GreenRt66Road Trip Games

No equipment needed (listed alphabetically)



Animal Game

If you are in more rural areas where cars aren’t abundant, try the Animal Game. Keep on the lookout for animals and when you see one, be the first to make the animal sound. For example if you saw a cow, say “moooo.” The first person to make the animal sound wins a point. Play to a designated number of points. You can make this game a bit more complicated for older kids by adding a designated number of points depending on the commonality of the animal, i.e. cows are 1 point, pigs are 2 points, etc.

Banana Game

If you’re looking for a game that doesn’t require a lot of thought, try the Banana Game. Keen observation is the only skill required. The first person who spots a passing yellow vehicle gets points. You can award points based on the size or make of the car. For instance, a yellow school bus might be worth five points, and a yellow sports car might be worth two.

Another way to heighten the competition is to put a limit on the time you have to spot bananas. For example, the winner of the game could be the person who spots the most bananas in 30 minutes. Or the winner could be the player who sees the largest cumulative number of yellow vehicles during your entire road trip.

Cows, Silos, & Cemeteries

This game works best when traveling through ranching and farming areas. A minimum of two players is needed. A whole car load can also play. Players divide into two teams: one composed of those sitting on the driver’s side of the car, the other of those seated on the passenger side. As the vehicle goes down the highway, each team scans the landscape on their side of the car, searching for cows, silos, or cemeteries. When a cow or a silo is spotted on a team’s side of the car, any member of that team may shout out “Cow!” or “Silo!” That team is then awarded one point for the cow (or a group of cows) seen and/or one point for the silo that has been spotted. In addition to searching for cows and/or silos on its side of the car, team members also need to look for cemeteries on the side of their opposing team. If they see a cemetery on their opponent’s side of the car, they may shout out “Cemetery!” The opposing team then loses ALL their points and has to start from scratch. The first team to reach 20 points wins the game; alternatively, the team with the most points by the time the vehicle reaches its destination is the winner.

Car Colors

Choose a time limit such as 10 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on the length of the drive. Have each rider make a guess about how many cars of a certain color will be spotted during that time. The closest guesser wins. You can also do this in “sprint fashion” by using 3-minute intervals as your time limit. Whoever is closest gets a point for that time segment. The first one to reach five points wins.

Count the…

Probably even the most enthusiastic young’ns will catch on to this being busywork, but for a while it will be all they’ll think about! And there is a bonus: Interest is likely to reignite on its own shortly after it stalls. Count the… can be anything: cows, telephone poles, headlights, train cars, blue pickup trucks—you name it. Shouting out the thing to keep track of is all that is required.

Find the Vehicle

If your kids or fellow passengers are car enthusiasts, a round of Find the Vehicle is a great way to pass the time during a road trip. You can play this game in a variety of ways. You could simply have passengers call out an interesting car model. Or ask them to search for a specific type of car. Reward points go to the first person who spots it. To up the competition, specify a color or state license plate in addition to a make or model. The first person to find the car gets to choose the game’s next make and model.

Geography Lesson

Geography can be a lot of fun outside the classroom! For this game, choose countries, cities, or states (or go nuts and try rivers and lakes or capitals). Let’s say your theme is states. The first player names a state, and the next player has to rattle off another state that starts with the last letter of the previous player’s state. Therefore, if it were Michigan, the next state would have to start with N, like Nebraska. The A could be Alaska, and so on. Note: This one makes your brain hurt.

Grocery Game

A good way to keep everyone in the car entertained and engaged is to play a memory game such as the Grocery Game. To begin, the first player names an object available at a grocery store that starts with the letter A. The next player has to repeat what the first player said and then add another grocery item that starts with a B. For example, if player one says apples, player two would repeat apples and then might add bananas. If you forget a grocery item, you’re out, and the game continues until the player with the best memory wins.

If groceries aren’t your thing, you can play variations of this game with anything from animals to sports to people’s names.

I Spy

To play I Spy, a classic travel game, one person in the car will choose an object around them. He or she then gives the other people in the car a clue by saying: “I spy with my little eye, something….” He or she then will state the object’s color, give the first letter of the name of the object or offer another clue.

Be sure that players don’t choose an object that the car will whiz by too fast. Instead, go for something that is inside the car or that will be in everyone’s line of vision for a few minutes. The person who guesses the object correctly is the next person to spy a new item.

License Plates

There are many ways to play with license plates, depending on the age of your passengers. Young participants can call out letters that they see on license plates in alphabetical order; the first one to Z wins. Next, have them look for doubles—or better yet, triples!—of letters and/or numbers on the plates. The one who has the most at the end of the day/trip wins. Older kids can “collect” out-of-state plates they see. (Make it tougher by going in alphabetical order.) Or they can try to build words or phrases using the letter sequence in the plates. A plate with the letters E, F, and T, for example, might become the word “effort” (using those letters to start the word, in the middle, and at the end). Those could make “Ed’s Favorite Tacos” if you’re running with phrases.

Name That Tune

As with the classic TV game show, the winner here is the one who figures out the name of the “mystery song” first. For those with singing/whistling/humming talent, this can be as much karaoke as a guessing game. Choose a theme for the game, such as show tunes, movie or TV themes, or Justin Timberlake. (Good luck, adults) The winner gets to be the singer for the next round. If no one can carry a tune in a bucket, then try guessing the songs on the radio. Really want to mix it up? Hit the “seek” button so no one gets an unfair advantage from sticking to one particular station’s format.

Odd or Even

Each player makes a guess at how many of the next 20 license plates will end with an even number. The one who is closest wins. It helps to have a little tally chart to keep score. You can lengthen the game by increasing the number of license plates.

Picnic Game

A memory builder for all ages. One player says, “I went to a picnic Saturday and I brought…” then says a picnic favorite that begins with the letter A, like an avocado. The next player repeats the opening phrase, and after “…I brought” they repeat the A item then add one that begins with B: “I brought an avocado and some broccoli.” The third player repeats the opener, the A and the B portions, and then adds something that begins with C (carrots), then D (dip). Get it? Can your travelers get through the alphabet, remembering all the items everyone contributed? Try keeping track of 23 items plus figuring out what you can take to a picnic that starts with X!

Radio Game

Hit the “scan” button on your radio until it stops on a song. The first person to guess the artist wins.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock, Paper, Scissors is a classic game that can keep people of all ages entertained while on the road. To play this, each player makes a fist and says out loud, “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” swinging down his or her fist on each beat. After the third beat, each player makes one of three hand gestures: a closed fist representing “rock,” an open hand representing “paper,” or a V representing “scissors.”

The winning player makes the gestures of the object that will defeat the opponent’s object. In other words, since a rock can destroy a pair of scissors, rock beats scissors. Scissors cut paper, so scissors beat paper. Since paper can cover a rock, paper beats rock. If opponents use the same gesture, the game is tied.

Spelling Bee

A spelling bee held in your car can offer parents the best of both worlds: Your child will be having fun and learning at the same time. One at a time, each person in the car takes turns spelling a word. If they spell the word correctly, they remain in the game. If they spell the word incorrectly, they’re eliminated from the competition. Keep spelling words until you determine which one of your road warriors is the champion speller.

When selecting words, especially for the younger members of your group, make sure that you choose words that are age appropriate. You don’t want to leave anyone feeling frustrated, disappointed, or inclined to throw a road-trip tantrum.

Team Storytelling

Get the creative juices flowing among your fellow road trippers by composing a group story. One person in the car starts by creating the first line of the story. You can start with a simple “Once upon a time, there lived a princess” or come up with something more unconventional like, “Joey the frog always had blue spots.” Next, each person in the car adds a line, and the story builds and builds. Depending on your group’s storytelling stamina, you could go on for a few minutes or a few hours.

To make the game more challenging and fun, make a rule that all of the lines rhyme or, instead of going in a circle, call on people to come up with a line. After you’ve reached your destination, your kids could write and illustrate the story as a token of their road trip adventure.


This one is simple: When you come to a tunnel, see who can hold their breath the longest. True, it may not be one best played by the driver (lightheadedness, anyone?), but everyone else can give it a go. We used to be amazed at our own skill at this as kids.

Twenty Questions

Whomever goes first thinks of, well, anything. The first question is always, “Animal, vegetable, or mineral?” After that, the players can ask pointed questions to try and guess. Go around the car in a circle asking for clues such as, “Does it bark?” or “Can you peel it?” However, the answer to any question asked can only be yes or no. If you reach the 20th question without a winner, everyone has one last chance to figure it out before the “thing” is revealed and another person starts a fresh round.

Where’s the Alphabet?

Perform this as teams or solo players. You’ll want to utilize road signs, billboards, shop names—any reading material outside the window qualifies as long as it’s spotted on your side of the car. (If you’re the front-seat passenger, focus on the right.) You’ll be looking for every letter of the alphabet, in alphabetical order, although the letter can be located anywhere in the word. Say there is a fruit stand with a sign for Granny Smith apples—there’s your A. The exit for the Brooklyn Bridge would cover B, Road Closed is C and so on. First one to the letter Z wins. If you see “Road Closed,” however, you’ll probably be happy to have the nine other games listed here.

Who Am I?

Who Am I is a great way to show everyone what they have in common. Think of someone that you and your fellow passengers all know: a family member, friend, neighbor, or maybe a fictional or historical character. Then give clues about the person’s identity by revealing his or her hair color, gender, and other distinguishing physical characteristics. Or allow each person in the car to ask only yes or no” questions about the identity of your secret person. Keep giving clues until someone figures out the identity of the individual you have in min.

This is a variation of the ever-popular Twenty Questions, where the only clue players start out with is whether you are thinking of something “animal, vegetable, or mineral” or a “person, place, or thing.” The players must ask questions that you can only answer yes or no to determine who or what you are thinking about. The goal is to guess the answer in 20 questions or less.