Games for Car Ride

Updated on July 22, 2010
A.A. asks from Minneapolis, MN
18 answers

Hello fellow moms! We are about to take our 4 kids (ages 4-12) in a VERY long car ride (5 hours). 3.5 has been their max. I am looking for some car games to play. We are headed to grandpa's sailboat for a long weekend. This means we are limited on space to pack anything for the van and for on the boat. looking for games on paper (i.e. tic-tac-toe, complete the squares). And games of sight, alphabet etc (i.e. I spy, signs). THANK YOU so much for help, you will help the sanity of one mom and one dad (and in the end the kids, too)! We will definitely have the ipods charged and loaded!

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answers from Cincinnati on

when I was little we had car bingo. it list things you see on a trip (car, bird on a wire, dog) and is otherwise played like regular bingo. we also had one of those string game books that taught jacobs ladder and what not

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answers from Phoenix on

20Q is a hand held game everyone can particiapte in, word search books, count the colored cars (each person picks a color of car and the first that sees 10 of their color car on the road wins), tell a story as a family where one person starts and the next has to run with it and pass it off to the next who embellishes from there and so forth (it gets a great laugh), and who doesn't love a good game of who can be quiet the longest? The winner gets to pick a treat at the next gas stop.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Use the folder game it is...........I got great responses on how people were using the idea.........a great one is to use velcro to stick things to the folder so it doesn't blow away.............

Manila folder board game.

Get a file folder, open it up, and draw circles or squares or triangles, whatever you want and make a game board. Be sure to leave room for pictures either drawn or cut out. Then either buy clear contact paper or take it and get it laminated. Then go to the dollar store and buy some cheap "game pieces", they can be erasers, or whatever they cut some paper and make playing cards. These can go from ABC's, pictures or words, to letters and sounds, whatever you want. You can laminate them too if you want........Get some you are ready to can use the game for quite a while, and you can just changed the cards as they progress to new things.....When the board is in bad shape, make a new one......this can go on for years......and it's cheap, simple to make and they have fun playing a game, not realizing that they are learning as they go.

I hope this helps, remember, stickers are great too for the board, cards and as rewards for a great job done!

If you can go in and find my question about people using this, you will find some great ways on making one from them..........I was really happy with the responses and creative uses.

Good Luck, have fun and take care.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I've been seeing alot of Mad Libs booklets lately. You know - the ones that they have blanks every so often to complete the story. That might be different and fun.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We have a super long road trip coming up and I have been stocking up on stuff for this as well. Creative Kidstuff and Toy Zone both have some great, inexpensive products besides the ubiquitous car bingo games. I got a book of short mystery stories. So,one kid can read the mystery and everyone else has to figure it out. Also, there are stacks of very fun, open ended questions, that can be posed to the group to answer (If you had to create an ice cream flavor and had to use one vegetable, what would your flavor be...stuff like that).

Good luck

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have to first laugh; I am sorry.... 5 hrs is a VERY long car ride? I guess I was thinking more like 24 hours is long. We have done 6 hrs there and 6 hrs back in 24 hours and I do not hink that was long.. Know the 5 hrs will go by fast believe it or not. I guess we take 5 hr flights all of the time and travel international with 10 hr flights.
I take for granted you do not have a portable DVD player? That occupies 2 hrs right there. Your children are very vast in ages; so that is a bit more of a challenge. Have you also thought about leaving in the wee hours of the morning where they will sleep most of the trip? Leave at 3 or 4 AM and they will sleep most of the way. Paper games are many times hard to do in a moving car. Pack goodie bags for the kids. Each gets a backpack. Inside the backpack pack smaller paper bags staple each shut with suprises. Do games such as Rubik Cubes for the older one. Little dollar store toys for the younger ones. Opening the suprises are so much fun. The toy/suprise occupies them for so much longer if it is new and unknown. I would also pack one of the paper bags with suprise food treats. Remember each is a surprise bag and can not be open until on the road. So pack snacks they usually are not able to eat. That is fun right there.
I want you to also calm down and do not worry. If you have anxiety about the trip and think of it as a "long car trip", the kids will pick up on that too and the emotion will make them need to do something upon entering the car. The first hour at least, they should be able to sit and just ride. You should not have to pop out the bag of goodies right away. If you enter with the belief you have to entertain them from moment one, you are making it harder for you. If you are taking a trip to the local Target you do not entertain them. Just take a breath and look at it as fun. *Talk as a family. Talk about past things your family has done and what they remember. *Read a book as a family. Whoever is not driving reads a story the entire family would like. *Stopping to eat along the way can also break up the trip. *Another idea stop by a park or a rest stop and have everyone find one secret item. When you get back to the car, that person has to discribe the mystery item. The one who guesses it then has a chance. Use single words only to describe. *Also there is the spot the different license plates.
The bags of tricks work great for airplane rides, so I am sure it will in the car as well. New things hold attention longer than past things. If the road is smooth then the paper games can work.
*Do you have any family songs you all know? We have done soundtracks from movies in the car with everyone singing a part of the song.... Kind of like Family Karaoke. *Be sure to pack everyone a "new" book in the bags of goodies. Have fun.... Treasure these moments with your dad and kids as they will be the memories that are needed later in life. Enjoy yourself and know you will have a lot to talk about on the way back with very tired sleep kids... Pillows may take up all of the car ride (hint hint) on the return trip home!



answers from Iowa City on

We went on a 5 hour car ride a couple weeks ago and they did great. I made each one a binder filled with age-appropriate travel related worksheets, games, daily journal, and a coloring book or workbook. They also brought their DS's, but they spent most of their time with their binders. If you want the word docs and websites I used, let me know.



answers from Wausau on

When I was a child and the family was going on vacation, my mother would have a bag for my brother and a bag for me filled with cheap dime store type toys (card games, road bingo, etc.) wrapped in newspaper. Every hour we could open one package. The toy, no matter what it was, would occupy us for the hour until the next package could be opened. It certainly saved my parents sanity and was more than fun for my brother and myself!



answers from Minneapolis on

A few ideas- a DVD player, crayola color pages, books, mad libs. We play cows/horses- you get whatever is on your side of the car (10 pts for horses, 1 pt for cows, graveyard zeros all out). You can switch that one up to whatever you want. You might print out a map of the US and play the license plate game.

I give each child a "game bag" that they keep by them and it is brand new for their ride. Not new stuff- but they don't get to see it until we are in the car.



answers from Minneapolis on

Zingo by Think Fun is perfect, and they have a "ZINGO TO GO" version, I found it at a little toy store in burnsville called "ABC & Toy Zone", I think a specialty toy store would carry the TO GO version (you can get the regular Zingo at target):



answers from Fargo on

My kids, ages 8 and 12, have always loved to bring a notebook and colored pencils/crayons along for long car rides. It seems like they can entertain themselves for hours just listening to music on their ipods and drawing pictures/writing stories. Seek and Find books are popular, too. I picked one up at SAM'S Club that is huge for around $10.



answers from Waterloo on

one thing my daughter did on our very long (13 hours the 1st day of two week trip) drive was write down every state we were in at the time and every license plate from a different state she saw. it was interesting how many other travelers were on the road with us. where were they going? why? (moving, visiting relatives, vacation,etc.) who came from the furthest away? singing and reading kills some time, also. have fun!

S. m



answers from Pittsburgh on

We just returned from the beach which is an 8 hour car ride for us and I was worried, however, it turned out to be no problem. I went to the dollar store and got a few things to surprise my kids with throughout our trip. The one thing that was a hit with my daughter (2yrs) was Crayola's white board crayons. I got her a pack of those along with a small white board that she was able to hold in her lap. The crayons come with a cloth to wipe off the crayons, they were great. The only complaint is that they melt much faster than regular crayons. We ended up tracking some in the house on our shoes and now I have faint marks on my carpet that I can't get out.



answers from Davenport on

I REALLY want this set of games: Namits: They have a regular, junior and challenge is a deck of cards with ideas - name 3 things that have buttons, 5 things that are red - but many more ideas than that....

DInner Games would work in the car as well as at the table at home: They also have "junior" version.

TALK to each other - here are some cards called "Table Topics" conversation starters!

Here is one actually dubbed "family road trip games"

Brain Quest are good games:



answers from Des Moines on

Soduku. We used to LOVE Mad-Libs. Also my family and I always played The Animal Game. One person would think of an animal and the others ask yes/no questions to figure it out. Like 20 questions but sometimes it took us more than 20. You could buy each kid a cheap electronic game like Yatzee and then have them switch.

Honestly, I'm envious. We are about to take a 9 mo and a 2.5 year old in the car for 14 hours... are we insane...



answers from Minneapolis on

On our road trip last summer, my boys had a lot of fun with a card game, "Travel and Scavenger Hunt." It says ages 7 and up, but I bet the little ones could play too, especially with a partner or on teams. The co. who makes it is Pazow. I got mine at a coffee shop in northern MN, but they might have it somewhere like Creative Kid's Stuff or on line. It's pretty basic--you could probably even make your own. Have fun!


answers from Austin on

Eye spy..

Books on CD that the whole family can listen to.

Brain Quest.. I buy them from the resale book stores..


Joke/riddle books

The word game where you say a word and the next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the word said..

Trivia pursuit cards..

Start a story and each person has to add onto it..
There was a bear....
I once had a magic box....
I was crying because....



answers from San Francisco on

Some friends of ours actually stuck a TV screen inbetween the driver and passenger seats and attached a Wii to it...sounds like a pain...but they were driving 2000 miles :)

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