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Road Trip Games for Kids

100+ road trip games for kids to avoid the dreaded “are we there yet” questions! Fun and free road trip car games and activities that will make you laugh and the car ride more enjoyable for everyone involved. Take note parents you will need this to save your sanity, you can thank me later.

road trip games for kids

We take a long road trip every summer, sometimes during my girls’ Spring break too! We have been on so many that 8 hours in the car is just typical. They do need plenty to do to entertain themselves during that time. I am not saying we never hear “are we there yet” but it is rare nowadays. With plenty of stops, road trip games for kids we play, and activities I’ve packed for each of them to keep them busy throughout our journey it is something we all look forward to each year and they just can’t wait for our next adventure! One of many tips we list on our road trip blog. (originally published 5/17, affiliate links present)

Road Trip Games for Families

  • If you’ve never taken your kids on a road trip I HIGHLY recommend it.

One of our first long ones was to Yosemite National Park where we camped instead of staying in a hotel. That added another fun element to our trip and something the 5 of us hadn’t done before.

Ok, so I prefer glamping or staying in a hotel myself but the trip is part of the overall adventure. There are so many things to see and do along the way to your destination. Many won’t be on the map but you should stop even if it extends your day by an hour or so. Realize you probably will never find it again.

road trip games for kids

Games to Play in the Car

Below are several posts I’ve written on road trips including free printables that will keep kids busy! Busy bags are a must on family road trips! I have created for them with multiple activities inside, and suggestions from followers on The Typical Mom too. 

We travel as often as possible as a family because it has brought us closer together and when I figured out how you can travel for free we get out even more! Most bullet points have 10-100 different road trip games for kids so there are well over 100 in total to pick from. 

  • Road trip busy bags – Each child gets one of their own (no sharing….you will thank me for that advice later).
    • I have made several gallon ziploc baggies full of different things I found at the Dollar Store for each child.
    • When we start the trip they get one that includes a treat, a snack, a small activity book, a small toy etc….

When we stop after maybe 3 hours or so to hit the restroom I grab a second bag for each of them. These have different items in them to keep kids busy with surprises! I have also used empty wipe boxes to store busy bag items.

Road trip busy bags

Road Trip Games for Kids

  • Coloring bin full of fun – Best travel hack! Use a small portable cooler that has pockets on the sides or a storage box. Fill it with colored pencils, pencils, an eraser, coloring books, word search puzzles/activity books and place the bin in the middle of two children so they can both reach it (I would skip the crayons since they can melt if you leave it in the car).
    • It will be easily accessible and have plenty of different books and activities to do inside. 
  • Road Trip I Spy printable – I created this a while ago and it is fun for the kids to play while on a long road trip. They will need to pay attention out the window to find the items on this road trip scavenger hunt.

They can use a pencil out of the bin above to mark them off. or just poke a hole thru the square with their finger once something is found!

road trip scavenger hunt

Fun Road Trip Games

  • 20 questions – Let each child have a turn. Younger ones may choose an animal and within 20 questions amongst everyone in the car you try to guess what it is.
    • After they give you 3 clues about it everyone takes a turn guessing.
    • Older children might choose a career, describe it with 3 clues and see who can guess using just YES or NO questions.
    • The person who guesses it can go next, or for another game let the person who’s turn it was choose a color and the first person who finds a car in that color gets to go next! This is probably one of our favorite free road trip games for kids.
  • License plate game – There are probably 10 different ways you could play this one!
    • Here are a few ideas:
      • Find a license plate and each person in the car comes up with something using the letter or # that comes next. For instance for license LT9P5IQ the first person has L; Lisa is my friend from school. Then next person T; tigers are my favorite animal….etc….  

Another game is everyone looks for a license plate that starts with the letter T. Whoever finds it wins and gets to choose the letter or # of the next plate to look for.

road trip games for kids
  • 16 Toddler busy bags – You can make these yourself before you leave, they are inexpensive and quiet fun.
  • Animal guessing game – When someone sees an animal out their window they whisper or yell it out depending on how many there are.
    • So if there were 2 cows they may whisper “cow” or 24 sheep they would yell “sheep!”
    • Everyone can take a guess as to how many there were depending on how loud their announcement was.

Games to Play with Kids in the Car

Sing a longs – Bring plenty of CDs that appeal to everyone in the car. When one comes on that everyone should know belt it out together!

  • Stencil kits – This is fun for almost anyone over the age of about 5 or so. Even teens love to draw and color and nowadays kids don’t see stencils often so it will be new to them!
  • What do you know game – Have you or the kids find something out of the window like a windmill as you’re traveling.
    • Everyone says what they know about windmills!
    • Great way to teach your children about different animals, locations, and get them to ask questions.
    • Tons of possibilities with this game and great for all ages.
  • Family fun travel kit – Contains at least 10 different activities and games they can play while traveling including mini connect four games and more!
  • Landmark activities – Before you leave get some brown paper bags and put 1-2 items in each and staple them shut.
    • Tell the kids which landmarks to look out for and if they pay attention and find them they will get a prize.

Once that landmark is reached each child gets a surprise brown bag with a new activity inside.

Packing For a Road Trip
  • Tally game – Choose a color in between rest stops.
    • Each child gets a paper and pencil and tallys how many cars in that color they see.
    • When you reach your stop compare and see who got closest to the correct (correct meaning Mom’s number) number.
    • When you take off again choose a new color.
  • Backseat road trip desk – This thing is awesome!! Kids love it and it makes drawing and writing so much easier for them (and more fun). It even has a clear pocket to hold a tablet so they can watch something while on the road and not have to hold it.
  • Reading – Traditional books are great and you can just pack a few you have at home in their busy bag for them.

This road trip atlas for kids is great because it is full of landmarks you may end up seeing, as well as tons of travel activities and info.

What to bring on a road trip
  • Dime game – Have each child choose a color when you leave. Bring a few rolls of dimes with you.
    • When they see a car in that color they earn a dime that they can save in their baggie.
    • When you reach a pit stop they can spend their dimes on whatever they want!
    • Can use to promote getting along too, they lose a dime if they exhibit bad behavior.
  • Cloud game – Look for clouds and talk about what each one looks like.
  • Finish the story – Parent starts the story with one sentence. Then calls on the next person to add the next sentence. So on and so forth!
    • Will probably get silly (which is good) and they’ll love it!

Scavenger hunt cards – Pull a card out of the deck and everyone looks for it out their window, person who finds it wins and pulls the next card.

  • Boogie board desk – If you’re headed to the beach and bringing a boogie board make a double use out of it and lay it across their laps!
    • Let them use it as a desk and work area.
  • Alphabet game – Start with the letter a and the first person names something that starts with that. Next does b and so on. You can get specific and say everyone has to use a person’s name or name an animal. Tons of road trip games for kids possibilities with this one.
  • Read alouds – Choose a book the youngest child in the car can read like the Choose Your Own Adventure series.
    • Everyone decides what they want to do mid chapter so each ending is different, or Junie B. Jones is great.
    • Everyone gets a turn to read a chapter, great for summer reading too.
road trip games for kids
  • What comes next? – Give each child a pocket atlas and a bookmark. Every once and a while throughout the trip ask what comes next? We are ________ now and let them find spots of interest coming up. A great way for them to see about how much further it is from where you are.

LEGO lunchbox building – Get a metal lunchbox and hot glue a flat piece of lego roll . Adhere it on the inside of the lid and on the inside of the lunch box. Fill lunch box with legos and shut.

On the ride they can open and build on the inside. When done they can close it up and carry it into restaurants and the hotel too!

  • Skittles game – For every yellow car you see (buses don’t count) you yell “skittle”.
    • The first person gets the point.
    • When you see a police car yell “busted” and everyone in the car loses all their points other than the person who yelled “busted”!
  • Audio books – If people get motion sickness listening to these are great alternatives.
  • Kindle fire Kids – Has tons of road trip games for kids and free apps they can play. And you can download free books before you leave so they can read on there.
  • iPad – Like the kindle fire but so many more apps.
    • Most are free and great for kids to play when all else fails like solitaire, hangman etc..
    • Probably well beyond 100 activities and games they can play just on this.
road trip games

Many of these ideas include 10-100 different activities. So, we are well beyond the 100 road trip games for kids I promised. I can’t help it! I will continue to add to this list too. Let us know below if you have another!

Looking for more road trip tips?

  1. Seasonal allergy relief for kids
  2. How to save money on gas
  3. Best California road trips

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Thursday 7th of January 2021

very helpful and realestic tips for traveling....thanks for shariing.... visit us

Himalayan Shadow

Saturday 16th of November 2019

I will try this in my trip!

Gurdeep Singh

Thursday 17th of January 2019

Helpful Tips. Thanks for sharing

Biplab Poddar

Thursday 1st of March 2018

Thanks for sharing this. Your tips are realistic and helpful. I am a travel freak and travel a lot. I Have children, I can relate to it.Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness., and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Next year I definitely want to explore Albany. People often have a theme that they base their worldly travels on, but how about a mental mantra for your travel? Out of a cheerleading event that consisted of our family shouting supportive words at our daughter who was attempting to kill a rather monstrous spider that the rest of us were too chicken to get close to, came this great quote, “If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!”

This quote came back to haunt me when on vacation in Seattle. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids on the Seattle Great Wheel, the ferris wheel overlooking the ocean, but as we approached it, I realized how high it went and immediately panicked! Just as I had decided to put the kids on it on their own, my daughter says, “Come on dad…If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!” What could I do at that point?! She was telling me to stop thinking and creating more fear about the situation and just get on the thing! “If you don’t think, and you just do, then it’s done!” We all now keep this quote in our back pocket, ready to whip out at any time to push one of us forward into an adventure we know they won’t regret. No hesitations, don’t allow any time for fear to set in, and be prepared for your kids to turn your life advice back on you

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