Keeping kids entertained on the road & anywhere on the move!
Any parents who have gone ANYWHERE with their children for a span of time longer than five minutes have probably experienced that prickle of irritation every time they hear the phrase, “Are we there yet???”
Coupled with the added stress of having to adhere to a flight schedule or the fatigue of hours of driving, and it’s enough to make any sane adult turn around and head right back home.
When faced with seemingly hours of flight or drive time and unexpected delays or extended layovers, car trouble, motion sickness, etc., we know that we need entertaining distractions for our children. However, some of us may baulk at the thought of merely plugging them into an iPad for the entire day and calling it done.
Even though an iPad is in my own kid’s plane bags, they need variety, which is why we’ve compiled these Games for Kids in the Car – all of them no screen! just for you.
Some just need your imagination, others we offer some free printables you can take along or small travel bag-sized games to include on your road trip packing list.
This post is part of our family road trip series – you’ll find more great tips from car packing essentials to dealing with babies & toddlers on long trips
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Games to play in the car with kids on a road trip
With the Globetrotters we have embarked on countless hours in the car to date, and I truly believe the two travelling essentials are healthy snacks and activities to keep everyone occupied for the duration of the journey – cue road trip games!
There is also a limited amount of space in any vehicle, so the smaller and more versatile the game (or even just in your heads), the better!
Would You Rather (Ages 2+):
This particular game is so fun because the possibilities are literally endless. Your toddler can even chime in (they definitely have opinions), and the discussions on why PB&Fluff is better than PB&J can get lively. The best part is that you can find questions on your phone or iPad for free, or you can print them off in the very likely chance you’ll lose cell service.
You can find our exclusive set of FREE & printable Would You Rather questions for toddlers through to teens over HERE.
ABC Game (Ages 3+):
Younger children might require a bit of assistance for this road trip game, but there are so many different versions you can play. For example, you could do Category ABCs, where the category is animals and each person has to think of animals that go in alphabetical order:
- Beluga Whale
You could also use your ever-changing surroundings to search for words that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
This is an excellent game to help younger children work on the letter and colour identification skills and is equally challenging for older children (and even adults). Use this printable sheet or a plain old piece of notebook paper.
Mad Libs (Ages 8+) and Mad Libs Junior (Ages 5-7):
The reason I placed this particular game in the road trip game category is its laughter-inducing reputation. If you have younger children, I would suggest Mad Libs Junior because it uses corresponding symbols and word lists instead of requiring them to know their parts of speech.
The traditional Mad Libs game would work well for families with older children. Both have the potential for hours of rib-tickling fun!
Melissa & Doug Flip to Win License Plate Game (Ages 8+):
Toys and games with small, easily lose-able parts are my nemeses when travelling because I’m still finding pieces of them months later (along with those stale cracker bits). This wooden board game is designed for two and helps the players identify license plates from all 50 states. The best part? No loose pieces!
Spot It! (Ages 4-15 years):
If you or anyone in your family has a competitive streak, things could get a little heated with this game!
Spot It! and Spot It! Junior cards come in a portable can and are adaptable to all age groups. The aim of the game is to find the same item on two or more cards, and the first person to Spot It! wins the round.
Unintended yelling will probably ensue, so it might be a good idea to restrict this to more open areas!!
Take N Play Bingo (Ages 4+):
The nice thing about this version of Bingo is its compact design. The two Bingo boards snap together, and the pieces are magnetic, reducing the chances that they will travel on between/underneath the seats after you’ve reached your destination.
If you have two children, it also provides you with the slim chance of 10 consecutive minutes to yourself to enjoy that juicy novel you scored from the terminal gift shop. Hey, miracles can happen, right?
Melissa and Doug Flip to Win Hangman (Ages 6+):
I’m a big fan of travel games that are fun and educational at the same time, and Hangman is as simple as it gets. The Hangman travel-friendly version has a whiteboard answer section and self-storing dry erase marker with an eraser. There are no loose pieces, so you know it’s a win in my book!
Free road trip printables
If you are looking for some classic road trip games to keep the kids occupied for hours then do subscribe to our mailing list where we can give you FREE access to our printable games collection.
I cannot guarantee that these travel games will eliminate every gruff or grumpy moment in your adventures, but they can help cultivate your children’s creativity and imagination, with many opportunities for laughter along the way.
All of them will slip easily into your child’s travel bag.
I hope you’ll give a few of these Travel Games for Kids a try, and let me know which ones worked for you!
Looking for more travel toy and game ideas for your little ones?
Don’t miss these guides for each age group to help keep your little ones occupied when you travel:
- Best travel toys for your 1-year-old
- Best travel toys for your 2-year-old
- Best travel toys for your 3-year-old
- Best travel toys for your 4-year-old
- Best travel toys for your 5-year-old
- Best travel toys and games for tweens
- Engaging road trip toys for a toddler
- The best car seat travel toys for keeping organized on the go
- Best toys for babies on a long flight
- Best Beach Toys for kids
- Best Camping Toys & Games for Kids
- Imaginative Beach games for kids of all ages
Family Road Trip Advice
Don’t miss all our detailed guides to getting you ready to hit the road – plus some inspirational road trip reads! We have for you:
- 45 Essentials Your Need on a Family Road Trip – includes a printable packing checklist to get you & your car ready for a long journey
- Essential Tips Planning a Road Trip with A Baby
- Surviving Road Trips With Toddlers
- Epic Family Road Trip Destinations around the World
Still looking for road trip ideas? Here’s where you could be travelling to next!
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