Fun games for road trip

21 Best Road Trip Games to Play in the Car for Kids in 2021

Wondering how you’re going to keep the kids entertained on the next family road trip?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!  We’ve put together a list of the best road trip games for kids that will make the next car adventure seem like a breeze.

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So, if you’re having a hard time thinking up ways to pass the time, keep reading. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of fun road trip games to play with the kids.

You can also check out our guide to planning the ultimate road trip for more fun things to do in the car. See our suggestions below!

1. Name the Artist

The first person to name the artist or group when a song comes on the radio gets a point. Keep playing until you reach your destination and whoever has the most points at arrival, wins. Need a great playlist? Check out our dance party tracks on Spotify here.

2. The License Plate Game

The goal is to spot as many license plates from different states as you can. Whoever sees a plate first and calls it gets to color it in on their map. The person with the most states colored in at the end, wins.

3. The Grocery Game

Choose your first player and ask them to think of an item you can purchase at the grocery store. Everyone else in the car takes turns guessing what it might be by asking a question. Is it something you would find in the frozen food aisle, perhaps? No? Guess again!

4. What Color is It?

Have the adults in the family list a bunch of things that are the same color. For example, they may say “fire engines, apples, stop signs…” They should keep going until the kids yell out, “Red!” Remember, road trips are long. The more items you list, the better!

5. Alphabet Game

Keep an eye out for road signs! The objective here is to find a word on each sign you pass that begins with each letter of the alphabet, starting from the beginning (“A” for  Arby’s, and so on). Call them out as you drive by. First one who gets to Z, wins!


Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Print out our Scavenger Hunt game card, one per player. First one to complete their card wins.

7. Punch Buggy

An ol’ fashion road trip favorite! See who can spot the most punch buggies, also known as the Volkswagen Beetle, on the road! When you see one, shout it out and include the color of the car (Yellow punch buggy!). Those kinds of sightings are worth one point.

Classic bugs are worth 2, and vans worth 5. Rare models, such as “Herby the Love Bug” are worth a whopping ten! Whoever has the most points by the time you reach your destination wins. Remember, the game doesn’t end until the car is parked!

8. I Spy

Because this one is already so well known, it won’t take a lot of instruction to learn how to play. The first person selects something either on the road or in the car without revealing what it is to the rest of the players in the car. Then they must repeat the phrase, “I spy with my little eye something that begins with the letter …” as it relates to the answer.

The other passengers then try to guess what it might be. While it’s not the most complex car game out there, it is a great way to help young kids develop their spelling and grammar skills, particularly those who are still getting familiar with the alphabet.

9. 20 Questions

We’ll admit that when driving through long stretches of rural area, “I Spy” might not be the best choice to entertain the kids with. 20 Questions, on the other hand, offers endless opportunities for road trip entertainment and is a great choice for games for long car rides.

Pick out a person, place or thing. Everyone in the car can take turns asking yes-or-no questions about what it is, or who it is, you may be thinking of. No two people should ask the same question, and no one can answer more than 20 questions.

Whoever guesses the mystery object first goes next!

10. Triple Threat

Next on the list of road trip games to play on car rides is the Triple Threat. Here, the adults must choose three nouns, like “plate,” “monkey” and “snow,” for example. The kids have to create a story that includes all three things. Be warned: things will get very silly, very fast.

11. Category ABCs

As far as games for a car ride go, this one is pretty straightforward.  Have the first player choose a category and name something that begins with the letter A.

The next person does the same, only their answer should begin with the letter B. The next person is in charge of letter C, and so on. Some examples for the “food” category include Apples, Broccoli, Cookies…

12. Car Color Search

A perfect game for younger kids. Print out one game card per child and let them circle the car colors as they spot them.

13. Would You Rather

Here’s another kid-friendly exercise: Choose one person to think of a question. For instance, Would you rather be the funniest person alive, or the smartest person alive?

You can direct these questions to everyone in the car or take turns providing answers. Of course, when it comes to playing these types of games in a car, it’s important to make sure you’re well prepared.

You can always print out some questions ahead of time to make sure you don’t run out of ideas when on the road.

14. In My Suitcase

Why not sprinkle a fun memory game into your road trip experience? The first person starts by saying, “I’m going on vacation and I packed…” Finish the sentence with any item that begins with the letter A.

The next player must repeat the sentence said by the first player and add an item to the list beginning with the letter B. Keep going and see how many letters you can get through before someone forgets!

15. Name the Most…

Decide on a category and go around the car to see how many related items you can name. For example, you can start with Disney princesses or characters from a specific movie.

You can up the competition a bit by having the passengers bet on who can name the most within the shortest amount of time. If challenged, each opponent must provide an answer within 5-10 seconds. Whoever gets stumped first, loses.

16. Sing Along Challenge

Looking for games that carry a little rhythm? Look no further. To play, one person starts singing a line from a popular song. Passengers must pay attention to the last word sung.

The next person to sing a line must make sure it begins with the same word. See how long it takes until someone gets stuck!

17. The Movie Game

Here’s another fun game to play during a long car ride. Have someone in the family suggest a letter. For instance, if they chose to begin with T, then everyone else in the car must think of movies that begin with T, as in Toy Story and so on.

Once you get through that category, you can begin moving through the alphabet.

18. Hypotheticals

In need of a few more fun car games to get you through the drive? Get everyone in the car to respond to a series of hypothetical questions, like, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”.  Or, “If you could transform into any kind of animal, what would it be?”.

Brownie points for whoever provides the most creative answers!

19. Count the Animals

For this game, you must name a series of objects or animals to look out for when on the road. You can choose any number of things, from cows to road signs to yellow cars and more.

Keep a tally of every object on the list that you spot. Whoever has the most points by the end of the road trip wins!

20. Top 10 Game

This one can be applied to almost any subject. Into cars? Have the family come up with the top 10 favorite models. Maybe you’re a musical fanatic. Ask everyone in the car to volunteer their favorites until you get to 10.

Any Robert Pattinson fans in the family? Come up with his top 10 roles!

21. Backseat Bingo

Looking for more fun games to play in the car? Check out this next activity. Before you hit the road, print out these bingo cards. They have different sheets available for different areas, so print according to where you’re traveling.

Each player should take a good look at their cards and keep their eyes on the road to spot items along the way. The first player to cross out a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of their bingo sheet, wins!

We hope you enjoyed our list of road trip games to play in the car! Don’t forget to take photos along the way and share on social media. Tag us in the fun! Check back in with us soon for more things to do with the family.

Each week, we’re bringing you some original ideas on how to have family fun at home, at the lodge and when you travel.

13 Fun Road Trip Games for all ages

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Our top road trip games for all ages, to make your trip more fun. Including ‘who am I?’, 'License plate game', ‘would you rather' and more.

Jeremy Sudibyo
9min read • 21 Apr 2021

There’s no being bored in the car when you have a good set of road trip games at your disposal. Because while music sets the mood and a good book transports you to another world, road trip games are so much fun because all of your travel companions are involved and having a good time.

Everyone enjoys a good laugh, whether it’s kids playing ‘who am I?’ with their parents, the whole family cracking their heads over a word game, or friends goofing around with absurd proposals of ‘would you rather’. We listed fun road games to play in the car or with your RV Rental for all these types of travellers. We have listed 13 different road trip games to pass time in the car and make your time on the road more amusing.

Table of Contents

5 best road trip games for kids

 “Let’s see who can stay quiet the longest!” Parents, don’t suggest ‘the quiet game’ to your kids in an attempt to outsmart them. Kids love a good laugh and to have their brain tickled.

If you are going camping with kids, entertainment on the road is key. A good road trip game does both and goes beyond keeping their brain occupied. It’s a super fun way for parents and kids to solve riddles and crack jokes together!

I spy

This has to be the ultimate classic car game for kids. We all remember spying with our little eyes something our siblings could never guess. 

A quick rundown of the rules for those that need a reminder: the player that is ‘it’ secretly spies something that others can see but won’t easily guess. Note that the object has to remain in sight for a while. The player then starts off by saying “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and then gives a hint— colour, first letter, general direction, pick a clue of choice. 

The other players then ask yes-no questions until someone guesses correctly. That player then has to spy something with their little eye. 

Who am I 

Another all-time favourite, ‘who am I’ requires kids to don their detective hat and do some deductive reasoning. 

Whoever starts first (rock, papers, scissors usually decides who does) thinks of an animal or person. The other players take turns asking questions to find out who or what that person is. Players can ask anything as long as it’s answerable with a yes or no, but they can only guess at the identity of the player while it’s their turn asking a question.  

A fun alternative to playing free-for-all is by having everyone team up and getting a limited amount of questions each, as well as a maximum of three guesses. This cranks up the difficulty level as well as teaches kids how to work together. 

Don’t say it

Here’s a way to keep a long ride interesting. ‘Don’t say it’ is a road trip game for kids that 

runs for the whole journey and will keep kids alert and on their figurative toes. 

At the start of this car game for kids, players (or clever parents) come up with 3-5 words that are forbidden for the rest of the trip or until an event comes to pass, say until the next time you stop for gas. The player with the least amount of points at the end of the ride wins. 

I packed my bag

Whether or not your kids are at the age where they pack their own bags, they’ll have to get packing in this game. And they get to take anything they want.

A memory game, ‘I packed my bag’ results in long lists of packed items. Players pick a destination for an imaginary holiday and then take turns saying “I packed my bag and in it is..” adding an item they’d bring after reciting what has already been out in up to then by all players and in the right order. Good luck carrying that bag! 

Scavenger hunt

A game you can keep running for a long time and that doesn’t require much from the grownups once they’ve convinced the kids to play. Sounds good?

Like ‘I spy’, ‘scavenger hunt’ falls in the category of road trip games that involve spotting objects. In this classic travel game for kids, come up with a list of treasures that the kids need to find along the journey. The one that first spots all items wins. You might want to keep score on a piece of paper.

5 Road trip games for the whole family

With a few tweaks or simplifications, most road trip games can be played with the family. But somehow word games always get the whole family around the table trying to lay eight-letter words on a board of scrabble or keeping their stick figure from getting hanged.  

Ditto for word games on a road trip. You might not have to get everyone around the table, but you still need them on board for a fun family game on a road trip.  

License plate game

Let’s just start with the best family word game you thought you couldn’t play without the actual board game. Well, scrabble is hitting the road because here’s a how-to play scrabble in a car. 

‘The License plate game’ is played by memorizing or writing down the letters of the first license plate you spot and then forming as many words as you can. One license plate per player per round.

Apart from the letters on the license plate, two vowels are picked (unique or two of the same) per round that all players have at their disposal to add to their pool of letters. The player with the most words at the end of a predefined number of rounds wins.

The infinite word game

A fun word game where everyone works towards getting a word as long as possible. But it’s not as simple as it sounds.

‘The infinite word game’ has one player starts with a word of their choice. Players after then name a word that starts with the first letter. The caveat? A letter is added to the starting sequence every time a player names a word. Obviously, players can’t use a word that has already been named. 

With a little teamwork, let’s see how far you can get! (Hint: don’t use long words at the start.)

Word Trail

This car word game revolves around compound words. The rules are pretty simple: players take turns naming compound words that start with the previous ending word.

For instance, a sequence will run “animal barn – barnyard – yardstick – stick figure.. etc”.


Being on the road doesn’t mean you can’t hang stick figures. All you need is a pen and paper. Or a foggy window. 

We all know how to play hangman, don’t we? 


One player thinks of a secret word with a quantified number of letters, say 6.

The other player then guesses words (of the same length) and is told how many correct letters match in the right position in the word and how many letters are correct but in the wrong position.

The guessing continues until the player identifies the correct word!

3 Great car games to play with friends

Travelling with your long-time pals? Then these travel games for friends are a great way to bring up old memories and have a good time. Or maybe you’re a newly formed band of friends? Then break the ice and get to know each other better with these road trip games.

Two truths and a lie

Depending on what truths and lies you choose to tell, this game is great for old and new friends. 

One player makes three statements, one of which is false. The others guess which one. Sounds simple enough, right? The great thing about having to make three statements is you can get subtle mixing facts with fiction. 

For instance, retell a past event your co-travellers were part of and slip in one tiny lie. Or, have others get to know you better by revealing something about yourself two truths and a lie at a time. 

Never have I ever

Of all road trip car games, this is likely the most revealing one. Players take turns making statements starting with “never have I ever…”. The others then guess whether the statement is true or false. 

Generally, the more rounds are played, the more embarrassing the statements that are made. Or maybe that’s just because the last time we played this game was in college and with drinks of choice on the table.

While you were sleeping

Play this hilarious game when someone dozes off. Which is bound to happen on a long road trip.

When you’ve made sure the unwitting snoozer is asleep, players make up a story that supposedly happened while that person was asleep. Everyone awake takes turns adding to the story. When the person wakes up again you all try to convince them of your made-up story. Whoever breaks character first or is caught by the person that just woke up telling a lie has to do the dishes later. 

Got away with feeding the sleeper a fake story? (Everyone will have to have told their part of the story convincingly.) The person who fell for the story will then have to do the dishes later.

Hopefully, this list of Indie’s favourite road trip games can make road travel entertaining and playful for the young and the old alike.

Don’t forget George Bernard Shaw wise words “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing“.

About the Autor
Jeremy Sudibyo

Seasonal vanlifer on a permanent holiday. Does occasional creative work to sustain his diet of beachside margaritas and paperback thrills.

90,000 11 best games on the road - as much as you can in Cities! - magazine Behind the wheel

I put in my backpack, Forbidden words, The best day of life, Numbers with meaning and other non-banal entertainment.

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Anyone who loves to travel with the whole family knows that five minutes after the start, the children begin to languish. Of course, for a while they can be distracted by a phone or tablet, put on a selection of songs, turn on Children's Radio or an audiobook. You can stock up on children's crossword puzzles in advance and guess them together. But after some time, this will get boring, the children will want more active entertainment, and then you will need to turn on your imagination.

Fun games on the go are uplifting, and it's great if the whole family is involved.

I see what you don't see

The rules are simple. The host marks (for himself) an object in the field of view of travelers, and the task of the players is to guess it by asking a minimum of questions. Moreover, only “yes” or “no” answers are allowed. Warning: the game is addictive.

Guess people or animals

Begins: "I think you know him." And then, for example: "This animal can fly." And with the help of leading questions, you need to guess what kind of animal it is. Alternatively, you can guess someone from your family or friends. For example, this person wears glasses. The question is when do you read? Yes. The next question is is it old? No. Does he have children? Yes. That is, in this case, the answers can also be only “yes” or “no”.

Guess the song

The players alternately hum or whistle the song. Others guess its name or artist. Whoever recognizes the song first wins. Children's songs, famous pop singles, whatever musical memory has to offer will do. At the end, the guessed song can be sung together - this will cheer everyone up.

Hit Parade

Together you are looking for a song that everyone knows. For example, "Let the pedestrians run clumsily through the puddles." The parent assigns in what mood you should perform it. For example, sad or cheerful, in the style of a march or hip-hop. Who won? Yes, who will come out funnier, although here is the case when the process is more important than victory.

I'm putting in my backpack...

The first player starts with "I'm putting in my backpack..." and comes up with something, like a hairbrush. The next player repeats the item of the first player and adds his own - a comb and a bottle of water. The one who forgets at least one of the previous items will lose. True, it is advisable for the host to keep a list so as not to make a mistake.

Forbidden words

"Don't take white and black, don't say 'yes' and 'no'." There is a leader and there is a player. The task of the presenter is to force the player to say forbidden words, and it is important for the player not to let it slip for as long as possible. Questions should be asked tricky, for example, it can be difficult to evasively answer the question: "What color is sugar?" or “Tell me, do you really like ice cream?” Alas, sooner or later the player lets slip, the main thing is to deftly lull his vigilance! If a word is accidentally said, the players switch roles. For reference, the first question can be answered: "The same as printer paper."

In the classic version of the game, it always started with the question: "Will you go to the ball?", but today's children may not know about balls, so you can ask any questions.

The best day of their lives

The children are asked one by one to describe how they see the best day of their lives. A serving of chocolate ice cream for breakfast instead of porridge, and then jumping on the bed to exhaustion. Then dress up and go to an amusement park, ride a ferris wheel there, go to an upside down house, eat your fill of french fries, ride a pony, and end the day in a cafe where you can get three cream cakes and a big vanilla cocktail. Or is your child's ideal day completely different? The long journey is a great opportunity to learn about it. You may be very surprised by its history, and some dreams can be realized already on vacation - at least about ice cream.

Your color

Here each player names their favorite color and then looks for it in things around. The first one to find ten objects of this color is the winner.

"Scary" stories

In the "black-black room sat a black-black man" - do you remember? Let's create stories together. The host tells the end of the story, others guess how it happened. Example: there are red shoes in the meadow, they are stained with mud, but their hostess is not around. What happened to her? This is more suitable for children 5-7 years old and older, the kids will not understand and may be scared.

Vehicle signs

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And this is a game for schoolchildren: all participants receive a piece of paper and a pencil. Now they have about 10 minutes to look at the license plates of cars passing along the road. Everyone writes down five numbers of their choice without telling the other players. Then one of the adults tells the children the numbers of the cars that he sees himself. If the child already has such letters and numbers, he crosses them out of his piece of paper. Whoever crosses everything out first wins!

Or another option: you keep looking at license plates of passing cars and trying to make sentences out of them. It often turns out funny, even the baby "gets infected" and laughs along with the older children. For example: N *** TV - "You must be lying!" or M *** SK - “Misha is a super pump!” The winner is the one who quickly comes up with a coherent and funny phrase.

Who will be the first to see

And this is fun for very, very little ones. It is unpretentious - "whoever sees it first" on the road or along it. For example, a red car or a dog, a grandmother with a wand or a mother with a stroller. And believe me, this is also very exciting, especially if you say the terms funny and show them with facial expressions and gestures.

In general, it is important to choose the game that suits the age and character of your child. Good mood and fun tireless journey!

If you enjoy other games on the road, tell us about them in the comments. Let's make the second part of the publication!

Photo: Depositphotos

10 games to turn the road with your child into a fun trip Here are the games that will help you with this:

  1. Backwards game. When you are driving in a car or flying in an airplane, play this game with your child. Take a word and ask the child to say it backwards. For example, "CLOUD" would sound like "OKALBO". Children will find this game very funny. If you are not too lazy, then you can encrypt, in this way, the whole message! “Ym mitel an erom!”, for example. The child will have to strain his brain very actively in order to read such mirror words and phrases.
  2. Game "One letter - many words". Name nouns in turn starting with one of any chosen letter. Whoever runs out of words loses.
  3. Game "Bukvoed". In this game, you need to match descriptions to objects that begin with the same letter. For example, you saw a cat. We are looking for a description with the letter K - "The cat is sneaking towards the box." Or you saw a fly, so we are looking for a description with the letter M - "Masha's mother washes the car." This game is great for playing in the car and stimulates the mental processes.
  4. The game "Encrypted word". The game consists in the fact that you choose a word, for example "table", and come up with a sentence with the child, the words of which begin with letters from the invented word. So: "Trunk of the Poplar Very Brittle" or "Blue Fog Enveloped Leningrad". It turns out very funny.
  5. Game - "Spy Message". Each word of the alphabet is assigned a number: A - 1, B - 2, C - 3, D - 4, D - 5, E - 6, E - 7, F - 8, W - 9, I - 10, Y - 11 , K - 12, L - 13, M - 14, N - 15, O - 16, P - 17, R - 18, C - 19, T - 20, Y - 21, F - 22, X - 23, C - 24, H - 25, W - 26, W - 27, b - 28, S - 29, b - 30, E - 31, Yu - 32, I - 33. You think of a word or phrase, and your child guesses. For example, the word BOOK will look like this: 12 + 15 + 10 + 4 + 1. You can write encrypted messages to each other (for example, "17 + 16 + 18 + 1" "19 + 17 + 1 + 20 + 30"), do numbers in your secret language. This game is fantastic for developing math skills. To play this game on a plane or train, you can prepare a card with letters and corresponding numbers in advance.
  6. Game "6 words". Talk to each other in such a way that the sentence contains 6 words, and they must make sense: “Today we will finally go to the circus! ".
  7. Game "Lost letter". Imagine that some letter is missing, just disappeared. For example, K . You need to talk to each other, avoiding the letter K in words. So: “Come on, let's go to the theater or the museum? - With pleasure. I suggest the Moscow Art Theater. “Great idea, let’s run for tickets!” And so on. Firstly, the game makes you think hard, and secondly, it develops vocabulary, because. the child sorts through the words in memory, looks for synonyms, selects different solutions.
  8. Exercise "The best day". Remember yesterday in detail. You will be surprised how mechanically we live. It is very difficult to remember the day in detail from morning to evening. Questions can be: what did you eat for breakfast, what did you drink, what color socks did you wear, what color was your father's shirt, what was your mother's hairstyle, how many children were absent from school, what fairy tale did you read in the garden, etc. All these questions stimulate memory and increase awareness of life.
  9. Game "Minute". This game requires 2 or 3 players and is suitable for the whole family to play. One sets the topic, for example, "Nature", and the second must tell everything he knows about nature in a minute. There are no restrictions, you can say whatever comes to mind, the main thing is not to stop for exactly 1 minute. For example, “Nature is everything that surrounds us. However, we are accustomed to call nature some special place, away from the city and next to the forest and water. Once we went to nature with the whole class. The PE teacher helped us make fishing rods and we fished…”, etc.

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