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Playground Equipment Blog
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Games to Play in the Car to Keep Children Occupied

Going on a long road trip? Need unique activities to keep the kids from squirming and fussing? These engaging car games will help preserve your sanity and facilitate family bonding.


Twenty One Questions


This one is a classic game that’s fun for the whole family! In a nutshell, somebody chooses a “person, place, or thing,” and everybody in the car must take turns guessing the answer.


Some ground rules:


  1. To make it harder, decide that questions must be formatted so that they require “yes” or “no” answers.
  2. Guessers cannot repeat a question that has already been asked.

Note: make sure question masters pick “subjects” that everyone is familiar with. Otherwise, it won’t be fun for the entire car, especially the young kids with limited adult references. We used to play this family game for hours, and it was a challenging and low-key way to demonstrate our knowledge of animated-film trivia and classic children’s books.


Movie Web


In this game, participants connect actors to one another through the movies they’ve starred in. The rules:


  1. Somebody picks an actor or actress.
  2. Moving clockwise, the next person names a movie that performer has appeared in.
  3. After that, the next person names another actor/actress from that same movie.
  4. The game continues on until somebody is either stumped or incorrect, and then that person has to sit out until the end of the round.
  5. An example of a movie web might be: “Meg Ryan,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Billy Crystal,” “The Princess Bride,” etc.

Note: if your kids aren’t well versed in movies or other pop culture references, you can take the same general principle and apply it to objects and colors. So, for example, somebody picks the color “red.” The next person names a red object, such as an apple. The next participant can pick an item in the same category, which would be, in this instance, fruit. And after that, the next participant might say, “banana,” with somebody shouting out “yellow.”


Cars of Many Colors


This game is great for road trips that include time driving across busy highways. The rules:


  1. Each person picks a car color.
  2. Participants get points every time the car passes or is passed by a vehicle in that shade.
  3. The person with the most points at the end of the ride wins.

Note: you can create a similar game using out-of-state license plates. Divvy up states and whoever gets the most points wins. Or, you can take turns spotting visiting license plates, with all states being up for grabs. Whoever catches the most out-of-state plates is declared the winner at the end of the trip.


Magnetic Board Games


Ideal for parents with more than one child, magnetic board games allow children to play their favorite games, even in a fast and bumpy car. Consider investing in magnetic versions of checkers, tic-tac-toe, Chinese checkers, and more.


“What’s your favorite…?”

This listing game is a great way to connect with your family members and learn more about their interests. The rules:


  1. Pick a topic. It could be movies, books, TV shows, food, or any other topic of interest.
  2. Family members take turn naming their “Top Five” in that category. After that person has finished, each family member creates their own list. Are there any similarities? Surprises? This is a great way to learn about your loved ones’ taste and sense of humor!

Example: My favorite children’s books are Anne of Green Gables, Green Eggs and Ham, Treasure Island, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. What are yours?


“I Spy”


“I spy with my little eye… something blue!” Kids will love this charming game of search and find that can be played anywhere. Use business signs, cars, road markers, and the landscape as your hunting ground. It’s also a great segue into discussing plants, trees, and other ephemera.


What are your favorite car games?


Leave your comments in the space below!


Written by: Parker Jones

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