Popular Car Games for Children

kids in a car, as seen from an open trunkSummertime is probably the best time to think about car games for the kids.  Yes, it is the time for outdoor games – dodge ball, pool parties and ice cream eating contests. But what activity defines summer the most? Road trips! And don’t forget to come up with popular car games for children when traveling.

Kids undoubtedly enjoy a visit to grandma’s house in the countryside or a day trip to the beach. Even a simple excursion to the nearest national park is exciting! But as much as the destination is the highlight of the trip, you can make the journey just as enjoyable. So put away the cell phone and iPad! Here are five traveling games that will guarantee hours of fun for kids (and kids-at-heart) and make the trip more memorable than, say, your Candy Crush Saga game.

  1. The Alphabet Game

    the English alphabetThe mother of all car games for children! This one gave birth to countless variations.

    One variation of this very popular car game involves one player thinking of a grocery item – thus, it’s alternately being called “The Grocery Game” – starting with the letter A. The other players will take turns naming other items starting with B, C and so on. A mental battle of wit and creativity will ensue.

    Another version relies more on luck than creativity – and by luck we mean license plates of other cars and road signs. The mechanics are the same but, instead of grocery items, the player has to look out for license plates or bill board signs starting with the letter A. He or she needs to shout the word spotted and move on to the next letter. The first player to reach “Z” wins.

  2. Twenty Questions

    an image that says: 20 questionsThis is another staple of travelling games surpassed by the Alphabet Game probably by only a small margin.

    Have a word written on a piece of sticky note. The word could be any object or person conceivable (cat, burrito, John F. Kennedy, etc.). The note will then be stuck on the forehead of a player so that person will not be able to see the word.  He or she should then guess what’s written on the paper by asking only questions answerable with a Yes or No. Is it an animal? Is it an object? Is it a person? Only a total of 20 questions is allowed.

    It will be so much fun hearing the children’s hilariously wild guesses while playing this game!

  3. The Poem or Rhyme Building Game

    a baby sitting on a car seat in between 2 other childrenA unique and somewhat more challenging version of the storytelling game – a fairly fun road trip game in its own right – which involves players taking turns in spontaneously building a story. This time, instead of simple prose, it has to be a rhyme or poem.

    Have one of the children start by choosing an interesting premise (“Once, there was a toy-maker”) then the next players will take turns to add another sentence that should rhyme with the previous one (“Who also was a baker” … “That follows recipes to the letter”), until the story/poem builds itself. For extra creativity, you can agree to switch to a different word to rhyme every so often (say, every four lines).

  4. How Far?

    This game will depend on pure luck and on the car’s odometer (the digital mechanism on the headboard that tells how farone horse and a cow the car has traveled).

    Think of objects that you anticipate seeing during the trip. Have one player ask how far they have to travel before seeing a particular object, place or landmark (e.g., “How far is the next oak tree?” or “How far is the next cow?”), and then each player will take turns on giving estimates of distances (1, 5, or 7 miles). Once the object appears, the player with the closest estimate wins.

    Be sure the objects you name are likely to be seen; don’t say ‘camel’ if you’re driving in the middle of San Francisco!

  5. GHOST

    This game is the most mentally challenging on the list – by far. And no, no actual ghosts or scary stories need be involved.

    One of the a drawing of Casper, the friendly ghostplayers must first choose one letter, and then each of the others will take turns adding more letters. The letters being added should always be sensible enough to form a word. Any player who is stuck from adding a letter that could form a word will be given the letter “G” – and so on, and so forth – until he or she completes the word “GHOST”, at which point s/he’s out of the game. Continue until all but one player has the “GHOST” with them. This last player is the winner.

Keeping children entertained while on the road can be challenging. Why not let your kids try a new game at various legs of the drive to your destination? Introducing these popular car games to the children can be educational as much as they can be fun.

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