10 Car Activities for Kids

Posted on by butterfield

Tired of hearing “Are we there yet?” during long car rides on family vacations? Well here is a great list of activities and games that will helped keep the young ones entertained until you get to your destination.

The license plate game

A long-time favorite, players try to find out-of-state license plates and see how many they can collect. You can make it a contest where whoever gets the largest number of states wins.

Scavenger Hunt

Give your kids a list of things to find during the car ride. This can include everything from animals, landscape features, types of cars, road signs, and more. This can be modified into a bingo game if you print out bingo cards ahead of the trip.

Play card games

There is a host of card games out there that only require you to bring a deck of cards. Teach your kids to play Old Maid, Go Fish or War. Or, have them make up their own card game that you can enjoy as a family.

Read a Book

Reading a book aloud can really pass the time for both reader and listener. Or, if you don’t think you have the stamina to read aloud for an extended period of time, consider getting an audio book that the whole family would like to listen to.

Play “I Spy”

This game is played by picking an item either in the car or in constant view outside (such as a tree or the sky). One player says “I spy with my little eye something …” and then gives a short descriptor of the item (such as green or furry). The other players then begin attempting to guess what the item is. If they are having trouble, the first player can give additional descriptors as necessary. Take turns between guessing and spying.

Make a map

Have the kids make a map of the area that you are traveling. Everytime you stop or go through a town, tell them the name of the town and have them pick out a distinguishing feature about the area they notice on the way. They draw it on their map and then your kids can navigate on the way back. “Next is the town with the house with the green roof” or “We’ll pass the restaurant with the giant chicken sign.”

Give your kids a job

Have your kids help you in planning the trip, by having them build an itinerary of activities or let them choose where you stop for breaks. Make sure to give them strict guidelines for this, for example, you can only take a rest stop every 2 hours or more. You don’t want to have to make a stop every 5 minutes.

Activity books

These inexpensive books are good for all ages. Young kids will love coloring books or dot-to-dot with a box of crayons. Older kids enjoy word searches, crossword puzzles or sudoku. If you don’t want to spend the money on a printed activity book, you can find free coloring and activity sheets online and print them from home.

Create a travel journal

Encourage your kids to write about their trip and include small mementos they pick up along the way, such as post cards, (clean) napkins from visited restaurants, hotel key cards, or just have them draw pictures. This is a great souvenir that your kids will remember for years to come.

Tell stories

As suggested in our camping with kids article, create stories together with your kids. Have one person start the story off with a few lines, and then pass it around, with each person adding their own tidbits to the story.

Whether your car ride is 1 hour or 3 days, hopefully this article gave you some useful tips for making the trip an enjoyable one.

Happy Camping!

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