Family, Kids & Relationships

10 fun games for kids to play in the car

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Summer road trip season is quickly approaching, which means lots of time in the car with your energetic, and mostly likely bored, kids. If you find yourself feeling daunted by a long car ride with the whole family, it’s a great time to learn some fun and easy car games for kids that will keep them entertained!

Imagination games for kids

Once Upon a Time

This game is fun for kids of all ages. Take turns creating a story together, one sentence at a time! The youngest person goes first, starting with, “Once upon a time…” and finishing the sentence with whatever they can imagine! The next oldest person then adds a sentence to the story, and so on.


This is another take on the Once Upon a Time game that is geared towards slightly older kids, around 6 and older. Each person takes a turn adding a sentence to the story, but the twist is that each sentence has to start with either “fortunately” or “unfortunately,” alternating back and forth with each turn. If your sentence starts with, “fortunately,” you’ll think of something fortunate that will happen in the story. If you start with “unfortunately,” you’ll think of something unfortunate that happens. For example, the first couple of turns of this game might sound like, “Fortunately, Maria found a big piece of cake in the refrigerator.” “Unfortunately, the cake was made out of wax and tasted awful.”

Triple Threat

In this storytelling game, you choose three unrelated (preferably silly!) things, and your kids have to tell a story that includes all three. For example, you might choose “puppy,” “popsicles,” and, “teapot,” and your kids can get creative and formulate a story that somehow ties all of those things together.

Would You Rather

This classic game is perfect for long car rides. Simply take turns coming up with sets of two things each person has to choose between. To get you started, here are 5 “Would You Rather” questions for kids of all ages.

Guessing games for kids

I Spy

This road trip classic is great for all ages! Start by saying, “I spy with my little eye…” and then choose something everyone can see from the car. Then name one clue about that item to help your kids figure it out. For example, if you choose a water tower in the distance, you might say, “I spy with my little eye…something that is tall!” Whoever guesses correctly gets to take the next turn.

20 Questions

This game is great for all ages! Start by thinking of a person, place, or thing. Everyone else will take turns asking one question that you can answer with a “yes” or “no.” After each answer, the person who asked the last question gets to make one guess about what you’re thinking of. The game continues until you get to 20 questions (or just until someone guesses correctly if you want to make it easier). 

Educational car games for kids

Alphabet Hunt

This car game works best for kids 6 and older. Starting with the letter “A,” the first person finds something everyone can see from the car that starts with that letter (such as road signs, billboards, and license plates). The next person finds something that starts with the letter “B,” and so on.

Name That Tune

You can play this game along with the radio if you have older kids who know lots of current artists, or you can create a family playlist for your car ride that only includes songs you’re pretty sure everyone in the car will know. Then, the front seat passenger can lead this game by playing a few seconds of a song, then pausing or muting it to allow the kids to guess what song it is. 

Memory car games for kids

License Plate Game

This is a fun memory game that works best for kids older than 7. Each time someone spots a license plate from a state you haven’t seen yet on the drive, they shout it out, and then together you can plan an imaginary vacation to that state and talk about what activities you would do and places you would go. The catch is, you have to remember all of the license plates you’ve seen so far, and don’t repeat any!

Cows and Cemeteries 

This counting and memory game can be fun for kids as young as 5! Each person keeps watch out of their side of the car, and adds up a point for every cow they see. If someone spots a cemetery, they lose all of their points and start over. This is a great game for getting some quiet time in the car as your kids try to keep track of how many cows they’ve seen!

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.