Cool Car Games Kids Enjoy

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Are you & your family going on a long car trip and looking for some cool car games kids enjoy?  Here we will explore some options available for your family travels.

Basic Games

The following games do not require anything to play and are a valuable asset when you need to entertain the kids during a car ride.  These are the best clutch games as they can be played anytime needed.

  • The Alphabet Game
  • The Counting Game
  • I’m Thinking of an Animal…
  • Eye Spy
  • Punch Bug

The Alphabet Game – Probably the most common game to play on a car ride is to find your ABCs on the various signs and such along your drive.  Its a great game for the younger kids to help reinforce their knowledge of the alphabet.  This game is not good for the driver to play though, as the looking for letters would cause a distraction.

The Counting Game – Basically the same as the alphabet game, but this time we are using numbers instead.  While its pretty easy at first, the game gets harder as the numbers get higher.  Finding signs with enough to get your double or triple digit numbers can be challenging.  Again, the driver should abstain from playing this game.

Thinking of an Animal, Owl
I’m thinking of an animal that flies at night and says, “who!”

I’m Thinking of an Animal… – This is my kids favorite game to play in the car.  We take turns thinking of a specific animal and start giving clues as to what it might be.  For everyone else its a race to see who can figure out the animal first.  I must say that the kids amazed me with their knowledge of animals with this game on several occasions.

Eye Spy – In this game you take turns “spying” something with your “eye” and give clues as to what you are looking at.  The rest of the players must look around and try to figure out what has been spied.  When playing this game in a moving car, I would suggest that you pick things out that are prominent features of passing landscape or else you risk driving past your object too fast.  This is also a game that the driver should not participate in.

Punch Bug – I can still remember clearly the day I learned of this game.  I was with my friend and his family going down through town.  Then when a VW Bug drove past, his younger brother and sister suddenly both yelled punch bug and hit each other.  My friend and I both declared that game as stupid, well at least until the next VW bug drove by.  When you see a VW bug, old or new, you can call it out by color and punch somebody else.  Obviously the punches are meant to be fun and not forceful and the driver should not be included as a target regardless.

Electronic Games

Our DS Travel Bag
Our DS Travel Bag

Another tool for modern parents for today’s road trips are electronic devices.  From hand held gaming systems, tablets, to cell phones, these devices can definitely occupy your children for some good periods of time.  Just make sure that they have a good charge or a mobile charging device handy.

My children have always enjoyed the Nintendo handheldgaming systems.  We have a small backpack that travels with us everywhere we go.  This way we can have access to all the games and any other accessories that we may need.

Travel Size Games

Hangman Travel Game
Hangman for on the go

A quick search at Amazon reveals that many of the classic and new games have the smaller travel versions available (shared a couple links below).  Having a few of these games in your collection can be valuable assets on your travels.  Not only can they entertain in the car, but they can also cover for unexpected down times at your destination.

While most of the travel size games have a place to store everything, you still may need extra carrying capacity while they are being played.  I recommend having a backpack or bag of sorts to keep all of your games and any extra pieces in.

Wrap Up

When it all boils down to it, you will want to have a good variety of options for your car rides.  The longer the travel the more choices you will want to have.  All too often kids can get bored of only having one or two things to do.  Having a good variety can definitely help improve your family journeys.

Having a travel bag or keeping things in the car can even help on just short rides as well.  I have always found that if the kids were bickering at each other or upset about something, that playing a game can quickly calm and refocus them in a more positive way.

If you have any questions, please ask the below in the comments and I will answer them as soon as I can.  Also, if you have any other games or tips that you would like to share, please do in the comments below.

James W D
james@familygamenightideas.com

Amazon Links for Travel Games


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10 Replies to “Cool Car Games Kids Enjoy”

  1. I played the eye spy game on many a road trip. It was a great way to pass the time and always presented a challenge for both the person trying to pick the object to guess and the person trying to figure out what was being spied.

    • Thanks for stopping by Edward and I am glad I was able to surface some good memories for you. I hope that you stop by again sometime!

  2. Not a big fan of the electronic alternatives because I believe people use them as replacement babysitters and parents let their children access any time of information online. But I love all of the non-electronic alternatives as they engage the imagination and critical thinking skills.

    • Ithamar, I appreciate your feedback. I agree that the electronics can be misused as babysitters, and honestly is one of the factors that motivated me to do this site. The key is finding balance with the electronics as well more traditional games. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Good day James

    Hehe I feel like I learn something new every time I read one o your blogs. I’ll be sure to give a few of these a try to help bring my younger siblings together while driving. They’re always at each others necks. lol

    • Thanks Ke’Aira, I appreciate you stopping by again. My youngest two children tend to “bicker” at each other a lot, and the best way I have found to get them to stop in a positive fashion is by changing their focus. Works much better then doing the whole correcting parent thing.

  4. What a great idea, to write about car games–especially now that the holiday season is nearing and people are going to be travelling places. Another great car game is “Twenty Questions”, where one person thinks of something and the others start by asking “Animal, vegetable or mineral?” and then have 20 (or 19, depending on preference) questions to guess what the thing is. Winner goes again, if s/he loses the next person gets a turn.
    I really like this site!

    • Max, Great idea with the 20 questions! I will have to work up an edit to add that in! Thank you so much for the idea and your support!

  5. As usual, great post James! I always enjoy reading them. — As soon as I started reading I said to myself, I bet most of these games the driver will not be able to play. YUP! But they are all great games. I have played most of them. I’m glad to see you mention the Nintendo DS and cell phone games, especially since I have worked on creating games for those systems. But I must give a warning to anyone who is going to play Punch Bug. You may not want to play this game in California and Arizona. Those states seem to have the most amount of them on the road and most of them are the older ones too. You could become quite sore playing that game in those states. 🙂

    • hehe, sounds like I need to take my oldest son on a road trip out there while I am still quicker then him. I almost learned the hard way about playing the Alphabet game while driving, ever since that close call I have abstained. Thanks for stopping by again and leaving some feedback!

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