Are you planning a long car journey for the holidays? We asked our Mykidstime parents for their suggestions on entertaining the kids en route. Here are 30 games for car journeys and kids car activities to make that journey feel a bit shorter for everyone!
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#1. I Spy
I Spy is the classic car game. Take it in turns to guess what the other person spies.
For a variation for younger kids, instead of “I Spy something beginning with T” try the colour version “I spy something coloured red”.
“The only thing with I Spy is you have to be quick or you could be gone past it. My kids love it”
#2. Blow at the Traffic Lights
Get them to blow at the red traffic lights to turn them green, great for driving around the city.
All in car choose a year and then start counting the cars that correspond with your year and see who wins.
“Great way to kill an hour or two”
Recommended Read: 30 Entertaining Car Ride Games for Kids Aged 8-12 yrs
#4. Car Colours
All in car choose a colour and then start counting the cars that correspond with your colour and see who wins.
#5. Call out the Cars
Calling out the year or make of cars. “My little 5 year old loves playing this”
You might also enjoy: 5 Fun Ideas for Kids in the Car
#6. Car Snooker
You have to spot the cars in the same order as you pot the balls for snooker: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and finally black. “The pink can take a looooong time”
Recommended: Top 10 tips for happy car travel with kids
#7. Car Alphabet
Try to spot words on road signs in order of the alphabet as you travel. (you can skip tricky letters such as Q or X or Z)
#8. Little Timmy
“We play a game called ‘Little Timmy thought it was a good idea when’……usually ends up in bouts of laughter……or if we are really stuck then we think up ‘Mad Titles for a book'”
You might also find 15 Best Apps for Kids When Travelling useful
#9. The Minister’s Cat
An old Victorian game where you have to think of adjectives to describe the Minister’s Cat in alphabetical order, e.g. start with “The minister’s cat is an adorable cat”. The next person says e.g. “The minister’s cat is an adorable cat and a bouncy cat” and so on.
#10. I went to the Shops
Memory game where each person adds to the shopping list. First person says e.g. “I went to the shops and bought a pint of milk”. Second person says “I went to the shops and bought a pint of milk and some butter” and so on.
Related: Download our free Car Journey Games to occupy the kids in the car
At nightime watch the moon – show the kids how it changes from one side of car to other as you change roads or road direction.
“At nighttime our kids love watching the moon follow us home”
#12. Sing Songs
Try singing a few round songs like Frere Jacques or 3 Blind Mice. 10 Green Bottles Hanging on the Wall or 10 Fat Sausages Sizzing In the Pan is another family favourite. Or there’s the classics like “Somewhere over the Rainbow” or “My Favourite Things” from The Sound of Music.
“One starts a song and they all join in when you call their name, we have a special car song they all love” “We like to sing along to nursery rhymes and songs with the younger ones”
Start a story and then everyone has a turn where they have to add to the story starting their sentence with “fortunately” or “unfortunately” depending on the turn. “The stories can get really good.”
#14. Scissors, Paper, Stone
Scissors beats paper as they cut paper, paper beats stone as paper can wrap the stone up and stone beats scissors as the stone can blunt the scissors.
#15. Magnadoodle or Aquadoodle
Handy for the car, and good fun are mini magnadoodles or aquadoodles.
“Magnadoodles are the best to entertain even my 19 month old loves it”
#16. Invest in a Chalk Mat
“I bought a chalk mat which rolls up with a little pocket with a piece of chalk & sponge inside
A portable DVD player is great for passing time on long journeys. If you have more than 1 child, you can buy a small splitter which will allow them both to plug in headphones and watch the same movie together.
“A Dvd player is a must!”
#18. Nintendo DS
Some parents recommended bringing a Nintendo DS and games. Make sure it’s well charged before your journey and don’t forget to bring the charger with you.
#19. Listen to a Story
Bring along some story CDs or download some podcasts for your phone to listen through the CD player.
“Read along books are great with the CDs, my Lil fella can’t read yet but he loves Disney stories and looking at the pictures. Nursery Rhyme CDs are good too.”
Alternatively, subscribe to Audible.co.uk or Audible.com which allows you to download books for a monthly subscription of £3.99/month. Free trial available and can cancel subscription at any time. The app is available on Android and iOS.
#20. Lucky Dip
Wrap small items e.g. pencils, notebooks, eraser, hair clip, stickers in tissue paper and every hour the kids get to unwrap a present.
#20. Guess Who
Take it in turns to think of a person and the others have to guess who it is asking only questions that can be answered Yes or No.
First person starts with a geographic place name and the next person has to think of a place name that starts with the last letter of the previous place.
So e.g. BlackrocK – KilbeggaN – NicE – EdinburgH. See how far round the world you can get!
#22. Twenty Questions
First person thinks of something that’s either Animal, Vegetable or Mineral and the others have 20 questions to guess what it is. Questions must only have a Yes or No answer.
#23. Alice the Camel
You recite a verse: “Alice the camel had ten humps, Alice the camel had ten humps, Alice the camel had ten humps, so ride Alice ride.” Repeat the verse until you reach the number zero.
“It is best fun when it is sung really fast!”
Give your child the road atlas and have them trace your journey on the map as you go.
Or use your smartphone and Google Maps and have them follow the blue circle as you go.
#25. Name the theme tune
Take it in turns to hum a famous theme tune or sing it in a different style. The first person to guess the answer wins.
#26. Guess the number
Take it in turns to think of a number between 1 and 1,000, keeping it to yourself. The others then take it in turns to guess at what the number is. Each time they are wrong you reply “higher” or “lower” until the correct number is guessed.
#27. Animal Spotting
Give the children a list of animals to watch out for, eg a cow, a horse, a sheep, a bird on a wire. The first person to see the entire set wins the game.
#28. Draw a Map of the Journey
Have each child draw their own version of the map of the journey as you go on a piece of paper, marking the key things you see on the way.
#29. Make up Limericks
Have a go at making up limericks, a limerick has five lines; the first, second, and fifth rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth rhyme with each other.
#30. Create a Group Story
First person starts the story e.g. “Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess” or something more unusual like “Cassie the Camel was miserable”. Each person in the car adds a line and the story builds and builds. Once you reach your destination the kids could write out and illustrate the story.
Over to you now! Have you got a favourite car game or activity that the kids enjoy on journeys? Share it with us in the comments below.