With summer comes road trips, but sometimes the last thing you want is to be stuck in a car with your kids for hours on end. I get it. It’s hard! But here are 7 simple activities to do in the car that will help make road trips a fun bonding experience for the whole family.

With summer comes road trips, but sometimes the last thing you want is to be stuck in a car with your kids for hours on end. I get it. It's hard! But here are 7 simple activities to do in the car that will help make road trips a fun bonding experience for the whole family.

Summer is just around the corner, which means we’re coming into road trip season! I don’t know about you, but road trips around here are hard with little kids! And I usually just give in and let them play with tablets the whole time just to survive 🤦‍♀️.

But that’s not really what I want! I don’t want them to stare at a screen for hours on end. And even more, I want road trips to be a fun experience for our family–some good bonding time–not just a means to get somewhere fun.

But I’m also all about SIMPLE! Zero to little cost or prep work is the best, in my book. So here are 7 suggestions of games to play with your family when you’re on the road that will bring you closer, make the trip fly by, keep the kids off the screens, and maybe even cause a few laughs:

1. Create a story.

Have one person pick a main character, one person pick a genre, and one person pick a setting (if you have more than 3 kids and they’ll get upset about not getting to choose something, you can choose two main characters, break the setting into city & specific location, like a school or house, or add a time period).

Have one person start the story with an opening sentence, then go around the car having each person add a sentence as you go. It’s funny, silly, and really fun! Take it up a notch and record it on your phone so you can listen to it again later for more laughs!

2. Would You Rather.

We LOVE Would You Rather questions. There are books of would you rather questions (we have this one), or you can take turns making up your own. Questions can be serious, gross, silly, scary, whatever you want! It’s fun to very them. When we play, we always laugh, learn a lot about each other, and have lots of fun.

3. The ABC food game.

In this game, the first person says, “I’m so hungry I could eat a…” then names a food that starts with ta letter “A”. The second person says, “I’m so hungry I could eat…” then names the “A” food and adds a food starting with the letter “B”. The third person says, “I’m so hungry I could eat…” and names the “A” food, the “B” food, then adds a food for the letter “C”. You keep going until you get to the end of the alphabet and see how many foods you can remember. If you forget one, you’re out of the game!

So, for instance:

  • Mom: “I’m so hungry I could eat an apple!”
  • Dad: “I’m so hungry I could eat an apple and a breadstick!”
  • Kid #1: “I’m so hungry I could eat an apple, a breadstick, and a cheeseburger!”
  • Kid #2: “I’m so hungry I could eat an apple, a breadstick, a cheeseburger, and a date!”
  • Kid #3: “I’m so hungry I could eat an apple, a breadstick, a cheesebruger, a date, and an egg!”
  • Mom: I’m so hungery I could eat an apple, a breadstick, a cheeseburger, a adate, an egg, and a french fry!”
  • And on and on and on.

If you want, you could do this with various categories by switching out the opening line.

  • I’m so happy I could…
  • The traveling bug bit me and I want to visit…
  • I love animals! I love…
  • My favorite things are…

Change it up and see what you can come up with!

4. Listen to an audiobook.

Audiobooks are so much fun! And you don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want to. Download a book from Overdrive for free or pick one up from the library. Choose something that will keep the whole family entertained.

This is also a great way for mom to get in a nap. Dad can pop in his earbuds and listen to music while he drives, and the kids can draw while they listen to a story rather than watching a show.

Or all listen together and stop the audio periodically to talk about it, make predictions discuss themes, etc.

5. Ask questions.

There are different question books you can buy that are full of fun, serious, silly, or deep questions…or you can just make up your own. This was my favorite activity to do in the car with my husband when we were dating, engaged, and newly married! It helped us get to know each other really well, really fast.

And it’s so fun to do with your kids! Sometimes their answers will surprise you. They might know more about a topic than you thought, have an opinion about something you didn’t realize, or like something you didn’t know. It’s very informative and bonding!

6. Tell jokes.

Telling jokes is a great activity for when the kids are getting antsy or fights are breaking out. Jokes are a great way to lighten the mood, get some laughter going, and release those endorphins. It’s hard to be upset when you’re laughing! Grab a joke book before you leave or try to create your own jokes!

7. Name that Tune.

Take turns humming a song and see who can guess it first. Or you can use your phone/tablet/iPod and play a few seconds of a song to see who can guess it right first.

There you have it: 7 simple road trip games to do as a family!

What’s your favorite road trip activity?

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Michelle Stimpson
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Michelle Stimpson

We love the license plate game -trying to find all 50 states plus the Canadian provinces.
We like to keep a list of all the wildlife we see.
I-Spy is a big favorite.