car passengers for hours on end! If you’re looking for a less traditional game, continue reading for more fun car games for kids as well as adults!
I Spy is not always the ideal game option, especially not if you’re driving through long stretches of landscape. This game also has a guessing element but offers you more opportunities in your chosen objects.
The first player begins by thinking of absolutely any object and the other car passengers take turns in asking them questions to guess their chosen object. However, the number of questions should not exceed 21 in total. Also, no question is allowed to be repeated.
The player who guesses the object correctly gets a turn to guess the next object. If the object is not guessed correctly by the end of the 21 questions, the same player can choose the next object.
Keep this game interesting by confining the chosen object to a specific category such as films or animals to keep everyone on their toes! If guessing games are not for you, try the following storytelling games instead!
While You Were Sleeping
This game is a fun and harmless way to take advantage of any car passenger who falls asleep. Allow the passenger to get some rest, and after five minutes of deep slumber, you should create a tale with your fellow passengers.
Each person adds a sentence of the story to create a story to try and fool the sleeping passenger with once they wake up. Although this game works on a point system:
- If someone breaks character in the story, they lose a point.
- If any player veers off the script of the story while they are telling it, they lose two points.
- If the newly awoken passenger believes the story, everyone else wins three points.
- However, if the passenger doesn’t believe the story, they win three points.
The goal here is to get as many points as possible and the passenger with the most points once you reach your designation wins! Since the game works on a point-based system, you can have a lot of fun maintaining this game throughout your whole trip!
Spot the Car
This is a fun game to play in the car for adults as it will surely keep your eyes on the road. At the beginning of your trip choose a specific car make or color that all passengers have to keep their eyes peeled for throughout the trip.
Whoever spots the specific car first gets a point, and the passenger with the most points at the end of the trip wins! This points-based system can once again be fun as you have a long-term goal.
Also, the game’s scavenger hunt element will make sure that everyone keeps their eyes on the road.
The car can be as frequent or as rare as you’d like. This is a fun game that will appeal to both kids and adults to ensure a happy trip. If you’d prefer a different scavenger hunt game, continue reading for more fun car games for kids and adults!
Cows on My Side
Cows on my side is also essentially a scavenger hunt, but it’s such a fun and energetic game that both kids and adults would love to pass the time playing this proactive game! The game requires all passengers to look out for any cattle during the trip.
The points are awarded based on which side of the road the cattle appear on.
Points are distributed in the following way:
- If you spot cows on your side of the car, you should yell “Cows on my side!” First and you’ll get the point.
- If you spot cows on the opposite side, you can yell: “Cows on your side!” This way you can steal your opponent’s points.
- If you happen to drive past a cemetery, you can yell: “Ghost Cow!” Once someone yells Ghost Cow, they get all the other players’ points.
The player with the most points at the end of the trip wins! Keep reading to see more fun games for kids and adults!
The word association is a fun car game for kids and adults that work on mind association. The first player says a word and the following player need to say a word that associates with the previous word, etc.
This game can be continued for as long as you wish or until someone says a word that is not relevant.
- Player 1: Wheels
- Player 2: Bus
- Player 3: School
- Player 4: Kids
- Player 1: Toys
This fun game can help adults with their associative skills while kids get a chance to expand their vocabulary. Moreover, the game can be as complicated or as simple as you want, depending on your first chosen word.
You can keep it simple by choosing “Apple” as your first word, but you can also up the ante, by choosing “Aristotle” as your first word.
Battle of the Bands
This game is likely to appeal more to adults, especially music aficionados. You start off by choosing a specific genre of music or a theme. For example, you can choose themes such as “best movie soundtrack songs” or “rock ballads.”
The rest of the players have one minute each to choose a song which they think best fits the theme. The player who came up with the theme is allowed to judge which song wins.
The winning player gets a point, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins!
Is music not your thing? Continue reading to see fun car games for adults and kids that will appeal to both film fanatics and math geniuses.
The Movie Game
This game is the ideal option for cinephiles. The starting player needs to name an actor. The following player connects the actor to a film. The next player should then name another character from the film, etc.
- Player 1: Gary Oldman
- Player 2: The Dark Knight
- Player 3: Christian Bale
- Player 4: Knight of Cups
- Player 1: Natalie Portman
In a car full of dedicated film buffs this game is likely to get competitive and test the very limits of your film knowledge! This car game can provide hours of fun for adults on a long trip.
The Counting Game
Math whizzes don’t get many opportunities to show off their prowess when it comes to games, but this game will change all that! This game aims to count up to twenty collectively. While it seems simple enough, the rules of this game make it more difficult.
- The first player starts off the game by beginning with the number one.
- The next player has to state the following number, but there’s no specific sequence.
- If two players say the following number at the same time, you have to start again.
- If there is a silence of more than five seconds between numbers, you also have to start again.
This game is an excellent way for kids to sharpen their counting skills and for adults to keep agile! The game will is sure to keep everyone awake and in suspense!
The Number Plate Game
This game is undoubtedly an American family road trip staple. Before starting the game, every car passenger should take a pen and paper and throughout the trip try to spot as many number plates as possible.
The goal of the game is to have at least one number plate from all the 50 American states. Once you spot the number plate, write it down and keep track of which states you have covered. The player with all the number plates, or at least most of them, wins!
The game can have an educational element and is an excellent opportunity to teach kids about the geography of America.
The Alphabet Game
This game is a great way to keep both adults and kids occupied for hours at a time! The Alphabet Game requires you to name specific objects in a selected category in alphabetical order.
First off, the players should decide on a category such as foods or cars and start naming things in that category alphabetically.
For example, if you chose the category of fruits, you could say:
- Player 1: Apples
- Player 2: Bananas
- Player 3: Cherries
- Player 4: Dates
- Player 1: Elderberry
Once again this game can be made as simple or as challenging as you’d like. You can choose easy categories to include kids, but you can also choose particular categories if you have adults with special interests.
I’m going on a Picnic
This classic game truly tests your memory capabilities. The very first player starts with the phrase: “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing …” The very first player should name an object that begins with an A, and the rest of the players continue the list alphabetically.
While it seems easy enough, the next player needs to recite the entire list, and if anyone messes up the list, they are out. The player who can hold out the longest wins!
- Player 1: I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing avocados.
- Player 2: I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing avocados and bacon.
- Player 3: I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing avocados, bacon, and chocolate.
- Player 4: I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing avocados, bacon, chocolate, and dandelions.
The fun thing about the games on this list is that it can be easily tailored to appeal to both kids and adults. In developing children, the games can aid expand their analytical, reasoning, and grammatical skills while keeping the boredom at bay.
While adults can enjoy the games to stay alert and sharp on the road, these fun car games for kids and adults will appeal to anyone and everyone to make sure that your road trip is a happy experience overall.
Your passengers will likely arrive at their destinations feeling relaxed and not tired from the long journey.
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.