Whether you're going on a long road trip or simply running a few errands, taking the little ones along for the ride can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are many games you can safely play with them in the car that'll keep you both happy and entertained—without having to use a smartphone or a tablet.
Read on for a list of fun games to play in the car to help your child keep comfy in their car seat.
The first game on our list is "Guess What I Am." It's simple enough but packs a punch full of fun and learning. No props, no hassle—just you and your little co-pilot in the adventure machine you call a car.
For this game, you'll need to channel your inner voice actor. Think of your child's favorite animals, superheroes, or anything that goes 'beep beep' or 'moo.'
Now, make those sounds and let your child's imagination run wild as they try to guess what you're mimicking. You could go: "What do I sound like? Vroooooom!" Your kiddo would probably giggle and shout, "A car, a car!"
Not only is this game a lot of fun to play on the road, but it also lets your child flex their cognitive muscles. Identifying sounds sharpens their listening skills and broadens their understanding of the world, all while hearing you attempt to sound like a choo-choo train or a barking dog (which, let's face it, is pretty amusing).
Ever thought a car could turn into a classroom? Well, with "Rhyme Time," it can! Rhymes can transform any trip into an interactive learning experience.
Don't worry if your little one is still learning their ABCs; this road trip game is a terrific way to give them a nudge toward mastering the magic of language. Studies suggest that rhyming helps with future reading skills, so why not jump-start their love for words?
To play this game, start with a simple word—say, 'cat.' Ask your little thinker, "What word sounds like 'cat'?" Watch as they ponder and perhaps come up with gems like 'bat,' 'hat,' or even an imaginative 'splat!'
"I Spy" is a true road trip classic that spans generations and is a go-to choice for parents and kiddos alike.
To play, all you need are keen eyes and a sprinkle of creativity. Depending on how old your little adventurer is, you might want to keep your clues straightforward.
Say something like, "I spy something red," and let them scan the surroundings—or even the car interior—for anything that matches. Or go for, "I spy someone wearing a blue shirt," especially if it’s just a family member in the car.
Once they get the hang of it, flip the script! Allow them to be the ones to say, "I spy," and you be the guesser. It's a great way for them to practice their descriptive skills and for you to get a little peek into how they see the world.
Ready to turn your car into a concert hall? "Guess the Song" is the perfect game for little music lovers and grown-ups. This road trip game turns your favorite melodies into a sing-along challenge sure to bring smiles all around.
Here's how to play: One person starts by humming or singing a few lines from a well-loved song. The aim? To get the others to guess the tune! With younger kiddos, stick to nursery rhymes or TV show themes they recognize. For the older and more musically seasoned young ones, feel free to dive into chart-toppers and timeless classics. Whoever guesses the song gets to be the next performer.
Not only does this game make the miles fly by, but it also encourages a love for music. Get ready to hit those high notes!
Why leave all the fun to Simon? "Simon Says" is a road trip game that has stood the test of time and has been enjoyed by children for generations.
But before you head out, make sure your little one knows how to play. You could have a quick "Simon Says Bootcamp" at home, complete with demos and drills. Start simple, acting out the motions as you give the commands, and be crystal clear when you say "Simon says," so they know it's a legitimate command.
Once your pint-sized player has the basics down, hit the road and let the games begin. From "Simon says touch your toes" to "Simon says look out the window and find a tree," the possibilities are endless—and safely playable in a car seat.
"Story Time" gives you an opportunity to be the author of your own fairy tale—and you'll have the most eager audience in the world!
Begin narrating a simple story about your day-to-day adventures, like a trip to the park or grocery store. Then, add a twist, like transforming your tale by turning everyone into chatty animals frolicking in a magical forest.
As you narrate, invite your little one into the story world by asking, "And then what happened?" You'll be amazed at the delightful and imaginative twists they come up with!
Ever wonder what’s going on in those little minds? "20 Questions" gives you a window into your child’s thinking, and it's a hoot for everyone! This guessing game transforms the car into a detective's playground.
The game is straightforward: One person thinks of an object, animal, or pretty much anything. Then, the rest get to ask yes-or-no questions in an attempt to figure it out. Start easy, especially with younger players, by choosing familiar things like their favorite stuffed toy or cartoon character.
Everyone has a 20-question limit to solve the puzzle, making each round a race against the clock. This game not only keeps the fun rolling but also hones those little detective skills. Critical thinking? Check. Problem-solving? Double-check.
Who needs a stage when you've got a car full of fans? "Road Trip Karaoke" is your family's chance to shine. Before setting off, create a playlist of your child's jam-out songs using your preferred streaming service, and don't forget some road-friendly snacks!
Once everyone is ready to go, hit play and let the concert begin. Whether you're the parent or the kiddo, when it's your turn to be the lead singer, make sure to give it your all!
Our next few games to play in the car are perfect for families with older children who might need more mental gymnastics on the road. First up is "License Plate Scramble," a game that's ideal for those long stretches of slow traffic. "License Plate Scramble" is a twist on traditional word games.
To play, scan for license plates on surrounding cars at a stoplight or during slow-motion moments. Your mission? To make words or even phrases from the jumble of letters you spot. It's you against your co-passenger(s) to come up with the longest or most creative word combos.
Ready, set, unscramble!
"Would You Rather?" is a road trip game where imagination meets decision-making. Whether it's a cross-country journey or just a quick spin around the block, this game will fill your car with laughter and a few moments that make you think.
Kick things off by posing a question to your backseat participants. It could be a simple snack debate, like "Would you rather have pretzels or fruit snacks?" Bonus points if you can actually hand over the winning snack! Or, get creative and ask, "Would you rather have a talking pet or a pet you could fly on?"
From the downright silly to the thoughtfully profound, these questions lead to delightful discussions and surprising insights into everyone's preferences.
"Travel Bingo" is a fun and engaging way to make any journey feel like a scavenger hunt.
Before you hit the road, create bingo cards featuring commonly spotted roadside sights—think cows, red cars, or billboards. Hand out the cards to your little explorers, and let the game begin. As they spot each item, they'll mark it off their card.
When someone completes a row or, for the ambitious, fills the entire card—let them belt out a triumphant "Bingo!" Want to up the stakes? Offer a tasty snack or a fun prize for every bingo victory.
Why not encourage your little explorers to become travel journalists for the day? Hand each child a small notebook and coloring supplies.
Invite your kids to sketch, jot down thoughts, or even write stories based on their experiences as you journey. A travel journal offers not only a fun activity but also a memorable keepsake. Once home, have them show off their favorite entry and maybe even find a spot for it on the fridge!
Worried about where to stash all those creative materials? Some car seats, like our KidFit Zip Plus 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat, feature a handy built-in “kid console,” ensuring everything stays organized and within arm's reach for your little ones.
Whether you're embarking on a long road trip or just running a quick errand, keeping the little ones engaged and happy in the car is now a breeze. With a wide array of games to choose from, you and your child can share laughter and entertainment without relying on phones or tablets.
So, the next time you hit the road, don't forget to pack a bag of excitement with our favorite games to play in the car. Unleash your imagination, challenge your wit, and create cherished memories together. The journey will be filled with laughter, joy, and the joy of learning – making every car ride an adventure to remember. Happy travels and for more helpful tips and ideas, check out our blog!