The Best Car Games for Kids

The best car games for kids are those favorite activities that can help occupy children during car rides both short and long. These games to play in the car include those for younger and older kids giving a range of things to do while on a family road trip or just a quick drive down the street. In addition to being fun, these best car games provide a reason for kids and adults alike to exercise their brains and take their mind off of the ride itself. You can't easily take along many of the best board games for kids on a long, bumpy ride, but that's exactly where these car games come in handy.

Since it's easy to see a lot of new and interesting things during a car ride, many of these popular car games are about identifying certain objects. I Spy, the License Plate Game and Road Trip Bingo are just a few which ask participants to pay attention to their surroundings to find specific things.

Many of these top car games are as educational as they are fun with alphabet learning and word use at the forefront. Games like I'm Going to a Picnic, Billboard Poetry, One Minute of Words, Eating an Alphabet and the classic Hangman can all help enhance the word skills for kids of all ages.

So if you're packing up the family in the station wagon for a long road trip to one of America's best family getaways or just looking for a way to occupy the little ones during a day of errands, keep these best car games for kids in mind. Do you have a favorite car activity for kids? Vote for the ones you love, add any not listed or re-rank this list of the best car games, all below!
list ordered by
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    20 Questions

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    Using a pencil and paper, the leader thinks of a word and draws the same number of blank spaces as are letters in the word. The opponent guesses letters he or she thinks are in the word. If the guess is correct, the leader fills in that letter in the word spaces. If the guess is incorrect, the leader draws one part of a stick figure. If the whole word is guessed correctly before the entire stick figure is drawn due to incorrect guesses, the player wins.
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    License Plate Game

    Each participant takes turns calling out letters from license plates they see then using the letters to create a fun phrase. For instance, if a license plate has the letters M, N and C, the phrase could be "monkeys never cry." Everyone wins in this game.Alternately, during long road trips, participants can make note of how many license plates from different states they spot. The player who spotted the most license plates from different states at the conclusion of the trip wins.
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    Spot the Car

    The leader asks the players to "spot the car with…" adding a specific attribute about the car or something in the car at the end. The player who identifies a car meeting that criteria first wins the round. The difficulty can be changed by adding more attributes such as starting by asking players to "spot the car with green paint" then moving on to "spot the truck with red paint and a female driver" and so on.
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    I'm Thinking of An Animal

    The leader, often a parent, starts the game by declaring "I'm thinking of an animal." The remaining participants then ask the leader yes or no questions to try to determine which animal the leader has in mind. The first person to correctly guess the animal wins and becomes the leader for the next round of play.
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    Thumb Wrestling

    Using their right hands, two participants hook their four fingers together tightly. After uttering the traditional chant of "One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war!" the game begins. Each competitor attempts to pin the opponent's thumb down. The first person to pin the opponent's thumb long enough to say "One, two, three, four, I win the thumb war!" is the winner.
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    I’m Going On a Picnic

    To start the game, the leader makes up one rule that applies to all items that are allowed to be taken on the picnic. Rules could apply to the size, color, use or letters used to spell said items. The leader opens the game by declaring one item that meets the rule that he or she can take to the picnic. The remaining participants suggest items in an attempt to determine the rule. The leader responds by declaring if the suggested items are allowed under the rule or not. This continues until the rule is guessed at which time the player who guessed correctly wins and becomes the leader for the next round.
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    Eating An Alphabet

    Perfect to pass the time right before a stop for food, players take turns completing the sentence "I'm so hungry I could eat a…" with the sentence concluding with a word starting with letters of the alphabet in order. To start, someone would say "I'm so hungry I could eat an apple," using the letter A, then the next player would have the letter B, such as "I'm so hungry I could eat a banana" and so on.
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    Red Light, Green Light

    Played on surface streets, the game begins when exiting the highway. Each participant tries to guess the number of green lights the driver can pass before having to stop at a red light. The person with the closest guess wins. The next round continues with another set of guessing then more driving and so on.
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    Are We There Yet?

    Best played on the highway, the leader identifies an object or landmark in the distant future and all other players guess as to how far away in miles of kilometers that thing is. When the car arrives at the landmark, the guesses are compared to the odometer reading and the person who guessed closest wins and becomes the leader for the next round.
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    Where in the World

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    One Minute of Words

    The leader selects a letter and a time period, usually one to three minutes, and announces that to the players. Using a pencil and paper, each player tries to write the most words starting with that letter before time expires. The player with the most legitimate words wins. In an optional second round, players are tasked with writing sentences using the words they came up with before time expires. The player with the most sentences wins.
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    Billboard Poetry

    Using pencils and paper, each participant takes turns selecting four words from roadside billboards. Then, using a set time limit such as one minute, each player uses those words to create a rhyming four line poem with each line containing one selected word. This continues for several rounds after which each participant reads their poem aloud. Everyone wins in this game with the laughter from the silly poems the prize everyone shares.
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    The Preacher’s Cat

    In a memory game, players take turn stating one thing about the preacher's cat following the alphabet and reciting the previous statements. For instance, the first player would use the letter A to say, "The preacher's cat is angry." The next player uses the letter B and must include all statements said before, such as "The preacher's cat is angry. The preacher's cat is bad." Each player who makes a mistake, either by forgetting to recite the previous statements or using the wrong letter is out and the game continues until only one person remains.
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    Recipe Detective

    Using snacks packed for the road trip, players take turn guessing the ingredients of a specific food such as players guessing chocolate chips or sugar for cookies. The player who guesses the most ingredients correctly wins.
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