Top 5 Games to Play in the Car During Holiday Road Trips

games to play in the car during road trips - family traveling in van

Our most popular family holidays are just around the corner. We love all of the food, presents, and magical decorations, but travel details and obligations to friends and family can get overwhelming.

It’s important not to stress and embrace the holidays as a time to bond, laugh, and celebrate life’s many blessings.

That being said, you have to get to the party somehow!

If you live within driving distance from your family members, you’ll most likely be foregoing flights in favor of the open road. However, the idea of spending several long hours in a vehicle with your family causes many to fear the clichéd “Are we there yet?” holiday road trip.

You may not be hosting the event this year, but you’ll need to figure out how to entertain the kiddos on your way to it.

Top 5 Games for Holiday Road Trips

Here are the top 5 games to play in the car with your family. You’ll sing, spy, guess, and giggle, and maybe even make it all the way without a single, “Are we there yet?”

1. “21 Questions

If you’ve ever wanted to read your child’s mind, or feel you possess the psychic gift, this is the game for you and your family. It’s the perfect entertainment for the nosy nelly in all of us.

How you play:

  • One person thinks of a person, place, or object—as a family you can decide on categories and topics!
  • Everyone in the car takes a turn asking specific questions in order to guess what their family member is thinking of.
    • Are they a celebrity?
    • Is it located in America?
  • The questions should only be answered with a “yes” or a “no.”
  • The first person to guess correctly is the winner, and becomes the next person to come up with a topic.

2. Battle of the Bands

If you’ve ever fought with your teenager over the radio, here’s everyone’s chance to play road trip DJ and show off their karaoke skills in the process. Since everyone will have their smart phones out anyway, might as well use them to jam out with the fam!

How you play:

  • Write down song categories on scraps of paper and put them in a bag, hat, cup, or whatever’s handy.
    • Christmas Songs
    • Television Theme Songs
    • Best Songs From 2016
  • Divide the car into two teams and come up with team names. Assign one person to keep score for added competition.
  • After teams have been decided and names picked, one person selects a song category from the container.
  • Each team then has 1-2 minutes to choose a song related to that category and look it up on their phones or iPod—you can choose a representative from each team and take turns, or pick as a team!
  • Each team takes turns playing the song they chose—everyone sings along!
  • The car judges which team chose the best song for the given category. Be honest!
  • The winning team gets the point.
  • Pick again!

Guaranteed to cause lots of laughter and nostalgia.

3. The ABC Game

A classic among road trip games, the Alphabet Game is fun for everyone from kindergarteners on up. It gets the kiddos and teens away from their screens to enjoy the scenery around them in a fast-paced and educational competition.

How you play:

  • The goal is to locate a word for every letter in the alphabet using only road, billboard, and building signs, in alphabetical order of course. Q and X are always the most frustrating!
  • You cannot use license plates, because those aren’t words!
  • Starting from the letter A, locate and say the A-word you find and move to the next letter in the alphabet.
  • Two people cannot use the same word—so see it and say it fast!
  • The first person to get to Z, wins!
  • You can set a timer and see who can get the furthest in the quickest time to switch up the game in round 2.

4. I’m Going on a Picnic…

Another entertaining alphabet game that counts more on memory than keen eye sight. For an added challenge, you can choose to reverse the alphabet and begin with Z, pick from a list of vocabulary words, or choose categories (food, animals) for the items you bring on your imaginary picnic.

How you play:

  • The first player begins the game by saying, “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing… (a word that starts with A).
    • “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing apples.”
  • The second player then repeats what the first player is bringing, but also adds on an item that begins with the next letter in the alphabet
    • “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing apples and burritos.”
  • The first person to forget or mess up an item is eliminated.
  • The game continues until someone gets to Z, or all other players are eliminated.
  • The player with the best memory wins!
  • Change up the game by coming up with your own destination. Instead of a picnic, say, “I’m going to Hawaii, and I’m bringing…” or any other location you come up with as a family.

5. Backseat Bingo

This game takes some pre-trip prep, but is sure to be a hit with the 10-and-under crowd. Before you get in the car, grab something for those in the back seat to write on (a book or clip board), create free printable bingo cards, and fill zip lock bags with pennies, buttons, or other small objects that can be used as markers.

There are many free bingo creation sites. For younger kids, fill your bingo squares with pictures. For older kids, fill them with words. On your personalized bingo cards, pick words and images based on what you know you’ll see on the road trip! For example, you may fill a square with a Coca Cola billboard, a cow, a Chevrolet truck, or a California license plate.

How you play:

  • Depending on the age of your children, you’ll want to use either picture bingo or word bingo. Or create both for added challenge and variety!
  • Use personalized bingo boards and markers.
  • When your kids spy the place or thing out on the road, they cover the space.
  • The first person to cover 5 spaces in a row cries “Bingo!”

Beat the backseat blues with these popular family-oriented contests, and get the most enjoyment out of your road trip and your holidays. With these on-the-go games, 2016 will be the year your kids finally enjoy traveling as a family.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season from Auto Simple!


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