Great Games for the Car

February 18th, 2014 by

Planning a road trip this summer or just stuck in traffic? Pass the time with these fun games.


Download a free Madlibs app on your smart phone or visit a Madlibs webpage. Take turns filling in the blanks as creatively as possible. Read the story aloud and have a good laugh.

Feeling hungry? How about Eating the Alphabet?

Let your half-starved brood describe how hungry they are in this game, best played about half an hour before you make a pit stop for food. This version of the “I’m Packing for a Picnic” game begins when you announce “I’m so hungry I could eat an aviator” (“alligator,” or “apple”). The next player adds on with a B word. She might say, “I’m so hungry I could eat an aviator and a bunny rabbit” (“belly button,” or “bologna slice”). See if you can keep it up until your family is eating zoos, zippers, or zigzags.

Race to 20

Two players take turns counting to twenty. On each turn, a player can say one or two numbers. (If the first says “One,” the second might say “Two, three.”) Try to force your opponent to reach twenty first.

Buzz Fuzz Buzz Counting

This is a team effort to try to reach 100 without making a mistake. Take turns counting, beginning with one. Every time you get to a number that’s divisible by seven (7, 14, 21, . . .) or has a seven in it (17), say “Buzz” instead of the number. If one person forgets to say “Buzz,” everyone has to start over. If this is too hard, say “Buzz” for every number divisible by 5. If you want a real challenge, try Fuzz Buzz. Say “Fuzz” for every number with a three in it or that’s divisible by three, and “Buzz” for every number with a seven in it or that’s divisible by seven.

I Spy

Someone says, “I spy with my little eye something green.” Whoever guesses the item correctly goes next. You could limit the items to what’s in the area. Or you could get tricky and play I Spied, selecting items that you’ve already passed.

Guess Mobile

Name a guess master — the person who poses a guessing challenge. He or she could ask passengers to guess the color of the next passing car, or how long before you get to the next town. Or, with three clues, what it is that someone else sees.

The House on the Hill

Invent stories about people in the houses you are driving by. What do you think they do for work? What’s their favorite food? Where do they go on vacation? Get into lots of details, such as whether they snore loudly or are afraid of spiders. Give them names, hobbies, pets, and so on.

Guess My Name

In this acting game players imitate the motions, habits, and expressions of a famous person, such as an athlete, politician, musician, or actor. The clincher: No talking allowed! Players can ask Yes or No questions (which are met by a nod or a shake). The correct guesser does the next impression.

Two Truths and One Lie

The first person makes three statements about himself or herself. Two are true; the other is a lie. For example, you could say, “I had a dog named Puddles. My sister cut off my hair once when I was asleep. I won the school spelling bee when I was in third grade.” Everybody then holds up one, two, or three fingers to show which statement they think is the lie. Reveal the answer and let the next person fib away.

Car Scavenger Hunt (Great for kids)

Hand your kids a pack of index cards and ask them to write or draw pictures of 50 things they might see on a trip. Keep the cards for scavenger hunts when players vie to match what they see with the cards.

Color Safari

First. agree on a basic color — such as red, blue, green, or yellow — and challenge your in-route company to 100 items that are this color. Younger kids can play a shortened version — counting items to 10 or even 25; older kids will be challenged if you set a time limit and make them race against one another. You can also give each player a different color to search for.


Start with A to Z anyplace in the world: Kansas, say. The next person has to think of a place that begins with the last letter of Kansas, such as South Africa. Whoever goes next needs a place that starts with A. It has to be a real place — and no using a map!

Secret Highway Messages

Pass out the pencils and paper, and keep your eyes peeled for official road signs. Each time you spot one, write down the first letter. When you’ve passed five to seven signs — and have five to seven letters — you’re ready to crack the code. Here’s how: each letter stands for a word. So the letters D, S, C, S, and A could stand for the secret message “Drive slowly, construction starts ahead.” Of course, others in your family may interpret it as “Dad, stop, candy store ahead.”

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