I love car trips! I always say that when we are on the road as a family. I always say “I love to drive!”….and, my husband always reminds me, “No, you love to ride!” (He does most of the driving!) Regardless, I love car trips because they are a great way to spend time with family. You are all stuck in the car so you better find a way to get along or it could be miserable. Anyway, with five kids, I have come up with a few car games for trips to keep everyone occupied and happy so that no one (ahem, me!!) loses their mind. For these car games for trips, I have a few requirements. I require that they don’t take up much space, I try to stay away from “screen time” as much as possible, and I don’t like things that have a lot of pieces. (The fewer things to lose in the car/plane or to make the car/plane messy, the better.) If you have little ones, I recommend #2, 3, and 4: Something to talk about, something to draw and something to look for on the road.
Car Games for Trips
Alright…so, here are the things we do to save sanity in our “cute little car” as we like to call her.
1) The first of the car games for trips that we play is the Are we there yet? Chat ring. I love these activities. They are great for car, plane, bus, train -however you travel. They require few supplies, or what supplies they do require, you already have. (A few of them require the “sick bag” from the airplane – you use it for fun, of course, not to get sick!) They come on a “key ring” -so, we actually keep this ring in our car and whenever we are out and about it, it is easy to come up with an idea or way to entertain the kids.
2) On the same theme, the next car games for trips that we have is the “Let’s Chat “game”. (We have one in the car and one we keep at home!) These are great conversation starters, for the car, the dinner table, or out a restaurant. If you could be anyone from history, who would you be?
3) I also love to bring along a magnetic drawing board. This makes it super simple to do car games for trips: tic tac toe, hangman, or just drawing. Printable road trip games are great but, but I actually prefer having a magnetic drawing board because then you don’t have the paper floating around in the car. The less mess, the better! Also, some of the games on the Are We There Yet? ring have you write things down. So, instead of having paper, we write on our magnetic drawing boards.
4) Another car games for trips that I love is Spot It! on the Road. This is a fun game because even the little ones can play it. You take a card and look for them as you travel.
5) Who doesn’t love Simon? This is a great game to pass around the car.
6) I am also a big fan of Travel Bingo. My kids love to play the game “I Spy”…well, this takes “I Spy” to a new level and actually organizes it where there is a beginning and and end.
7) Another family favorite car games for trips is Travel Guess Who?
8) Oh, and of course Amazing Minecraft Activity Book
9) I also always make some printable road trip games. These are great for the older kids. They can read and write and play these printable road trip games with each other. (I have included some of these games for free below for you!)
10) There are hand held video games that are fun to play…I let the kids take turns passing it around the car.
11) We also do put up a video player, but we do not do that the entire time. The actually sell them where you can play games too … My kids sort of get mad at each other though when we play games like that in the car, so I like the movie option better.. peace and quiet for at least 15 minutes. I prefer to have some screen free time too. You have to experience a road trip the old fashioned way. Also, I think it is important to look at the scenery. Why drive across the land and not enjoy the world around you?
12) Oh, and the best game of all! We play a penny per mile. For each mile the child is sleeping or quiet, they get a penny! This adds up so some good spending money at rest stops or at the final destination!
Anyway, here are some free printable car games for trips. There are a few games having to do with a United States Map (name the states, name the capitals, color in the state when you have found the license plate). There are a few games to play where you make words out of different letters. There are a few brainstorming games and there are a few tic tac toe and hangman games. There are 22 pages in all. To get a copy of your free printable road trip games, enter in your information below and you will be added to our game mailing list. You will find out more information about SimplyFun educational board games. (We send an email once a month).
Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading, Mrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 8 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets and Parents Magazine online. Over the last 8 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.