“Are we there yet?” The dreaded words that no parent wants to hear on a long trip in the car! And unlike today, when we have phones and tablets to keep kids occupied during long road trips or miserable rainy days, back in the day we had to rely on card games and other quick games that could be easily played in the car anytime boredom kicked in.
We’ve put together a list of some of these easy car games for you to play in the car on your next trip. Not only do they make traveling a whole lot more fun but they are a great way to bond with your kids and create awesome family memories.
Water, Earth, Air
- Number of players: Three Or More
- Time: 20 – 30 Minutes
In this car game, players need to match up elements (water, earth, air) with creatures who live in them. The first player must call out an element. The second player must then name either an animal fish, insect, or bird that lives in that element. If they do so successfully then the second player can choose an element with the third player naming a creature accordingly. If a player can’t name a creature then they will miss a turn at calling out an element.
When calling out creatures, a creature is only able to be used once which will make the game more and more challenging as it progresses. Depending on how you want to play, you can decide that the winner is the person who can successfully name creatures 10 times in a row without missing an element. Alternatively, you can play until there is no one left who can name creatures anymore.
This classic game has been a boredom buster for long trips for ages and it just doesn’t seem to get old or any less fun! It is perfect for as many players as you have available.
- Number of players: Two Or More
- Duration: For As Long As It Is Fun!
The first player secretly chooses an object that they see to begin the game. They then call out, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ……!” followed by the first letter of the object that they see. The other players then take turns guessing what the object is. The first person who correctly guesses the object is the winner and then takes a turn to choose a new object.
I Spy – Variation 1
Instead of just guessing what the object could be, you can allow the players to each ask one yes or no question about the object before guessing. For example, “Is the object big?”. The first player can then answer yes or no before the second player makes their guess. If they guess incorrectly then the third player gets a turn to ask a question and guess.
- Number Of Players: Three or More
In this game, players need to make associations between words and it can be as easy or tricky as you like depending on the ages of the kids who are playing.
The game begins with the first person selecting a word. The second player then needs to choose a word that is somehow connected to that word. For example, “Dog”, followed by “Leash”. The third person then makes another word association and the game continues until no more associations can be made. Each associated word can only be used once.
Each person only has 3 seconds to think of a word that is connected to the previous one. If the time runs out, they hesitate or can’t think of a word they forfeit their turn and the next player gets to choose a word.
Word Connection – Variation 1
Each player is given 3 lives. If anyone is unable to make an association in 3 seconds then they lose a life. The winner is the person who ‘survives’ longer than the other players.
Car Color Count
- Number Of Players: Two Or More
This is a really simple and fun game to play in the car and is perfect for longer trips especially when kids are getting bored! Each player chooses a color that they like. The group then decides how long the game should last. For example, 30 minutes or between two points (such as towns or landmarks). The players then need to keep an eye open for cars that are the same color as their chosen color. The winner is the person who manages to see the most cars in their color in the time selected. Only oncoming cars are counted in the game. Spoiler alert, white cars have an unfair advantage 😉
License Plate Roulette
- Number of players: Three or More
- You Need: Pencil & Paper
This is another fun game to keep kids occupied in the car during a long trip. The easiest variation of the game is when the adult chooses a specific word or number. The word or number is written down on the pieces of paper and then each letter or number is crossed off when the children spot a matching letter or number on a number plate of a vehicle going by. The first person to cross off all the words or letters is the winner.
License Plate Roulette – Variation 1
The adult chooses a number and then the children have to select a word that contains the same number of letters. Each child will have their own chosen word. As you travel and see cars going by each child will cross off letters for their word as they see them on the license plates of vehicles going by. This variation is pretty fun because the children can call out their letters as they see them!
License Plate Roulette – Variation 2
In this variation, no license plates are used at all! Instead, this time only street signs, billboards, and building names for example are used.
- Number of players: Two
Fancy fingers is the perfect game for two players. The game begins with each player hiding one of their hands. They then decide how many fingers they would like to show when the game begins. A closed fist is counted as zero.
The children then chant “Fancy fingers, fancy fingers, your number of fancy fingers is …!” The children then call out how many fingers they think the other child will show. The winner is the person who can guess correctly three times in a row.
Fancy Fingers – Variation 1
Instead of the children guessing how many fingers the other child will hold up, they can instead guess how many fingers both children will hold up when they are added together.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Another really fun classic that is still a very valuable decision-making ritual for many adults!
- Number of players: Two or More
Both players make a fist in front of their bodies. They count to three and when they get to three they make one of three symbols with their hands.
- Rock – A closed fist
- Paper – A flat hand with fingers held out straight
- Scissors – The index and middle fingers are held out in the shape of a V (like scissors)
The winner of each round is decided by which symbol they choose with the following rules:
- Paper covers rock – Paper is the winner
- Rock crushes scissors – Rock is the winner
- Scissors cuts paper – Scissors is the winner
If both players choose the same symbol then the match is a draw and they play again.
Road trips don’t need to be a drag! And if reading exciting children’s books or coloring pages and coloring books just aren’t an option in the car, then these fun card games are what you have been looking for! And the best part? You get to build some awesome memories and even create some amazing family traditions that everyone will look forward to!