Answering the ever-popular question, “Are we there yet?” can become a little tiresome during long car rides. With a bit of preparation, you can have enough things to do in a car ride to keep the kids entertained during those longer journeys. Even better, children can be having so much fun that they don’t even realize they’re learning while they play!
No matter the age of your children, you will likely have to deal with the “I’m bored” dilemma on a long car ride. However, having these things to do in a car ride planned and ready to go ahead of time will ensure you are ready when those moments happen. The best kids games for the car are those that cost little to nothing and these certainly fit that bill.
For little ones mastering the alphabet, ask them to look for letters. Start with the letter “a” and see if they can spot it on a sign. Continue on to the next letter of the alphabet. The same game can be played with numbers, starting at zero and ending at nine. You can switch the focus to colors too, asking children to point out objects that are the color you name.
Before your trip, print off a few fun activities for the kids to complete in the car. Activities like word searches, letter hunts, and the “Would You Rather” game will help keep them occupied. Worksheets and printables are great to stash in the car for road trips that start to bore the youngest passengers!
A scavenger hunt is a great way to provide children with a focus during car rides. For younger ones, give them a list of things to find, paired with a picture. For example, they could be on the hunt for a yellow car, a playground, a motorcycle, and a blue sign. Tailor your scavenger hunt to the area you’ll be traveling in. Perhaps they can watch for mountains, campgrounds, or cows!
More Road Trip Games for Kids
You can always play an old favorite: I Spy. Take turns choosing something that can be seen in the car and use the phrase, “I spy with my little eye, something that…” Remind kids not to choose an object that they see out the window, but seconds later, you will drive by and can no longer spot it! If they need guidance, suggest they try spying on something in the car that is a certain color.
Playing 20 Questions may help pass the time. This is a game where one person chooses something, and the others ask “yes” or “no” questions to try to determine what the thing is. They only get 20 total questions. For example, they may ask if it’s alive, if it’s something to eat, or if it can be found in the house. For little ones, try using a category like people we know, cartoons, or foods. This will help them narrow their focus when trying to choose a person or thing. When it’s their turn to guess, having a category will help guide their questions.
Another simple game that doesn’t require any materials is the Category Game. Choose a category that is easy for your child to relate to. For example, the category could be animals, colors, fruits, and vegetables, or TV shows. The goal is to name as many things as possible that fit the category. Players can take turns naming something until they run out of ideas.
Creating a story together, one sentence at a time often leads to lots of laughter! One person begins the story, completing the phrase, “Once upon a time…” The next person adds another sentence to the story. Everyone takes turns adding a sentence. You can decide how to end the game – either set a time limit or give each person a certain number of turns.
Car rides can become a challenge when kids get bored and start to express their frustration! Keep them entertained and keep everyone in the car happier by planning a few road trip activities.