4 Classic Car Games for Kids

Crafts and Games, Family, Featured Article, Travel

Hitting the highways with your family for a summer road trip can be a wonderful way to spend time together, but never-ending choruses of “are we there yet?” may leave you feeling a bit frazzled. Minimize boredom for your young backseat drivers and maximize family fun by playing classic car games.

Car games are an “ace in the hole” for parents facing a long drive with their children, says Carol Terwilliger Meyers, author of Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games and Activities. “[Car games] work well because most children—and adults—enjoy games,” says Meyers. “They tend to be short, and when they end there is always another one. I’ve found that older children—even teens!—enjoy playing these games with their younger siblings, probably because they get to be in charge.”

Check out these time-tested games that require nothing more than a happy family and imagination (no batteries required!); they’re sure to make long hours of driving pass quickly.

  • The License Plate Game. Challenge everyone to locate license plates from all 50 states. Watch along the highway, keep an eye out in parking lots, and see how many plates your family can find. If 50 states seems like too many, set a timer and find as many plates as you can in five minutes.
  • Counting Cows. Traveling through rural America? Celebrate the occasion by counting cows. Assign one side of the road to each player or team, and choose an appropriate length of time during which players will count any cows that can be seen along the way.
  • I Spy. The best games are the ones that are easiest to remember, says Meyers, which is probably why the game of I Spy has enjoyed such long-term popularity. The object is simple: one person selects an item (in the vehicle or visible in your surroundings) and gives a clue about the item, such as: “I spy with my little eye, something that starts with “K,” or “something that is green,” or “something that is round.”
  • The Alphabet Game. Alleviate boredom with this classic game! The object is to locate each letter of the alphabet on signs, billboards, and buildings. The beauty of the Alphabet Game is the fact that it is slow-paced and can supply players with entertainment that lasts—giving your family ample time to reach your destination and arrive with smiles on your faces.
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