Car Games for a Successful Family Road Trip

This is part three of three in my series on How to Plan a Successful Family Road Trip. Read part one, Planning an Itinerary, and part two, Packing and Safety.

Planning a road trip with the family? Whether it’s a short trip or an epic cross-country journey, there are lots of fun car games to help you and the kids pass the time.

car games

Be Prepared to Bust the Boredom

Regardless of the exciting activities and stops you have planned, there will be stretches of time “enjoying” one another’s company in the car. The first way to avoid fighting, boredom, and “are we there yet?” is to pack a bag of activities for each child.

Think about what your child likes. You might include books, crayons, pens & pencils, action figures, Etch-A-Sketch or Magnadoodle, a drawing pad, notebook, or electronics. It’s always fun to get some “surprises” too – a new DVD, book, toy or game can keep things fresh and keep you sane.

Travel-Related Books

National Geographic Kids’ Almanac: Bursting with information about the culture, history, animal life, geography, wackiest weather and weird but true facts from every corner of the globe, this book offers an entire section that provides an overview of all 195 countries and another section containing info on our 50 states.

My kids love the “weird but true” facts and I love that they are learning something new. And it’s full of the gorgeous photos you’d expect from a National Geographic publication!

Nat Geo Almanac

Rand McNally Activity Books: Are We There Yet? offers boredom-busting puzzles, games, and journaling and coloring pages. The Kids’ Road Atlas is the ideal companion for any US road trip with a page for every state that includes a road map, state facts, and a game or puzzle. I mapped our route on each state map before the trip so the kids could follow along.

Car Games That Are Actually Fun

For those times when you want to play car games as a family, these are some of my family’s personal favorites.

car games

Scavenger Hunt Travel Card Game: Each person is dealt five cards depicting various things you might find on the road. There are the usual items, such as stop signs and hotels, but there are also some fun ones, like a “person with orange hair,” and a “really dirty car.” When you see the item on your card, you call it out, put your card aside, and draw a new one.

There are also swap cards that let you exchange cards if you’ve got a particularly difficult one in your hand. The first person to find 10 items wins. The game goes pretty quickly and my kids always ask to play again. I love that it makes everyone look up from their devices and outside at their surroundings.

Miles of Smiles: This book is chock-full of fun facts, trivia and games that will keep kids and adults talking and laughing. It’s one of the best investments I ever made for our time in the car!

One of our favorite games from this book is called “What Am I Counting?” One person starts counting something out loud and the rest of the passengers have to figure out what they are counting. It’s a tough game! Is he counting traffic lights? Trucks? Surveillance cameras?

Magnetic Travel Bingo: Bingo is always a classic, and a magnetic version makes it easy to play in the car with all ages.

Brain Quest: My kids love all versions of Brain Quest and the questions have sparked some interesting and educational conversations!

With proper planning and preparation, a lengthy road trip can form the experience of a lifetime. Build in extra time, be prepared, pack light, and have fun!

car games

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