There are few things better than packing up the car and heading on a road trip across the great American expanse. Road trips are an exciting way to see the world or check out places you wouldn’t visit otherwise, and they can be pretty dang peaceful…unless you have kids.
Sticking a group of kids together in a car for an extended amount of time is a one-way ticket to chaos. If you’re a parent heading out on a road trip, chances are you’re looking for some road trip activities that actually entertain.
While planning a road trip can be stressful, organizing a road trip game is one of the best ways to keep kids entertained during a long car ride. But what games can we play in the car, and what is the best game to play in the car? Look no further: We’ve compiled six of the best road trip games to play in the car for kids.
The Alphabet Game
Last summer, a friend and I went on a long road trip up through Yellowstone and into Montana. In between the bear sightings and exquisite hiking trails, we played round after round of the Alphabet Game.
The Alphabet Game is a classic road trip game! It’s fun, simple, and encourages younger kids to practice their letters. Don’t forget the best part: it’ll shift your kids’ attention from their screens to the passing scenery.
Here are the rules:
- Players look out the window at road signs and billboards to find each letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z.
- As a player finds a letter, they must call out the letter and word. For example, if you’re driving through Utah and see a sign for “Salt Lake City,” you would say “‘A’ in Salt Lake City!”
- Only one player can use a letter from a certain word, and you can’t use license plates.
- Once a player has found every single letter of the alphabet, they win!
Among car games for kids, Twenty Questions is a classic. It’s fun for all ages and will get your kids’ brains working overtime as they try to figure out what their opponent is thinking of. Twenty Questions is a fun and entertaining way for kids to develop deductive reasoning and creative problem-solving skills.
Here are the rules:
- One person, we’ll call them the “thinker,” thinks of an object, animal, or person.
- The other players, the “questioners,” take turns asking yes-or-no questions to figure out what the thinker is thinking of. Here’s the twist: they can only ask 20 questions.
- If the questioners determine what the thinker thought of, they win! If they’re still stumped after 20 questions, the thinker emerges victorious.
Road Trip Bingo
When I was a kid, my family and I went on the occasional road trip down to southern Utah. To keep us entertained we would play games like Twenty Questions, or else listen to a whole lot of Shania Twain. I still know every word to “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.”
On extremely long road trips, however, we would play a rousing game of Road Trip Bingo. We each had a little, colorful bingo board in front of us. Each box contained something we might see out the window as we drove. When we saw a certain object, we would cross it off. Whoever was the first to get bingo was the winner.
You can get a pack of four bingo cards on Amazon, or get creative and make your own! And here’s a tip: if you want to entertain your kids for a while, tell them to go for a blackout instead of a quick bingo.
Kids love to tell stories, and Fortunately/Unfortunately is the perfect game to pass the time while simultaneously encouraging kiddos to create some pretty wacky stories. It’s played by creating a tale together as a group, but with a twist: each sentence must begin with either “fortunately” or “unfortunately.”
Here’s how to play:
- One person begins telling a story with one sentence (e.g., “Sarah wanted some new shoes, so she went to the shoe store”).
- The next player continues the story by telling of something unfortunate that happens (e.g., “Unfortunately, the shoe store was closed because of an alien invasion”).
- The following player shares the next sentence, but this time with something fortunate happening (e.g., “Fortunately, Sarah was fluent in alien-ese”).
- The fourth player continues the story with another unfortunate event (e.g., “Unfortunately, these aliens used Alien Sign Language, which Sarah didn’t know”).
The game continues until the story ends or players get bored—whichever comes first!
Categories is another car game for kids that will flex your child’s alphabet muscles and encourage them to think outside the box, giving them some educational practice on the go.
Here’s how Categories works:
- Everyone thinks of a category; for example “food.”
- Players then work together to think of an item in the category for every letter in the alphabet. For example, ‘A’ could be “apple,” ‘B’ is “banana,” ‘C’ is “cheese,” etc.
- Once players get from A to Z, the game is over!
The game sounds simple, but be prepared to get a little stumped on certain letters. I can’t think of a food that starts with X—can you?
Another way to inspire your child to enjoy learning on the go is with a Troomi phone! Troomi devices feature KidSmart™ apps, a carefully curated collection of applications that encourage education and foster creativity, without the risk of video game addiction. Click here to learn a little more. You can also view the apps we have available here.
Cows on My Side
The premise of Cows on My Side is a little silly: players look out the window and receive a point if they see a cow. It’s simple and fun, so little kids will love it. This game is awesome because it gets your kids looking out the window and appreciating the natural scenery around them.
Here’s how to play Cows on My Side:
- Players hunt for cows on their side of the car.
- Every time players see a cow, they say “cows on my side!” and get a point.
- If a player sees a cow through the opposite side’s window, they can say “cows on your side” and steal the point.
- For an added twist, you can play the ghost cow card: if you see a cemetery, shout “ghost cow!” and steal all the points from the other team.
The game is simple. If your kids are bored by it, get creative and come up with your own rules! For example, maybe seeing a bison gets you two points; though you should be prepared for a high scoring game if you’re driving through Yellowstone.
Who Doesn’t Love A Game?
Road trips are exciting and stressful at the same time. A good road trip game, however, can make that stress fly out the window. So give one of these games a try next time you’re on a long car ride—you won’t regret it.
And make sure to keep an eye on the Troomi blog! It’s updated every weekday with some interesting and insightful tips and tricks that you don’t want to miss out on.