Fun Family Car Activities To Do While Traveling

Fun Family Car Activities To Do While Traveling

600 500 Kristi Corder

Traveling can be stressful with kids. If you choose a car activity or two, it can make it much more bearable and sometimes downright enjoyable. Today I want to share with you a few fun family car activities to do while traveling.

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It’s almost summer!

School will be out soon, and you’ll be planning a summer vacation (or more than one) for the whole family. That can only mean one thing…ROAD TRIP!

If your kids are like mine and millions of other children on this planet, you’d think the only words they have in their vocabulary are:


Gone are the days of anxiously watching for the next trucker to pass so you can pump your arm in the air and they’ll honk their horn at you. No more laying in the back window without a worry of being ejected should there be a car accident. And what exactly are Walkmans anyway?

Yes, you can give your kids a tablet and completely ignore them. I won’t judge! Believe me, there are many times Brent and I do exactly this. What?!? Your kids are perfect and you never want them to just shut up? Oh, it must just be us.

Check out our family’s list of fun activities to do while traveling in the car. ***Bonus***…they’re also educational! =)

Family Car Activity #1: Jokes & Riddles

Our kids love to be silly, so it only makes sense that they ask us to share jokes and riddles with them. They especially love knock-knock jokes. Here’s one that made us laugh a lot:

Knock-knock. Who’s there? Double. Double who? Double you!

No idea why that one makes us laugh so much. I guess we’re just easily amused.

We also score mega points when the jokes have to do with pets.

What do you get if you cross a sheepdog with a rose? A collie-flower!

Haha! So fun!

Here are a few of the websites we like to browse when trying to find new jokes and riddles:

*Educational aspects: sparks creativity and critical thinking

Family Car Activity #2: Road Trip Bingo

I’ve noticed that Target Dollar Spot has consistently had Road Trip Bingo boards each spring for the past few years. Our kids LOVE doing this, and it keeps them busy looking at their surroundings. Brent and I don’t have boards, but I think I’ll grab one for each of us during my next grocery shopping trip.

Like with traditional bingo, you mark off squares and yell “BINGO” when you have the required pattern completed. And what kid doesn’t like to yell knowing that they won’t get in trouble for it!?!

To prevent fighting amongst the kids, have the driver decide what constitutes a bingo. Maybe it’s 5 in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Or it could be a square or four corners. Try other things like a “T”, “X”, or “I”. And for longer trips, play “blackout” where the whole board has to be marked off.

Kids tend to get bored after a couple of rounds of bingo, so spice it up with some friendly competition and they’ll play longer. Here are some ideas for prizes:

  • Winner gets to choose the next bingo pattern
  • 30 minutes of listening to the winner’s favorite music
  • Winner’s seat of choice after the next potty/snack break
  • The next restaurant is winner’s pick
  • Winner picks a movie to watch
  • 30 minutes of screen time for the winner

The possibilities are endless!

Car activity: Road trip BINGO boards

The Target bingo boards have pictures on them such as yield signs, dump trucks, bicycles, dogs, etc. You can get License Plate Bingo boards on Amazon, and there are many free printables you can find on the internet as well. Just print them out, laminate them, and use dry erase markers to mark the squares. Or create your own!

*Educational aspects: increases attention to detail and helps them learn about road signs/license plates/transportation/etc.

Family Car Activity #3: Lip Sync/Karaoke

Our family loves music and our kids are crazy, so this activity is perfect and super easy to do! It’s as easy as turning on your radio and finding a station you like to listen to. Or maybe you have Pandora or Spotify on your phone, and you can search for kid-friendly stations. Or better yet, create your own playlist and include all the sing-a-long worthy songs your family enjoys.

Maybe you want to be a little different. Try using background music to create your own songs. I know many people use popular nursery rhymes or classical music to create songs for their children to help them learn math or grammar basics and rules.  Oooh…or a fan favorite…BROADWAY HITS! Get those young minds appreciating the arts.

Beware! This may cause daddies to unexpectedly break out in song and dance…while driving.

*Educational aspects: music education and appreciation

Family Car Activity #4: Mad Libs

Mad Libs was one of my personal favorite activities to do as a kid. It’s great to see that they are still around today and as humorous as ever.

If you don’t know what Mad Libs are, you are missing out. Stop what you’re doing and go buy one now!

Mad Libs Junior
Mad Libs on the Road
Mad Libs Dog Ate My Mad Libs

Basically, Mad Libs are tablets of stories with words missing throughout each story. It’s like a fill in the blank worksheet but in story form. Under each blank, there is a part of speech (noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, etc.) listed to tell you what kind of word needs to fill in that blank.

Pick someone to be the interviewER and someone to be the interviewEE. Without reading the story first, the interviewER asks the interviewEE to provide the part of speech for each blank, and the interviewER fills in the blank with that word. Once all the blanks are filled, the interviewER then reads the story out loud and hilarity ensues.


*Educational aspects: increases reading, writing, spelling, and grammar skills

Family Car Activity #5: Watch A Movie

This activity requires you to either have a DVD player in the car or some form of computer technology on which to run movies. Let the kids pick out their favorites, and you’ll have some quiet time for at least a few hours. Great option for those LONG road trips!

There are tons of movies to choose from: comedy, animated, historical, etc. Nine times out of ten my children will pick a Disney movie, but they have also been known to sit and watch Liberty Kids for hours. And I really should download some documentaries, because I’ll catch them randomly watching PBS/National Geographic shows about penguins, sharks, sloths, etc.

*Educational aspects: develop a knowledge of history, science, etc., and helps them learn about plots/storylines

Family Car Activity #6: Listen To Audiobooks

We homeschool, and any chance my kids get to choose an audiobook over actually reading the book, they will take it. I hated having to read much of anything when I was in school, so I can’t blame them for wanting to listen to the audio versions. I’m still amazed at how well they really listen and understand what’s being read to them.

The internet has so many websites you can visit to download or stream audiobooks. Our favorite and the one used in our homeschool curriculum is LibriVox. It’s absolutely free and has almost 12,000 cataloged works read aloud in tons of different languages.

Connect your mobile device to your car’s audio system, and the whole family can enjoy listening to some great literary works.

*Educational aspects: enhances listening abilities and comprehension and develops a love of books

Family Car Activity #7: Travel Workbooks

Travel workbooks are great items to keep in the back pockets of the front seats. They are flat, store easily, and can be grabbed at any time. We also throw a pencil in the pocket for convenience and keep a small pencil sharpener within easy reach.

My brother gave each of my kids The Ultimate Backseat Book for Christmas last year. It actually contains 3 of the Rand McNally backseat books in one, and it’s filled with road maps, popular attractions in the U.S., crossword puzzles, mazes, trivia, and more! The book is very colorful and vibrant and holds their attention for long periods of time.

*Educational aspects: increases knowledge of geography and history, enhances spelling and critical thinking skills

Family Car Activity #8: Usborne Activity Books

We love, love, love Usborne Books! They have super high quality, colorful, and creative books for children and are sold through independent consultants all over the world.

A team of consultants that we are especially fond of are our neighbors in Texas (mother/son) at Wonderful World of Books. Check out their site and look at all of the amazing books Usborne has to offer. I think we have almost all of their activity books because they are perfect for traveling.

Car activity: Usborne activity books

*Educational aspects: fosters their love of reading, enhances critical thinking skills, and teaches them to follow directions

Really, there are hundreds of activities that could be added to this list, but these are just a few of our favorites. Start making your list now! It will make your next road trip a bit more bearable.

Thanks so much for reading! Leave a reply in the comments below with one activity you would add to your activity list.

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  • We love audible. It’s really funny when we don’t finish a story at the end of a trip and my husband is disappointed.

  • There is always lots of karaoke going on during my road trips!

    • That’s a great one Janine! My hubby does like to sing to the kids…well, one child in particular because it annoys her. Put on The Greatest Showman soundtrack and the kids are all about singing. =)

  • When we did long roadtrips we tried to find license plates from as many states as possible. We had a tracker (it was part of a road trip book we bought) and we could continue the game on our next trip with the goal of finding all 50.

  • Great ideas. The next time we toad trip I’m going to have to remember these.

  • Great ideas! We love taking road trips and we need something fun to do on long drives.

  • Taking a solo road trip this week with my two girls this week… yikes. Thanks for the fun tips I will definitely be doing some of these!

  • Great ideas in this list! We play the Music game and each person takes turns picking a song, parents included! This way, we all get our song picks and it’s not just nursery rhymes or cartoon songs the entire way. And it introduces kids to good music too 🎶

  • Thanks for sharing! These are all great. I never thought about Madlibs. I’m sure my six year old would love it. He likes to play the alphabet game. He starts with the letter “A” and names an animal that starts with that letter and then the next person does the next letter and so on! 🙂

  • Great ideas! I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers what a walkman is! I also love small travel boardgames- the ones with the magnetic boards so your checkers don’t slide across the board at every turn!

  • The License Plate game is always a favorite in our car. And Mad Libs seem to be a road trip staple! Love this list!

  • Arianny Rodriguez June 8, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Great ideas! Is the road trip bingo from Target? They have such great stuff at the dollar/3 dollar section.

  • Good ideas! My family has a small road trip coming up. We are driving about 6.5-7 hours, but it will only be the second time my little one has been in the car that long.

  • Great list! I wholeheartedly concur with Audiobooks and movies. They make the time pass more quickly. My teenager likes history podcasts, too.

  • These are such great ideas, especially bingo, everyone loves bingo!!

  • You got a great list! With my son, we used to guess the color of the cars behind us or try to spot a Beetle and guess the color. Singing together is an all time favorite too. Also, when kids are old enough to use maps, give them one to track the route.

    • Those are great ideas as well! One of my girls loves maps, so she’d definitely enjoy tracking the route.

  • Love this list! Will be trying these out with my girls as they get older (currently one is 3 yrs old and the other 3 months old). Growing up, we used to listen to audio books and musicals– so much fun!

  • PiratePrincessMommy May 27, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    We love playing bingo in the car! The Usborne activity books also look enticing!

  • I love the road trip Bingo! I’m totally going to look for those.

  • Super ideas. And they don’t have to sing 99 bottles of beer on the wall, again, unless that’s your thing. Lol.

  • All great ideas! We did most of these with our kids when they were little!

  • Great advice! Thanks. As a family of 5, we often do road trips because they are more affordable than a plane ride somewhere, besides I think it is more fun to do a road trip.

  • I remember all of these on our many road trips growing up! We just recently went to Flordia from Illinois with our two-year-old and we got felt activity books from Target. Thankfully I had an old Ipad that we played a lot of educational games on for her age and a movie or two.

  • Nice! These are great ideas. Can’t wait to use them for my boys!

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