13 In-Car Activities to Keep the Kids Busy on Your Next Road Trip

U.S.A. License Plate Game

Taking a road trip with kids in tow? You will want to do everything you can to avoid the dreaded” Are we there yet?” every five minutes, not to mention the tantrums that so often accompany boredom and fatigue between exciting destinations.

With that in mind, then, here are some fun in-car activities that will keep them occupied, and therefore out of trouble so you can all have the best family road trip yet.

Road Trip Bingo

Who doesn’t love bingo? Create a set of bingo cards before the trip, but instead of numbers, use sights they might see along the way like a red car, a cow, or a billboard for burgers. Every time they spot one of their items, they get to mark off a square. First to complete a row wins a prize. And hey, if it keeps them looking out the window instead of at a screen, that’s a parental win!


Mix up the music marathon with some family-friendly podcasts. There’s a whole world of storytelling out there that can captivate kids of all ages. From science adventures to serialized mysteries, these can be a great way to pass time and even learn something new. Who knew that a podcast about the secret life of ants could be so fascinating?

Crossword Challenges

Pack a couple of kid-friendly crossword puzzles (or a tablet that lets you access them) to help pass the time. You can find ones that match their interests, whether it’s space, dinosaurs, or Disney characters. It’s a great way to keep their minds active and engaged while you’re all confined to the car. Plus, it’s always fun to see them get that ‘aha!’ moment when they finally solve a tricky clue.

‘I Spy’ – The Road Trip Edition

An oldie but a goodie, ‘I Spy’ is the perfect game for road trips. It’s simple, engaging, and can be endlessly reinvented to suit any environment. Someone spies something and recites the line, “I spy with my little eye, something that begins with (choose a letter)…” Everyone else takes turns guessing what it might be. Infinite variations and zero supplies needed!

DIY Audiobooks

Have your kids pick a favourite book, or a new one they’re excited about, and take turns reading it aloud in the car. Not only does this keep everyone entertained, but it also helps budding readers improve their skills. You might just find that the journey ends too soon when you’re lost in a good story!

Scavenger Hunt

Before hitting the road, put together a list of items for your kids to watch for during the drive. Think specific types of vehicles, road signs, or even animals. Hand out the list and see who can spot the most items from their list during the trip. Just like the bingo, but with more variety and a bit more challenge.

Sketch It Out

Provide each child with a clipboard and some drawing paper. Encourage them to draw what they see out the window or to invent new designs for cars and trucks of the future. You can even have “drawing prompts” such as “draw the funniest thing you’ve seen on the road today.”

License Plate Lingo

Turn spotting license plates from different states into a learning game. Have a map of the United States handy, and each time someone spots a new state’s plate, they can mark it on the map and maybe even learn a fun fact about that state. This can spark conversations about geography and make the miles fly by.

Sing-Along Sessions

Nothing passes the time like a good old-fashioned family sing-along. Create a road trip playlist with favorite songs for everyone in the family. Make sure to include some fun, interactive songs that involve hand motions or call-and-response elements. Singing together not only boosts morale but also creates some of the happiest road trip memories!

Magnetic Board Games

Invest in travel-sized magnetic board games that are car friendly. Chess, checkers, or even magnetic fishing games can provide hours of fun without worrying about losing pieces under the seats.

Travel Journals

Give each child a travel journal and some colored pencils. Encourage them to write about what they see and do along the way. They can also stick tickets, photos, and other memorabilia in their journals to create a personalized road trip book.

Guess the Time

To tackle the inevitable “Are we there yet?” question, turn it into a game. Have your kids guess how long it will take to reach certain landmarks or destinations along the way. Whoever’s guess is closest gets to pick the next in-car activity or song.

Story Building Game

Start a storytelling game where one person begins a story and each person in the car adds a sentence in turn. This can lead to some hilarious and creative tales, keeping everyone’s imagination active and engaged.

The journey should be as much fun as the destination, right?