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12 FUN CAR RIDE GAMES FOR KIDS ON TRIPS

Replace car screen time with giggles by playing one of these 12 fun car games...

Are we there yet?

No.

If we were there, we would be…well, THERE!

Traveling even short distances with kids can be a challenge. Putting technology in the hands of kids has allowed those hours to pass more quickly, but it has removed them from the experience of watching the world go by out the window.

Don’t cram everyone into the car to stare at little screens rent a van or SUV that gives everyone space to spread out and a window view. I am really excited to be partnered with Alamo Rent Car this year as a Chief Travel Guide to share some tips and tricks I have figured out while traveling with my own kids. The pictures throughout this article are taken from some of our favorite adventures.

Once we have everyone’s attention and space to play, that is where car ride games come in!

Getting kids actively involved in what is going on around them is the first step to gaining their participation in travel.

They can play on their iPad anywhere, but only on a Texas road can they see a tumbleweed stampede; experience a ram-caused traffic jam on an Oregon mountain highway or touch a 30-foot snow bank in July near the continental divide.

This is why we travel!

5 TRADITIONAL CAR GAMES FOR KIDS

Let’s start with some of the traditional games to play in the car that have survived the test of time. Many of these games are the ones that I played in holiday car trips as a child. Why did it seem that grandma/grandpa and aunts/uncles/cousins always lived on the opposite side of the country?

Eye Spy – This game is great for kids of all ages because it can be easily adapted to the level of the child. While a toddler may need to stay in the color category, “I spy something red”, a competitive carload of teenagers can take this to a completely new level.

I am going on a trip… – This memory game starts with a simple statement of “I am going on a trip and I’m bringing a {fill in the blank with something starting with the letter A}” followed by the next person repeating the first persons essential trip item and adding their own with the next letter of the alphabet. Similar to Eye Spy, this game is great with just two people or a full van. Trying to find the most ridiculous object necessary for travel creates silly fun.

License Plate Game – We played this game two ways. The first was an alphabet version, which could be easily completed without paper. The goal was to find the letters of the alphabet in sequence before the opponent. A pro tip is to NOT shout out the letter you just found until the car has passed! The second way to play is to be on a state search. For this version, it is best to have a piece of paper to record the states that are identified or a map to check them off. The person at the end of the trip who found the most states, wins. This is also a fun game to continue from trip to trip (see the printable map in our free car activities book below).

20 Questions – The first person starts by thinking of a person, place or thing. The other travelers take turns asking yes/no questions. After each “yes” answer, the person who asked the question gets one guess. If no one guesses before 20 questions are asked, then the person who is answering the questions wins.

Clap Bug {updated version of Slug Bug to remove violence in the car} – Back in the olden days when siblings used to roll around in the backseat without car seats or seatbelts, hitting each other when a VW bug rolled by seemed like a really fun game. Now kids are strapped equidistant without the ability to touch, let alone get a forceful fist landed on a brother’s deltoid.

The basic premise of this game is to choose a car type (like the VW bug) and everyone searches for it. When it is seen, then you clap your hands. The first person who claps is the winner of that round. It is likely you will need to keep track because this is a game that never ends. With the decreasing frequency of VW bugs on the road, choosing something like a van or pickup model might make the game more engaging. For added complication, choose a rare second model that when identified gets two quick claps for more “points.”

7 FREE CAR GAMES (DOWNLOAD & PRINT)

We have put together a fun Road Activities booklet that you can print and take with you on your next adventure. For longer trips, laminate the pages so you can play again and again.

Here is what is inside:

  • We’re Going on a Car Ride coloring page
  • Car Ride Scavenger Hunt – search everything from a trash truck to a bird, add up your points and see who wins!
  • The Alphabet Game – hunt letters along the way and see if you can find all 26.
  • Cars of Many Colors – who can find the pink car first?
  • Places I’ve Been – use the map to chart your journey, record your travels or play the license plate game.
  • The Dot Game – my favorite!
  • Tic-Tac-Toe – multiple boards for a full competition.

Check out the travel resources on Alamo’s Pinterest boards. Whether you are renting a van or SUV for more room or grabbing a rental car from Alamo at the airport to get you to your final destination, Alamo can help make traveling with your family easier.

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