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23 Car Games for Kids: Exciting Ideas for Toddlers & Teens

With these 23 games, everyone can enjoy the drive.

If you drive a car and have kids, you’ll know that this combination is often exhausting. Whether you’re dealing with bored kids, siblings who are on their fifth argument, or just want a way to pass time on a long road trip, we can help.

Car games for kids are a great way to pass time and keep everybody happy. While you may already know of a few car games, having some more at your fingertips can help distract bored children.

We’ll share 23 fun games to play while driving, as well as some other tips for entertaining children on long car journeys.

Key Takeaways

  • Car games for kids are a great way to pass time and keep everybody happy during long road trips.
  • Some fun games include the 50 State License Plate Game, I Spy, Word Association, and Alphabet Hunt.
  • Other options include Car Trivia, “On my vacation, I brought…”, Road Trip Scavenger Hunt, and Would You Rather.
  • Remember to pack healthy snacks, activity kits, and make frequent stops to keep everyone entertained and comfortable.

Fun Games Kids Can Play in The Car

Don’t let your children get bored in the car! Here are 23 good games to take your kid’s mind off the long road ahead. These games are fantastic for boys, girls, parents, and even grandparents!

50 State License Plate Game

While cruising through the streets, be on the lookout for a license plate from all 50 states. Not only is this a fun way to pass the time, but it will also educate kids on their geography. Meanwhile, they can practice the states song to ensure they’ve definitely found all 50 states.

This is an excellent game for a long road trip. You might not find all 50 in one day, but if you’re on a road trip for a few weeks, you should be able to find them all over time.

I Spy

This classic game never gets old on a long car ride. It’s great for toddlers and older kids. Simply say, “I spy with my little eye, something…” and complete the sentence with a color. The other passengers have to look out for the chosen object.

You can make this harder by saying, “Something beginning with [choose a letter].” This helps kids with their spelling, too.

Word Association

To play this game, one person starts by saying a random word. The next player says the first word that comes to their head off the back of the previous word. This continues. For instance, it might sound like: “water,” “waterfall,” “rainforest,” “snake,” “slippery,” “slide,” “playground,” and so on.

You can also play this with two people, where they both say a random word simultaneously, and they have to think of a word that joins these two words together. For instance, one person might say “giant,” and another person might say “book.” After the count of three, they might both say the word “bible” — since that’s a giant book! If they don’t say the same word, they try the next round with the two new words, and the game continues until they say the same word simultaneously.

Word Chain

Another fun word game for kids — this is great for kids with good spelling skills. We’re thinking of 8 years old or more! One person starts by saying a word, and the next person has to say a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word.

It might sound like this: “jam,” “milk,” “kettle,” “elf,” “fight,” “tornado,” and so on. The game ends when a person repeats a word, gets a word wrong, or takes too long to think of a word.

Car Trivia

Before starting your trip, have a list of questions written out to pass around the car. Make sure you know the answers off the top of your head so you can validate the answers without taking your eyes off the wheel. You can do this in categories like movies, animals, or American history.

“On my vacation, I brought…”

This game will pass a good amount of time and works well for a family road trip. Kids as young as 6 years old can play this — as long as they know the alphabet. It starts with the first person saying, “On my vacation, I brought…” and they have to name something that starts with “A.”

The next person says what the previous person said before adding another item that starts with “B.” The game continues throughout the alphabet. Everyone will need to remember everything everybody says, so it can be a bit of a mind exercise too!

Alphabet Hunt

Everyone looks for a sign that contains each letter of the alphabet. They might look at road signs, billboards, license plates, and more. But the catch is that you must do it in the alphabet’s order. Start with “A” and make your way to “Z.” Play this as a group or individually — whoever gets through the alphabet first wins!

Guess the Lyric

Play some music in the car and randomly pause it at any time. The first person to guess the following lyric wins a point. You can also do this at the start of the song before any words have even begun — this is a little harder. Not only do they need to guess the first lyric, but they also need to know the song as well.

License Plate Stands For

Take turns looking for license plates that contain three letters in a row. When you find one, take turns coming up with what the words stand for. For instance, if you find a license plate that reads “503 MLH,” you have to come up with a phrase that “MLH” stands for.

This could be “most lions hunt” or “monkeys linger high.” It’s going to be totally silly and random! Whoever says the funniest phrase wins a point.

Who Am I

Take turns thinking of a character or somebody you know in real life. Once the person has decided on their character, they list three facts about them. For instance, if they chose Elsa from Frozen, they might say, “I am a queen, I am lonely, and the cold doesn’t bother me.” Whoever guesses it first wins a point.

Story Cubes

If your kids have a little tray to hold games and snacks in the car, then they can roll dice. You can use story cubes to prompt a fun storytelling game. On these dice, you’ll find six images. Whether you roll two dice or all nine, you must make a story connecting all images on the dice.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Before you embark on your journey, print out a scavenger hunt card. The first person to find all the items on the card wins. What the prize is, is up to you!

The items on the card could include a yellow slug bug car, a route marker, a police car, a cow, and more.

Don’t Say It

This funny game is great if you don’t want to hear certain words or phrases on the trip. Pick five words or phrases kids aren’t allowed to say on the trip. This could include “are we there yet,” the word “bored,” and other random words like “sunny,” “street,” and “dog,”

If they say the word or phrase, they gain a point. The person with the fewest points at the trip’s end is the winner!

20 Questions

This guessing game is a classic, but it’s limitless fun!

Somebody thinks of a person, a place, or a thing. The other passengers only have 20 questions to guess what it is. Usually, they start by asking broad questions like whether it’s a person. Is it a man? Is he older than 50?

They must be “yes” or “no” questions, but the person with the word can also answer with “I don’t know,” “sometimes,” or “maybe.” Once they get to the 20th question, they must take a guess, or they lose.

Highway Travel Bingo

There are many travel games to play in the car. One that we love is highway travel bingo. The cards come with built-in covers that you can slide to mark the item you found. This included set has a variety of themes.

Kids look out the window, searching for items on the card. This set has a variety of themes allowing for multiple rounds.

Carpool Chaos

Carpool Chaos is a game made especially for travelers. It’s made for 8-year-olds and up and includes 160 cards that feature games, hypothetical questions, challenges, and more. It’s a fantastic and fun way to pass time in the cars. We love it for families since it’s suitable for little kids, big kids, teenagers, and parents.

Theme Song Game

One person hums a theme song, and the other passengers have to guess the song and which show it’s from. The winner takes a turn, and the game continues. This is a great way to keep kids busy while they try to remember their favorite show’s theme songs!

Once Upon a Time

Create a story together in the car! We love this for little kids, even toddlers, as well as parents. The first person starts by saying, “Once upon a time…” and then they finish the sentence however they’d like. Then the next person has to add a sentence. The story will take tons of silly twists and turns, but it will keep everyone happy for a while!

Spelling Bee

A car spelling bee is a great idea for bored kids! Plus, it’s education.

Give each child a word to spell. Start easy, like “ball,” before moving to more challenging words. If they spell it wrong, they’re out. The last child standing (well, in this case, sitting) is the winner.

We love this idea because you can play it multiple times, and it will still be loads of fun! Plus, it can get competitive — but hopefully in a friendly manner.

Car Crafts

If you want a little silence to listen to your music, an audiobook, or the sound of your own thoughts, then car crafts are super handy. You can get knitting kits or perhaps a lovely embroidery kit that kids can teach themselves as you drive.

Would You Rather

Would You Rather? is a hilarious game to play in the car. Whether you’re making up your own options or using a prompt book, this is a great way to pass time and start silly discussions with your kids.

Simply ask a silly question like, “Would you rather lose your sense of taste or only walk backward forever?” Kids take turns answering the question and giving their reasons why!

Name the Most…

Players decide on a category, such as Disney movies, and one person has to try and list as many Disney movies as possible. The next person gets a new category, and if they can list more than the previous player, they’re the current winner.

You can also play this as a team, taking turns. Whoever repeats a word, says the wrong answer, or takes too long to think, ends the game and loses that round.

Games on the Go Pack

Games on the Go pack is fantastic for road trips. It has a bunch of kids road trip games, including rhyming games, memory games, and sharing games. If you’re not very creative when thinking of games, buy this pack and let it do the hard work for you.

Tips To Entertain Your Kid on a Long Car Ride

If you’re planning a road trip, you’re probably worried about how to keep your kids entertained, happy and safe. The last thing you want is to get distracted if they’re upset or bored. Here are 10 tips for a peaceful and happy road trip:

  • Make a road trip activity kit: Create a kit you can keep in your car. Therefore, it’s always there and ready to go. Keep lacing boards, story books, sticker books, coloring books, and more in this kit.
  • Make frequent stops: If the kids aren’t napping, make frequent short stops. We recommend stopping every two to three hours. Let kids use the bathroom, grab a bite to eat, and stretch their legs.
  • Pack a treasure chest: Create a treasure chest with each kid before you leave. They can put whatever they want in it. This could include their favorite snacks, stickers, small toys, and more. It’s their special box and should help in emergencies when they’re bored or overstimulated.
  • Kid-friendly audiobooks: A foolproof way to get everybody quiet and listening is to play an engaging children’s book over the speakers. Whether you choose a short novel or a series of short stories, this is great for toddlers and teenagers!
  • Pack electronics: There is a time and place for screens, and this is definitely it. Pack electronics for the kids, such as a music device, a tablet with movies downloaded, or a gaming console. This can help immensely, especially if you’ll be in the car for a few hours each day.
  • Sensory books: This hack is fantastic for toddlers. Sensory books that sing, make noises, and have interesting textures and buttons are great for keeping toddlers entertained for 10 minutes here and there.
  • Give your child an activity table: Activity tables give your child a place to store all their things: crayons, paper, books, and crafts. However, traditional activity tables can be hard to use, especially if your child is still in a car seat. Instead, try using a cookie sheet. Your child can balance it on their lap and use it for magnets, containing their crayons, and just having a place to set down their snack.
  • Pack healthy snacks: Yummy sweets are great in a screaming emergency, but we recommend having a bunch of healthy snacks for the rest of the time. Sugary snacks will give them too much hyper energy. Instead, pack fruit, vegetables, trail mix, and of course, water!
  • Download handy apps: On your children’s device — or yours, if they don’t have their own — download a few apps to keep them busy. This could be streaming services, like Disney Plus, as well as a few games, puzzles, and trivia. Make sure you have some that work without an internet connection in case you’re driving through the middle of nowhere!
  • Water coloring books: The last thing you need on a stressful road trip is more mess. But if your kids want to color in the car, what do you do? Well, water coloring books are great! The water-filled pen works to reveal a beautiful image on the page. This is great for toddlers and younger kids.

Hit the Road (With Kids)

Just because you had kids doesn’t mean your traveling days are behind you. You can still hit the road, even with kids in tow. It might be a learning curve, but with these 23 fun games to play in the car, your kids should be happy between destinations.

We have chatty games, musical games, memory games, family games, solo games, and of course, games they can play on their electronic devices. Make sure you plan a few activities in advance, and pack snacks, books, and an activity kit that you can use when emotions seem to be spiraling out of control.

When in doubt, pull over and take a break. Everyone should get a chance to stretch their legs and breathe fresh air every couple of hours.

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