Old School Car Games for Kids

Summer is almost here and my family is looking forward to heading to the beach. Although I love beach vacations, I always dread the 3.5 hour journey in the car. We bring a ridiculous number of electronic devices to entertain the kids and still it seems that backseat boredom strikes before we’ve barely pulled out of the driveway.

Way back before portable DVD players, the iPad, or the Nintendo Switch, back when I was the kid in the backseat of the car, we used to pass the time by singing silly songs, playing road trip games, or listening to the radio. Maybe it’s time to ditch the electronics and try out some old school car games with my own kids during our next road trip. Here are a few fun, screen-free games that are sure to banish boredom from the backseat, at least for a little while.

  • I Spy

How to play: Player 1 says, “I spy, with my little eye, something that…” is a certain color or begins with a certain letter. The object must be within sight for all players. Other players ask questions until someone guesses correctly.

  • 20 Questions

How to play: Player 1 thinks of something and the other players have 20 questions to guess what it is. If a player guesses correctly, it is his or her turn to think of something. If no one guesses correctly, player 1 wins and goes again.

  • Storytelling Game

How to play: One person begins the storytelling by telling the first sentence of the story. Each player must add one sentence to the story. The tale will keep building and may twist and turn in all sorts of crazy directions!

  • License Plate Game

How to play: Check out the license plates of passing cars and see how many states you can find. To make it more interesting, print a map of the United States for each child in the car and let them color in the states as they spy the license plates. The map will help them see how far each car has traveled.

  • The ABC Game


How to play: Look at signs, license plates, etc. to find each letter of the alphabet. Start with the letter A, then find B, then C…you can’t move on to the next letter until you’ve found the one you’re working on.

Happy travels!