Fun car games for kids

Car games for kids

Car trips can often be the stuff of nightmares for parents with small children. Screaming tantrums, imminent toilet stops (often on the side of the road, due to lack of facilities), and the continuous chant of “Are we there yet?” from the back seat are regular occurrences during long haul trips. It doesn’t have to be all bad though. With some well thought-out preparation, car trips can be bearable and, dare I say it, even enjoyable for all involved! To help you with your next road trip, we’ve put together this list of fun car games for kids that will keep them occupied for hours.


I Spy

I Spy is one of the classic car games for kids that’s been around for years. Kids (and adults) can take turns saying “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…” and everyone tries to guess what they’re looking at that begins with that letter (or sound, for younger children).

Spot the…

This game is similar to I Spy, but the kids don’t have to guess what to look for. Simply say “Spot the …“, and the kids have to look out the windows to spot it. It can be as simple as “Spot the tree“, or can be harder like “Spot the red car“.

Find that animal 

The youngest person in the car chooses an animal, then everyone else has to find it. The first person who spots it, then gets to choose the next animal for others to find.

Find that vehicle

The driver starts but announcing ‘Find a’ and then chooses a vehicle e.g. a yellow car, Tesla, ambulance, taxi, tow truck etc. Whoever finds it first has the next turn.

Counting car games for kids

The premise of these game is to pick something to count, and the first person to reach a certain number is the winner. For example, the first person to count ten white cars wins. Once you have a winner, start counting something else. For older children, they could each choose a different car colour and the one with the highest tally at the end of the journey wins.

Scavenger hunts

A fun game for kids to play when on long trips is a scavenger hunt, where they need to spot all the items on a list. It’s a great idea to print out one of our scavenger hunt list printables for each child so that they have their own to refer to during the trip. You could also turn it into a game of Bingo, where the child who finds all the items first gets a prize.

The Alphabet Game

Have the kids look for all letters of the alphabet in order. Depending on where you are driving you could impose rules like it must be on road signs or number plates etc

Number plate game

By looking at the number plates you pass see if you can find the oldest (or newest) number plate. Alternatively, you could try and find a number plate from each state e.g. Victoria, Tasmania etc or find the closest number plate to your own.


Guess the song

This can either be played as a karaoke game, where each person sings a song and the other passengers try to guess what it is, or use the radio or a CD and guess the songs playing. First to guess is the winner!

Guess who

One person chooses a person or animal, while the other players have to ask questions, which can only be answered with yes or no, to work out who they are. Eg. Are you an animal? Do you have two legs?


I went on holidays and packed…

The first player starts by saying ‘I went on holidays and packed…’ choosing an item to add to the list e.g. a surfboard, cricket bat, my teddy etc. The next player then recites what the first player packed and then adds their on item on the packing list. If you cannot recite the list on your turn, you are out. Play continues until there is only one player who can successfully recall all items on the packing list.

Story time 

Someone starts the story by making up the first sentence e.g. Once upon a time there was a big, brown dog with three legs who always wore a jumper. Then the next player adds an additional sentence in keeping with the first sentence e.g. The dog’s name was Betty, and she always sat in her bed by the fireplace. Set a time limit and see what story unfolds.

Would you rather 

This is a quick and easy game. One player asks ‘would you rather’ then choose two things e.g. Chocolate or ice-cream, or blue car or red car, football or cricket etc. Players take turns at answering before the next player choose two things to compare.


The quiet game

If you need a break from the constant chatter, deploy the ‘Quiet Game’ by seeing who can keep quiet for the longest.

Don’t say it! 

Choose a word or words at the beginning of the trip you are not allowed to say eg. Hungry, bored etc. If anyone is caught saying the nominated words, they get a point. The person with the lowest number of points at the end of the trip wins!

Mystery play bags

Fill a brown paper or gift bag with a number of small toys and activities that the kids can use along the way. Include items such as finger puppets, figurines and Matchbox cars. This will keep them entertained for ages! To add to the fun, include items the kids may not have played with before or at least not for a long time. Individually wrapping these items makes it feel like Christmas (just make sure you have a trash bag set aside to collect the wrapping)!

Just as important as keeping the kids occupied on long drives is taking a break for everyone to stretch their legs. Check out these great ideas for Walking Games with Kids to make the most of your break and to get all those sillies out. If the budget doesn’t stretch to a holiday right now, why not take a look at these Day Trip ideas that are all within same-day driving distance of Brisbane.

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