Fun and Easy Family Road Trip Games for Kids in the Car


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The key to smooth car travel is lots of road trip games for kids. Enjoy this list of fun ways to keep your kids occupied in the car without resorting to electronics!

Welcome! If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve got a road trip coming up. Driving everywhere is one of the only ways we can afford to travel with six people in our family. The kids and I, especially, log a lot of travel miles in my car. I know you will love the selection of road trip activities we’ve put together for you.

teenagers peeking over back seat looking for family car games on a road trip

Screen-Free Road Trips Make More Memories

I love taking long car trips with my family. It gives us a break for the daily routines and busyness that comes with being a modern family. When we take road trips, we try to limit our screen use.

The kids are usually less disagreeable when we limit screens. They also engage much more with the scenery and local history of the places we travel through. Family jokes and memories are created on road trips.

Screens obviously have their place, but I try to make sure we have lots of other entertainment options for the kids on these family road trips. Printable games and activities keep them busy for hours.

Entertainment Essentials on Car Trips with Kids

Along with road trip games, I like to keep a tote of entertainment essentials. These are more supplies than games or prepared activities. The kids can create what they want with these items.

mom and dad singing in the car for road trip activities for kids without screens

Fun Games for Family Road Trips that Require No Prep

Games that require no materials or preparation are fun to play because the driver and grownups can play, too. They are great for getting all the family members involved.

No prep games pass the time really well when you have just a few minutes to go. There isn’t anything to put away or pieces to get lost.

I Spy

One player thinks of an object they see in or around the car and says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is [color].” The other players take turns guessing what the object is. The player who guesses correctly gets to be the next “spy.”

20 Questions

The first player thinks of an object, person, or place, and the other players take turns asking up to 20 yes-or-no questions to guess what it is. The game continues until someone correctly guesses or the 20 questions are used up.

license plates arranged on a wall with various states and colors

License Plate Game

Players try to spot license plates from different states or provinces. You can make it more challenging by keeping track of which states you’ve seen and trying to find as many as possible during the trip. I like to give a small prize (water bottle sticker) for whoever finds the most unique personalized license plate.

The Alphabet Game with Signs

Each player looks for road signs outside the car that start with the letters of the alphabet in order. For example, someone might spot an “Applebee’s” for “A” and a “Jake Brake Prohibited” for “B.” The goal is to get through the entire alphabet.

I make my kids use the letters as they see them. For example, if you saw a “Q” 50 miles ago, it doesn’t count. You have to find the letter when you need it.

Rainbow Game

For younger kids with shorter attention spans, we like to play the Rainbow Game. It’s very similar to the alphabet game but players are looking for the colors of the rainbow in order. The colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV).

Guess the Song

The first person starts by humming or singing a few lines of a song, and the other players try to guess the song title and artist. You can take turns being the “singer,” and bonus points can be awarded for singing in different voices. My kids loved this one!

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Tried and true, rock, paper, scissors is always a winner in our car. Use it for a quick break on a long car trip. Let the Ultimate Champion pick the next place to stop for a snack or rest area.

older sister and two brothers playing a game in the car on a road trip

Printable Road Trip Games and Activities for Kids

One thing I really like to do is print out a lot of fun activities for my kids. I put each packet on a clipboard so they papers don’t get lost. Each kid gets a clipboard and packet of activities customized to their abilities and interests.

They each get one to eliminate fighting over them. Some of the sheets are duplicated so they can play travel games together.

Kids in back seat of car playing games on road trip

If you’ve got a little time to prepare for your upcoming road trip, I really recommend making a few of these games to play in the car. They take a little more time to prepare than simply printing out from your computer, but they are cute and educational too! Your kids will really enjoy them.

One tip for road trip car games is to use magnets and a cookie sheet. Make a magnetic memory game or tic tac toe game so there are no lost pieces.

Don’t forget about the classic car games like Bingo, Hangman, memory games, or other word games.

Best Printable Road Trip Games for Families

Keep your kids entertained in the car without tablets and headphones. Encourage family bonding and memorable moments with these games to play in the car for teens and tweens.

Family car games on a road trip are a fantastic way to keep everyone entertained and create lasting memories. Kids are more engaged and interested in the world around them when they put away their screens and have fun with siblings and grownups.

We’re heading out next week for our Spring Break in Florida! The ideas in this post will help us all have a pleasant 20-hour drive. What’s your best tip for surviving long road trips with your kids? 

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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