Fun Car Activities for Kids (& Adults!)

car activities for kids

We’ve all been there before: You get a few miles down the road and you hear some complaints bubbling in the back seat. Are we there yet? I’m bored. What is there to do? Instead of panicking and wondering how you will make it through the next however many hours until you reach your destination, why not plan some fun car activities for your kids (and you!) to enjoy? 

You might be limited in space being all inside a car, but you aren’t as limited when it comes to activities. You just have to get a little creative! To help the hours pass on by, here are some great ideas to try out the next time you pack up the family and hit the road.  

Why Plan Activities?

We know what you’re thinking – why should I plan activities when I am in the car if I can just give my child a smart device like a smartphone or a tablet? That is a fair point, and there is certainly nothing wrong with using devices like that for part of your road trip. However, relying on phones and tablets for your entire road trip is not always the best idea.

Why is that? First of all, you might run into the issue of the devices running out of battery. If you don’t have ports for charging or battery packs you could run into that issue well before you reach your destination. More importantly, no child should spend that much time in front of a screen at one time! Not only is that not good for their eyes it is not good for their development as well, even if some of the time is spent on more educational activities

Some children also suffer from motion sickness and staring at a screen while in a moving car can be a recipe for an upset stomach. All that to say, we recommend limiting their screentime while on the road.

Additionally, these types of activities can actually be really great for your child (or children) to develop more social skills and even other skills based on their age and what activities you play. Something as simple as identifying different colors while driving down the highway can be a fun activity that can help your little one learn their colors and practice their observation skills.

And as a final bonus – car activities for kids can keep you entertained as well! Whether you are the one driving or are the navigator in the front seat, having some activities to keep you awake and focused can not just help with safety but help you to enjoy the trip as much as everyone else in the car. What’s not to love about that? 

With all that in mind, here are our top picks for the best road trip activities for kids and adults to enjoy! 

Best Road Trip Activities for Kids

1. 20 Questions

This is a classic game, and with good reason! This is the ultimate road trip game that you can play with anyone. We love that this game can be tailored to groups of any size and any age. You know the drill! One person thinks of a noun (person, place, or thing) and then everyone else in the car has up to 20 yes or no questions to ask to try and figure out what the person is thinking of. No materials required, this game is super fun and easy to play. 

road trip activities for kids

To make things easier, you can consider selecting a theme that people have to guess from. Maybe that is something road trip related (maybe your destination?) or it could be something totally random like food, celebrities, or sports! 

2. Listen to an Audiobook or Podcast

Yes, this does technically involve technology, but in this case, it is something that everyone can enjoy together! This is great if you are traveling with older kids who will be able to listen in and understand something like an audiobook or a podcast. There are so many great mysteries themed books and podcasts, for example, that can really make the time fly by when you are on the road.

audiobooks for kids

Turn this into more of an activity by pausing the book or podcast from time to time to discuss what is going on. If it is a mystery theme – ask your kids who they think is the bad guy, or what they think is going to happen next. They might not want to even leave the car when you get to the destination if you haven’t gotten to the end yet! 

3. The G-H-O-S-T Game

This one is a lot of fun! You don’t technically need any materials to play, although having some paper (or even just your phone) to keep track of things can come in handy. The main idea? Someone starts off spelling a word and everyone in the car has to pick a letter. The goal? You don’t want to be the person that says the last letter, because if you do, you get a letter in the word ghost. Whoever gets the full word spelled out first loses.

As an example, say you started the game and you said the letter ‘B’ the next person could choose what letter they wanted. Maybe they go with ‘E’ or an ‘A’ it can be any letter they want as long as it is a logical letter (I don’t think there are any words that start out bz for example!); if the next person said ‘U’ and you all ended up going around spelling the word butter, whoever’s turn it is to say ‘R’ would lose that round and gain a letter in ghost. 

This is a fun game that you can play at any time while you are in the car! If your kids (or you) are struggling to come up with words, consider tying in the road trip and thinking of words that you think of while in the car. Maybe that is something within the car itself or something you see out on the road. The choice is yours! 

4. Punch Buggy

Another classic that we had to include on our list! Now, seeing that VW beetles are less common than they used to be, you might want to pick a different car for this game. Consider something that is not super common but common enough that you plan to see it at least a few times while on the road!

punch buggy game

To make this game even more fun, consider switching it up a little bit. Instead of hitting the person next to you when you see the car, create a set of rules for each color that you find! You could also make the car selection a little more broad – say you go with convertibles. Any time you see a red convertible, you snap your fingers. When you see a blue one, you clap your hands. You get the idea! Whoever does it first for each car gets a point.

This is a great way to engage the entire family and keep them interested in what is happening on the road. Just make sure you write down the rules so that everyone can remember!  

5. Bring some Printable Activities

This may be our favorite idea. There are so many awesome printables out there that you can easily print off and share with your family. These are great if you want a more tangible game or activity that you can play and track progress with. Best of all, there are versions for just about anything and any age group! 

Printables also allow you to turn your activities into more of a competition, which is a great idea if your children are maybe easily distracted or simply don’t seem to care about car trip activities. Make it into a game, and most importantly, have a prize ready for whoever the winner is! 

There is a great list of printables here that you can check out from Tripsavvy. Some ideas include a license plate game, scavenger hunt for road signs, I spy road trip edition, and a lot more. Make sure you print a copy for everyone in the car (minus the driver of course) and make sure everyone has access to their own pen or pencil to record their answers. Let the games begin! You’ll be to your destination in no time. 

Wrapping Up

Road trips can be some of the most fun you have with your family, especially if you have some fun car activities for kids planned for along the way. Hopefully, these fun road activities have got you excited to plan your next family road trip.

Whether you go with a more simple game like 20 questions or get a little more involved by printing out some game sheets, there is a lot you can do to have fun with your entire family that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a screen the entire time!

We hope these activities have inspired you and give you the chance to create some wonderful memories with your family out on the road. Enjoy!

Kids Are a Trip