7 Actually Entertaining Games to Play in the Car

published Oct 23, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Shutterstock

‘Tis the season to sing, “Over the river and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go.” While you likely won’t be traveling by sleigh through drifts of snow — wouldn’t that be an adventure! — you may have a road trip or two in your near future. 

I personally love to read in the car, but I can’t if the road is too curvy, and most of my kids can’t at all without getting sick. These days, we have so many digital options to choose from to stay entertained, whether it’s listening to audiobooks, watching movies, or playing video games. There are also the old, classic standbys to keep kids busy, like snacks and workbooks. 

But every once in a while, the moment calls for some road trip car games that don’t require a charger or crayons. Here are some of the best games to play in the car.

Would You Rather?

This game leads the family in guided conversation that, more often than not, sparks some heated debates and laughs. Take turns asking each other questions like, “Would you rather eat something you hate every week or only be allowed your favorite food once a year?” and have everyone give their answer. 

Letter Spotting

This game involves less conversation, which may be just the ticket depending on the mood of the travelers in your car. Start with the letter “A” and try to spot a word on road signs that begins with it, and then move on to the next letter. Go through the whole alphabet, and see what happens! You can mix it up (and drag it on) by challenging the car to find two words that start with each letter, too.

“I went on a trip and packed a …” 

This challenging memory game involves remembering an increasingly long list of what was packed in a hypothetical suitcase. The first person would start off with, “I went on a trip and packed a hat,” and then the next person would repeat that item and add one of their own. Play continues until somebody forgets an item, making them drop out. The winner is the last person standing. 

20 Questions

To play this game, one person thinks of a person, place, or thing and everyone else in the car gets a total of 20 questions to figure out what that person has in mind. Whoever guesses first wins. 

Fortunately / Unfortunately

This mini story-telling game is sure to get some laughs. One person begins by saying a “fortunately” statement, such as “Fortunately, I got my coffee before Starbucks closed” and the person next in line says something like, “Unfortunately, it had a bug in it” and the next person says, “Fortunately, I didn’t see it until I drank it all,” and so on. Whoever falters gets a strike, and if you get three strikes, you’re out. 

Alphabet Categories

In this game, you pick a category and take turns adding items to the category with each letter. So if the category is fruits and vegetables, you’d take turns saying things like, apple, banana, cucumber, daikon radish, and so on.

The Name Game

One person says a name and the next person has to say a name that begins with the letter the previous name ended with. For example, “Marie” could lead to “Elizabeth,” which could then lead to “Harry.” Whoever falters is out!