Road trips can be a great way to reach your destination while enjoying some beautiful Canadian scenery along the way. But for many of us, especially those with little kids, that scenery can only entertain you for so long.
The following list of road trip games will fill in the gaps when podcasts, tablets, playlists, conversations, and (of course) the scenery just aren’t enough to pass the time.
There are many things to do in the car during a long road trip to help pass the time. Here are 12 of the best road trip games that’ll make that trip feel shorter.
This car game requires a little preparation, but it’s a great time killer. Using a printed map of all 10 provinces (you can download this printable map of the country), the passengers remain on the lookout for licence plates from each province. The first person to spot a plate from a new province calls it out, then they colour in the province on the map.
The first person to fill their entire map wins the game.
This age-old car game has withstood the test of time but remains a great time filler. It’s straightforward and can last the entire car ride if needed.
The first player finds an item within view from the car and says, “I spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter [insert the first letter of the object here].” Everyone in the car takes turns guessing what the object is. Whoever guesses the right object gets the point, then the next person goes. At the end of the game, the person with the most points wins.
Scavenger hunts are always fun, but did you know you can do one on the road too? Print out an in-car scavenger hunt card and pass them out to all passengers. As they spot things on the card during the trip, they color in the corresponding circle on the card. The first one to complete their card wins the hunt.
Bingo in the car? Yes, you can play bingo in the car — minus the tiny balls, of course. In place of the bingo balls will be road signs.
Print out plenty of road sign bingo cards online and pass them out to each passenger. As they see matching road signs along the way, they mark off the corresponding square. The first passenger to collect five marked-off squares in a row and call out “bingo” wins.
An oldie but goodie family road trip game is punch buggy. Once the trip starts, everyone keeps an eye out for Volkswagen Beetles (old or new) and when they see one, they call out “punch buggy” and the color.
You can also spice it up by changing the points system to account for how rare classic Beetles are becoming. For every new-generation Beetle, the passenger gets one point, but classic Beetles are worth two points.
Remember, it doesn’t matter where you see the Beetle — on the road, on the side of the road, parked in a parking lot, or even on a billboard — you still call it out and get a point.
This is a really fun road trip game that can eat up a lot of time on a long car ride. You start with the letter A, and everyone in the car keeps an eye out for something outside that starts with the letter A. When they spot something starting with the letter A, the first one to call it out gets a point.
You then continue in alphabetical order until you reach Z. Some letters like Z or U will be quite difficult, and will get the kids’ minds working hard.
Word association is another game that’ll keep the kids’ brains limber on the long drive.
The driver randomly chooses a person in the car to start the game, and that person says a word. Then you move clockwise around the car with each passenger saying a word that’s somehow related to the previous passenger's word. For example, if the first word was “fruit,” the sequence could go like this:
A person is eliminated if they take more than three seconds to answer, repeat a word someone else used, or someone challenges their word and they lose by a vote.
Regarding the challenge, if someone questions the relationship of the word someone uses to the previous word, they can call out “Challenge.” The other passengers vote on whether or not to accept the word. If they vote against it, the person is eliminated. If they vote for it or there’s a tie, the word is allowed and the game continues.
The winner is the last person standing at the end of the word game.
Starting with the letter A, go around the car mentioning movies that begin with the letter A, such as Armageddon. After everyone’s answered, go to the next letter in the Alphabet. Continue to the next letter of the alphabet until you‘ve reached Z, and each person gets a point for every letter they could match to a movie.
The person with the most points at the end wins.
Trivia is a classic time filler, and you can do it in the car too. A parent can download a trivia app on their smartphone, download age-appropriate trivia questions online, or create their own trivia questions and bring them along during family travel.
Take turns asking the passengers questions from the list — each passenger gets one point for the right answer. If the person guesses wrong, the other passengers can “buzz in” to steal the question and get the point.
At the end of the game, the passenger with the most points wins.
Name that tune is yet another great idea to fill the time on a long car ride. Create a playlist on your favourite streaming service or device and let it play during the trip. As each song comes on, the passengers guess the title. The first person to get the title right gets the point.
Be careful, though, as most cars today have screens displaying the song title. So, you may want to temporarily cover that with an index card or change the screen to display something else, like the navigation system.
In this game, you ask one passenger to think of an item they can buy in a grocery store. Then, without saying it out loud, the other passengers take turns asking yes or no questions about the item, such as “is it in the frozen foods section?” As the clues become more specific, the item’s identity will become clearer.
When a passenger feels they know the answer, they can ask if their guess is right on their next turn. If they’re right, they get the point and get to choose the next grocery item.
An adult chooses three nouns, such as “dog,” “car,” and “screwdriver.” The first child passenger starts a story using those three nouns. The child continues the story until the adult says “switch,” then the next child continues the story but must include the three nouns in their part of the story.
The storyteller changes each time the adult says “switch,” and it continues until one storyteller can’t think of a way to continue the story using the three nouns.
The adult then thinks of three more nouns and allows another child to start a new story.
With your games to play in the car all planned out, now you just need a reliable pre-owned vehicle to take your road trip in. This is where Clutch, Canada’s premier online pre-owned car retailer, can help.
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Check out our online pre-owned vehicle inventory today to find the right car, truck, SUV, or van for you. You can complete your purchase online, secure auto financing, and even get value for your trade-in vehicle, all from the comfort of your home.