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10 Entertaining Road Trip Games for Kids and Families

If you’ve traveled long distances with kids in a car or van, you know they get bored quickly. They probably ask you several times throughout the trip, “are we there yet?” or tell you how bored they are. 

An easy way to improve their experience (and yours) is to play road trip games with the whole family. Playing games can make your next trip entertaining and educational. Plus, it’ll help pass the time.

We will highlight 10 of the best and our favorite road trip games for kids and families to play on long journeys. These games require little to no material, and children of all ages can play most of them! Your kids are sure to love them.

Best Road Trip Games for Kids

1. License Plate Game

You’ve probably heard of or played the License Plate Game before. It’s a classic for long journeys, especially for cross-country or multi-state trips. 

How to Play: The first person to spot a state’s license plate and call out the state gets the point. Keep a collective list of all states each person sees. The goal is to see plates from all 50 states, and the person with the most points wins.

Ages: 7 and up

Materials needed: Paper and pencil

2. Alphabet Game

The Alphabet Game is fun to play as it keeps you looking around and alert. It’s incredibly educational for younger kids who are learning the alphabet. In addition, the game is quite simple.

How to Play: Each person must find a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet, moving from A to Z (you can eliminate letters like Q, X, and Z to make it easier). Find words on road signs, billboards, bumper stickers, etc. The first person to arrive at the end of the alphabet wins! 

Another version is where you play collectively, working together to reach the end of the alphabet. 

Ages: 5 and up

Materials needed: None

3. Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt involves some (easy) prep before taking off. Your kids will love it, and they’ll feel super accomplished afterward.

How to play: Make a list before the road trip with common things you may come across while driving (a yellow billboard, horse, motorcycle, blue car, etc.). Print the list beforehand and have your kids look out for these items and cross them out as they find them. You can play individually, in teams, or all together. 

Ages: all (you can make the items simpler or use images for younger kids and more complex descriptions for older ones)

Materials needed: A pre-made list of scavenger hunt items and a pencil (one for each kid/team if playing individually/in groups)

4. Road Trip Bingo

Bingo is fun for all ages. Playing it in the car is great because it’s simple yet requires paying attention to the surroundings. 

How to play: Make, print, or buy travel/road trip bingo sheets. There are tons you can find online for free. These bingo sheets should have different landscapes and items you usually pass on a road trip. Each person gets a sheet and must mark off the things they see until they make a bingo. 

To extend the game, have them find every item on the board!

Ages: all 

Materials needed: bingo sheets and something to mark off items with

5. Word Association

Word Association is a game that you can play when passing through empty landscapes because it doesn’t involve looking around outside. 

How to play: One player starts by saying a random word, and the next person has to say something related—for example, kitchen - spoon - soup - tomato - fruit - vegetable. Keep going around in a circle adding words until someone hesitates for more than 5 seconds (can adjust the time based on age), says a word that doesn’t fit, or draws a blank.

Ages: 7 and up

Materials needed: none

6. Twenty Questions

Twenty Questions is a great way to get everyone thinking. It is easy to play with small kids but also fun for older ones. 

How to play: Player one starts by thinking of a person, place, or thing (something that everyone would know - e.g., not an actress that a young child wouldn’t recognize). Then, the other players ask yes-or-no questions (20 maximum) to guess what player one is thinking of. Ask questions like “is it a person?” or “does it fly?” until someone knows what it is.

The person who guesses correctly gets a point; if no one guesses correctly, player one gets the point. 

Ages: 6 and up

Materials needed: none

7. The Name Game

The Name Game has many variations. Once you’re done with names, you can play with other categories like colors, countries, animals, etc.

How to play: Start naming names and go around in a circle. Each person has 3 seconds (or can adjust to more time for little ones) to say a name. Be sure to establish what qualifies as a name (first names only, last names, fictional names). 

Keep going around in the circle until someone repeats, can’t think of anything, or says a made-up name. You can give little ones more than one chance to get it right (to avoid meltdowns). To make it more difficult, have everyone say the names alphabetically.

Ages: all 

Materials needed: none

8. I Spy

We’re pretty sure everyone knows I Spy; however, it’s on the list as it’s great to play with little kids on a long car ride.

How to play: Choose one person to go first. They start by saying something about the item they’re spying on (i.e., the color, the letter it starts with, etc.). Be sure to state if the object is inside or outside the car. For example, “I spy something green inside the car.” Then, the other players must guess what the object is. 

Ages: all

Materials needed: none

9. Story Starter

Story Starter can be a hilarious game to play in the car and involves some creativity. It can go on for however long or short you want!

How to play: The first person starts by saying part of one sentence without finishing it. Then, the following person must complete the sentence and start a new sentence. Keep going for as long as you want. Your kids will come up with some funny stuff for sure! 

Ages: 5 and up

Materials needed: none

10. Who Am I

Have your kids put on their thinking caps for this game because it requires some deductive reasoning. 

How to play: One player thinks of a person (can be real or fictional), and everyone must guess what it is by asking yes-or-no questions one at a time. Crank up the difficulty by limiting the number of questions the guessers can ask. Be sure to pick a person or character everyone will know. 

Ages: 6 and up

Materials needed: none

Wrapping Up

Playing road trip games can make long rides go by faster and keep all family members entertained - including the driver. In addition to being educational, these fun road trip games will have everyone laughing. Try out some of these free games on your next family road trip or van adventure!

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