School holidays and car trips go hand in hand, so we’ve dug deep and found the best car games for kids to play on long journeys.
For these travel games you will not need any chargers, batteries or materials. You just need your imagination, patience and voices.
Screen, page and travel sick free car games for kids
The car games that we’re suggesting were carefully chosen so as not to be screen or page based. These car games should be perfect to avoid little ones getting motion sick.
These kids car travel games encourage involvement of all family members, communication, relationship building and laughs!
Most of these games are pitched towards kids who know their alphabets and can count. Adjustments can be made to include younger kids in these car travel games.
RELATED: Looking for the BEST travel games for kids – we have a detailed list!
Whenever you spot a yellow vehicle, usually this means a yellow car you shout ‘Spotto’. You can make up your own rules of Spotto in terms of what counts as a ‘yellow’ vehicle and what shade of yellow will be allowed. Once the rules are agreed you proceed to call out ‘Spotto’ every time you see an appropriate vehicle – the person with the most wins!
2. I Spy
Who hasn’t played I Spy on a road trip? Relieve the old laughter and frustration from your youth (particularly when someone gets the starting letter wrong) and introduce your kids to the joy of “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…”. There’s a reason this is at the top of our list of best kids car games!
If you have a little one who doenst know their alphabet yet, why not use colours?
I spy with my little eye, something green!
3. Number Plate Bingo
Each player needs to keep track of their alphabet (you might need a piece of paper and a pen for everyone). Players have to keep their eyes peeled for cars going past. When they see the letters they need on different number plates they can mark them off. First one to reach zero numbers remaining has to shout “BINGO!”.
4. I’m going on a picnic
We’d argue this isn’t just one of the best kids car games – it’s one of the BEST games for kids! I’m going on a picnic is often played in schools as it enhances memory, concentration and communication skills.
The first person starts off with “I’m going on a picnic and I’m taking …” and fills in an item (let’s say ‘bread’ for this example). The second person adds their element but has to remember what the first person said as well. “I’m going on a picnic and I’m taking jam and bread”. The game continues with each person having to remember all the items that came beforehand. See how many your family can get to in this really challenging game!
4. Cheese Please!
This one is going to give you a case of the giggles. The person who is ‘up’ has to close their eyes. Someone else in the car then has to say “CHEESE PLEASE” in the funniest, weirdest voice they can muster! The player who had their eyes closed has to correctly guess who said CHEESE PLEASE otherwise it’s their turn to be up again! Definitely one of the silliest, kids car games!
6. 20 Questions
Animal? Mineral? Vegetable? If it’s your turn you choose ‘something’ to be. You can only answer yes or no to any questions. If you receive 20 questions before someone has correctly guessed what you are then you win!
Our tip: Maybe try playing this one closer to the start of the tip. The last thing you want is more questions if you’re hearing a lot of “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
7. Initial Answers
Radio stations often play this with contestants which makes it a really great car game for kids. Keep your eye on the clock. Give a player a letter (for example – A). They get ten questions in one minute and each of their answers has to correspond with that letter.
You can ask questions like – Animal? Antelope. City? Adelaide. Job? Accountant. Watch the time tick down and the excitement build as the kids do their best to beat the clock!
8. Name Game
This car game for kids is similar to Scattergories and is a really great car game for kids who need a little help focusing and calming down.
Decide on a category (for example – boys’ names). Cycle through the car one at a time and everyone has to say a boy’s name corresponding with the next letter in the alphabet. Allan, Bill, Cooper, Dale and so on. This can get tricky and heated the further up the scales you go!
9. Tell a story word by word
Once. Upon. A. Time. There. Was. A. Car.
Ask everyone in your family to listen to the story and add their own contribution word by word. Invariably, this can turn quite silly and funny very quickly. You’ll quickly see why this is one of the best car games for kids the further your tribe gets into the story.
10. Traveller’s Alphabet
The last of our literacy games, Traveller’s Alphabet is in a similar vein to Name Game. Each player will cycle through the alphabet and tell everyone where they are going and what they are doing there.
“I’m going to Adelaide to do acrobatics”
“I’m going to Bali to bellydance”
See what your crew comes up with for X!
11. The Quiet Game
Depending on your level of exhaustion, this may be the best car game for kids of them all. The rules are simple – the winner is the person who can be quietest for longest. My kids actually love this game and ASK to play it!!)
Happy travels with the best car games for kids!
The thing we like most about our list is the involvement and enjoyment that everyone in the family will get out of them. Even your reluctant too-cool teen will come around and start giggling along with the rest of them.
We also love these top 25 songs about travelling and reckon you will too!
This article was featured in Issue 49 of our printed magazine, published December 2021.