12 Games to Play With Kids on Car Journeys

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

The school holidays means it’s time for family holidays, day trips and plenty of time in the car. If your little angel turns into a broken ‘Are we there yet?’ record on long trips, we’ve compiled a list of the very best in-car games to play to make time consuming journeys fly by.

Many families now opt for gadgets in the car, such as tablets or DVD players, but for those families that want a lower cost option, we’ve scoured the web to bring you a selection of games that we think your family will love.

1. I-Spy
“I spy with my little eye, something beginning wiiiiiiiiiith…” Could we really create this article without the classic in-car game? Everybody knows how to play I-spy, but the novelty usually wears off quite quickly for kids and adults alike. Definitely an option, but you will need a back up.

2. Noughts & Crosses (Tic-Tac-To)
A quick and simple game that can be played with ease using just a pad and pencil. One person chooses Noughts, the other Crosses and it’s first to get 3 in a row on a grid. Easy!

3. Hangman
Another classic. Play with just a pad and pencil, choose a word and mark out the blank spaces where the letters should be. Draw a piece of the gallows each time a wrong letter is mentioned, the aim is to guess the word before the man is hanged (Gruesome).

4. In Car Bingo
This will take a bit of creation on the parents part. Create a number of Bingo cards with different things that you might see on your car trip (Red car, Bridge, Blue sign, Lorry etc) and give everyone in the car a different card, the first to get a line or full house on their card wins!

5. I’m going on holiday and in my bag I have packed…
A variation of the classic memory game, the player starts by saying the opening line in the title, and adds an item to the end, each player in turn does the same adding a further item each time until they get the sequence wrong.  It’s usually a good idea to cater the opening line to wherever you are heading, to capitalise on the kids excitement for the trip. ‘Im going to the beach and..’, ‘Im going camping and…’ etc.

6. The Banana Game
Otherwise known as ‘Yellow car’. See who can spot the most yellow vehicles  in a given time. Choose different points on vehicle size.

7. 20 Questions
Classic party game that can be transferred to the car. Pick a person, keep it secret and let everyone ask up to 20 yes/no questions to see if they can guess. For the kids, it’s probably best to choose cartoon or story book characters.

8. ‘Cows on my side!’
Split the car into two teams, if you spot a cow on your side of the road then yell ‘Cows on my side’, you receive a point. If you spot a cow on the other side of the car, yell ‘Cows on your side!’ and if you get there before that team does, steal one of their points. Let the competition begin!

9. The Animal Game
One person names an animal, and in turn you name an animal beginning with the last letter of the previous animal. E.g. Person 1: Dog, Person 2:  Goat, Person 3: Turtle etc

10. Grapevine
Person 1 starts with a story, whispering it to the person next to them. The story gets whisper passed around the car and the final person says out loud what they have heard, it’s usually somewhat different (especially if young children are involved) and will cause a laugh for passengers.

11. Guess the tune
This game works for any age group, you just need to tailor your tunes to the audience. Kids will be great at guessing nursery rhymes and cartoon theme tunes (and they’re probably ingrained in your head from repeated viewing too). Hum the tune and let people guess the answer.

12. Arms and Legs
Split the car into two teams again, and you’re on the look out for pub names. Specifically you’re looking for pub names that may feature arms or legs, with a point for every limb implied. Example: The Queen Victoria = 4 points (2 arms and 2 legs on a person), The Red Lion = 4 points (4 legs), Horse and Jockey = 8 points (2 arms, 2 legs, and 4 legs). Keep track of the score and reward how you see fit.


That’s just a selection of games that need very little resource and won’t make a mess in your car. Got any other great in-car games? Let us know in the comments below. You could just save another parent’s sanity.