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Hitting the road with the kids doesn’t have to be a parenting nightmare. Remember life before iPads? Car games kept the whole family entertained when on the road. 

Turn your next long drive away into a great family memory with these fun easy to play car games which require little to no preparation.

I’m Going on a Picnic

This car game can be played with as few as two players, but it’s more fun when the whole family joins in. The first player says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” followed by something that begins with A, such as apples. The second player repeats what the first person said, but adds something that begins with B. So she might say “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples and bananas.” And so on with C, D, and the rest of the alphabet. If someone forgets an item, she is out. To be fair, feel free to be lenient and give hints to younger players. The last player to be able to recite all the items on the list wins.

Simpler version:
The first person says “A is for —” filling in the blank with any word beginning with the letter A, such as “apple.” The second person comes up with a word for the letter B, such as “book,” but must also repeat the “A” word: “A is for apple, B is for book.” Continue through the alphabet, each person taking several turns and reciting more and more letters and words. By the time you reach the letter Z, that player will recite the whole alphabet and its corresponding words.

Alphabet Objects

Players try to find the letters of the alphabet in order by looking at passing license plates, billboards, road signs, and all other signage. The first person to complete the alphabet wins.

20 Questions

This easy-peasy car game is great for young kids, thanks to its straightforward rules. Player One thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After each answer, the questioner gets one guess. Play continues until a player guesses correctly.

TV Tunes

One person hums the tune to a favourite TV show, and everyone else tries to name the show as fast as possible. The first person to guess correctly hums the next song.

Guess the Animal

In this car game, each person takes a turn making an animal sound, while everyone else tries to guess which animal it is. With the youngest kids, it works best to start out making the sounds yourself and having them guess. Once they get the hang of it, let them try making the sounds for you to guess.

How far from here to there?

Using your car’s odometer, challenge your kids to estimate distances. As you’re driving, ask them to guess how far you’ll travel to reach a certain point in the distance, for example, a tall building, a tree, a road sign, an exit ramp, or a distant hill (parents can make guesses, too).

Reset your trip odometer for each challenge, and then see who comes closest. The more you do it, the more everyone’s estimating skills will improve.

And of course, there is the old favourite and a regular car game featured in our car on short on long trips – I Spy. For young kids try swapping the letter for a colour. For example “I spy with my little eye something that is red.”

Want the kids entertained so you can catch up on some sleep, enjoy some quiet or just take a break from ‘tree being the I-spy guess for the 12th time in a row? Try these easy to prepare activities.

Whiteboard Markers
Turn the back windows into a drawing board the kids will love. Whiteboard or non permanent markers wipe off glass easily and old face cloths make great erasers.

All-in-one Binder
Fill a 3-ring binder with info about your trip: driving directions, hotel or campground information, coupons and discounts for restaurants along the way, pictures and fun facts about the destination.