Sometimes during the school holidays, even a short trip to the shops can be an opportunity to play a game in the car. For longer trips, keeping everyone talking and happy is a good idea – car games are a way to get everyone involved without distracting the driver.
Here are five easy to play games for the car that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or, the length of the drive!
Car game 1: I Spy
Suitable for the very young, as long as they can speak!
One person picks something that they can currently see, either inside or outside the vehicle. They then say, “I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with … and add the first letter of the object”. (If it’s two words, you can let the rest of the car know and, if feeling generous, you can give the first letter of the second word too.)
Then, the rest of the car takes it in turns to guess what the object is. If someone guesses correctly, it’s their turn to spy something!
If your small people are too young to know their letters, you can do it with colours too – i.e. “I spy with my little eye, something that is blue…”
Car game 2: Twenty questions
Suitable for anyone ages 4+
One person starts the game by thinking of something – either an animal, vegetable or mineral.
For the sake of clarification, all plants and trees are considered to be vegetables. All animals and people are animals. Everything else is a mineral.
The other players then ask the person questions to try to determine what the object is. The catch is, they can only answer with a yes or a no.
At first, it’s best to ask questions that narrow down to specifics – for example,
- Can the animal fly?
- Is this mineral bigger than a car?
- Can I eat the vegetable?
This helps narrow the field of potential answers quickly.
Anyone can guess at any time and, if they guess correctly, they are the next. But if more than 20 questions are asked, the players forfeit and the ‘thinker’ wins!
Another variation is that, after 20 questions are asked, everyone has the chance to guess what the person is thinking of.
If younger children are playing, sometimes being flexible with the number of questions and whether more information is given away than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, is a good idea!
Car Game 3: I went to the shops
Suitable for ages 4+
This is a memory game that goes for as long as someone can remember a long list of items.
One person starts by saying, “I went to the shops and bought…” then adds an item. The next person repeats the sentence, with the first person’s item and then adds one of their own.
The next person does the same. This repeats, with as many people as there are present. The game continues until someone gets the order of the list wrong or forgets something on the list. The winner is the person who remembers the most items on the list, in the correct order.
Tips for remembering long lists include adding unusual times to the list and trying to visualize each item as it is added.
Car Game 4: The alphabet game
Suitable for ages 4+
This game requires everyone to look around in the car or outside to find something that starts with each letter of the alphabet, starting with A. The winner is the person who gets the furthest through the alphabet.
Car Game 5: License Plates
Suitable for ages 6+
When you’re out driving, there’s usually one thing that’s in abundance – the license plates of other cars. That is, unless you’re travelling in a remote part of Australia and there are no other cars around!
The goal of the game is to create a sentence that uses the words that start with the letters on the number plate. /p>
So, if it’s got three letters, such as FJB, then you need a three-word sentence such as Fun Just Began!
Alternatively, if there are a lot of numbers on the license plate, getting younger children to add them together can be a fun challenge as well. For example, if the numbers are 899, they have to add 8+9+9 = 26. The first one to get it right is the winner!
To mix it up a bit, you can make it a mix of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. That is, 8x9+9 = 81. Or, 8+9-9=8.
There are lots of fun games to play in the car that uses all the senses, engages the brains of passengers and require no props. They make car trips more fun, keep small children entertained, do not distract the driver and can even help keep the driver from becoming tired.
Try some on your next school holiday car trip!