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Banish back seat boredom with 12 fun car games

Make the journey as fun as the destination. Sitting in the car won’t be boring with 12 fun and easy car games.

You’ve been planning for weeks, the car is packed, the kids are in the car and your destination is plugged into your GPS — you’re ready to get going on your great Aussie road trip.

But before you hear, “are we there yet?” from the back seat, prepare to bust the boredom with our list of top 12 games to play on your next road trip.

1. I spy

It’s a classic for a reason. It’s easy and everyone can get involved. Someone chooses an object they see, says, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…” sharing the first letter of the object they saw. Other players take turns guessing what the object is. The first person to guess correctly takes the next turn.

2. Punch buggy

This one is a good one for Volkswagen fans. Participants shout “punch buggy” whenever they see a Volkswagen Beetle. While the game used to involve a gentle punch to the arm of another player, now it’s totally acceptable to play without punching. In the end, whoever sees the most Volkswagen Beetles wins.

3. King of the road

This one is great in cities, as well as regional towns or country roads. You start by assigning points for types of vehicles you might see on the road. Participants simply keep track of what they see and their points. The first one to reach 100 points wins.

Vehicle Points
Police car – flashing lights and siren    20
Police car – no flashing lights 15
Limousine 25
Ambulance – lights on 20
Ambulance – no lights 15
Caravan 10
Tow truck 5
Motorcycle 5
Bus 5
Truck 5
Bicycle 1

4. Animal poker

A good game to keep the kids occupied when you’re driving out in the regions. Participants look out for animals they might see; first one to 100 points wins. But if you pass a cemetery the points are “buried” and everyone goes back to zero.

Vehicle Points
Emu 20
Kangaroo 20
Wombat 20
White Horse 20
Horse 15
Cat 5
Dog 5
Single sheep 5
Flock of sheep 15
Single cow 5
Herd of cattle 15
Snake 15
Water dragon 15
Black cockatoo 20


5. Number plate bingo

Participants will need a pen and paper for this one. It starts with the driver nominating the number of letters in a word, for example, “five”. Everyone then writes down a word with five letters in it. Paying close attention, people check number plates (including parked cars) and whenever they see a letter from their word, they cross that letter off. The first person to cross all seven letters of their word off wins.

Continuing with the number plate theme, whenever you pass a car everyone competes to make up a word using the letters on the car’s number plate. The rules are simple: you can put additional letters before, between and after the letters, but you can’t change the order of the letters. For example, ATR can become “actor” but not “train”.

7. Name that tune

For this game you’ll need to be listening to music (It can be on the radio, a CD or even a streaming service like Spotify). The front passenger will put a song on, let it play for a few seconds, before pausing it. Everyone tries to guess the name of the song. The first person to guess the correct name wins.

8. Car colours

A simple game where everyone picks a colour and each person counts all the passing cars in that colour. Someone decides how many cars in that colour you have notice, say 10. Whoever reaches 10 cars in that colour wins.

9. Build a story

It’s fun to see how creative (and zany) this one can get. In this game, each person contributes one sentence at a time to a story. While there’s no “winner” it can be entertaining to see how imaginative the story becomes.

10. The cloud game

While this one is best played while horizontal on the grass and looking up at the sky, it still works while on a road trip. Simply choose a passing cloud, say “that cloud looks like …” and let your imagination run wild. Participants take turns in deciding what the cloud looks like.

11. Twenty questions

Person one chooses a person, place or thing. Everyone else can ask up to 20 questions (collectively) to help gather clues as to what person, place or thing has been chosen. Questions have to be yes or no answer questions. If 20 questions are asked without a correct guess, then the person one wins and gets to go for another round.

12. The silent game

Ok, this one isn’t an official game, but it can be a great way to create a little much needed quiet on the drive. It’s easy to play. Simply say, “Who can stay quiet the longest will win a prize.” and cross your fingers that the kids will settle down, even if for only a little while. Oh and yes, don’t forget to organise a little prize for whoever can stay quiet the longest.