Best Games to Play in the Car

Restless children in the car making your long car trip stressful? Keep the family entertained with these fun car games.

Published: 1st February 2017

Long car journeys can cause some difficulties for families, particularly as entertainment can be hard to come by. The last thing anyone wants as a driver is unwanted stress when it can be so easy to prevent.

Road trips are a great opportunity for family bonding and what better way to do that than with some classic car games? Here at ALA GAP Insurance, we have compiled a list of some of the best car games to play with the family on those long car journeys.

I Spy

Probably the most well-known car game of all time, the rules of I Spy are very simple. One person in the car begins with the phrase

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with…

and then gives the first letter of something immediately within sight, be it inside the car or outside. The other people in the car must then guess what the chosen word is based on what the first person spied. Once the word is guessed, either the person who guessed the word then begins again, or alternatively proceed clockwise around the car to keep things fairer.

Would You Rather

This is a car game guaranteed to result in silliness and hilarious debates about bizarre hypotheticals. One person in the car asks everyone else a ‘would you rather’ question; this can be between two good options, i.e. “Would you rather have super strength or the power to fly?” or two bad options, i.e. “Would you rather use eye drops made of vinegar or toilet paper made from sandpaper?” The level of appropriateness of the questions can be altered based on who is in the car, but with younger kids in tow it’s obviously best to keep it tame.

20 Questions

Another classic, this car game is similar to I Spy. Someone in the car secretly thinks of an animal, vegetable or mineral, though this can be changed to a famous person etc. The other players in the car then have a combined 20 questions to guess what or who the person is thinking of. This game is best played if the person secretly thinking of something or someone doesn’t make a choice too obscure, especially with younger kids in the car. It’s generally not fun for anybody if the round ends with the reveal that they were supposed to guess a background character from your favourite obscure ‘80s cop show.

License Plates

Bound to keep the kids’ attention outside of the car, the difficulty of this game can be very easily changed to suit different ages. Younger children can be instructed to look at the number plates of other cars to find all the letters of the alphabet in order from A-Z; the first one to Z wins. After that the difficulty can be stepped up to finding double letters (AA, BB etc.) with the winner being whoever can spot the most by the end of the journey. For older children, they could be told to look out for foreign license plates or to make phrases from the letters on the license plates they see. Let the imagination run wild, there are countless variations of the license plate game to play. See if you or the kids can come up with your own!

The Name Game

In this car game, one player gives the name of a famous person. The next player must then name a famous person whose name starts with the first letter of the last name of the previous famous person. For example, “Lewis Hamilton” can be followed by “Harrison Ford”, who could then be followed by “Freddie Mercury” and so on. For an added degree of difficulty, when a famous person is mentioned whose first name and last name begin with the same letter, i.e. Kim Kardashian, the game’s order can be reversed. For example, Chris Evans > Eric Roberts > Rachel Riley (REVERSAL) > Ryan Gosling > Gary Oldman, etc. For younger players, the game could be simply played with the names of animals or other easy categories; shark > kangaroo > ostrich, etc.

Fortunately Unfortunately

The aim of this game is to alternate between fortunate and unfortunate scenarios without faltering. One person in the car starts by saying “Fortunately…” and then a positive scenario. The next person must then say “Unfortunately…” followed by something unfortunate about the previous situation. Then move clockwise around the car alternating between fortunate and unfortunate scenarios. For example:

“Fortunately, I started my scuba diving lessons last week!”
“Unfortunately, they wouldn’t allow my horse to join in.”
“Fortunately, I started my own scuba diving business for horses!”

If somebody stumbles in giving a fortunate or unfortunate situation, then they get a strike. If you get three strikes, you are out of the game. The winner is the last person standing.

Another, non-competitive version of this game is to create a story from start to finish using inputs from everyone in the car. One person, starts off with an introductory sentence; for example, “Once there was a monkey who was desperate to be a famous movie star”. Then proceed as before, with the next person clockwise in the car giving an unfortunate scenario, then the next giving a fortunate one and so forth. With no penalties for struggling to come up with something, keep going around the car until a complete, improvised story has been told.

Alphabet Categories

A straightforward game – simply go around the car trying to name things from different categories in alphabetical order. For example, a ‘car brands’ round could go from Audi, to BMW, to Chrysler and so on.
Another popular alphabet car game is to try and get through the alphabet using only words from road signs, billboards, signs of businesses passed by etc. The first person in the car to get through the entire alphabet wins. Once a word is said, no one can repeat that word.

One-Word Storytelling

This one is similar to the storytelling version of ‘Fortunately Unfortunately’. Go around the car clockwise with every person saying one word each to create a story. For example, “The” “man” “went” “to” “go” “and” “drive” “his” “rocket” “car”, etc. This is a fun, easy game for younger children in the car and there’s no pressure for the story to make any sort of sense.

Cows on My Side

This is a game best played during long drives through the countryside. Split the car into two teams: one on the driver’s side of the car and one on the passenger’s side. When you see a cow on your side of the road, shout out “Cows on my side!” Every time you call a cow, you get a point for your team. If you see a cow on the other team’s side of the road, shout out “Cows on your side!” If you call this before the other team can call it for their own, you steal a point from them. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end of the journey.

As an added twist, shout out “GHOST COW!” if you see a cemetery. Successfully doing this before the other team will allow you to steal ALL their points.

Click here to read more Entertainment at ALA Connect.

Published: 1st February 2017
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