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Top 7 Car Games for Kids (Turn Road Trips into Learning Adventures)


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Children can get bored and restless on long car trips, but luckily these captivating car games will keep them entertained while building key reading skills.

Here are seven of the most fun car games (that will also boost children's literacy abilities):

1. Play I Spy

This classic car game is perfect for helping your child with phonics (i.e., developing an ear for sounds). Pay attention to your surroundings and take turns giving clues about an object you have spotted. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with mmm.”

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2. The Sound Lotto car game

Developing strong listening skills is important for reading skills too. Make a list of the sounds you expect to hear on your travels, such as trucks, motorbikes, laughter, high winds or a particular instrument in a song played on the radio. Each time someone hears the sound, they can shout ‘Bingo!’. Older children can play a more sophisticated version of this car game using the sounds in certain words.

3. Find a word that starts with the letter…

Word games help your child think about word structures and increase your child’s awareness of letters and sounds. Take a few minutes to search for words that begin with a particular letter, such as ‘B’. Kick the game off by giving your children a few examples, such as ‘barn’ or ‘baby’ and ask them to find more. This is a perfect example of car games that can educate and keep kids occupied for lots of time on those long drives! 

4. Rev up the rhymes car game

Rhyming is a powerful way to develop phonological awareness. You can start this car game by taking your child’s first name and matching it with words that rhyme. Then take turns finding other things you come across and coming up with words that rhyme with these too.

5. Put things into categories

Pick a theme such as ‘red’ or ‘animals’ and have every family member find ten words that fall under this category. This car game will aid in your child’s vocabulary development after they eventually hear someone’s suggestion and ask, “What does that word mean?”.

6. Licence plates and signs letter quest

Go on a letter hunt and have your child spell a word that they know, such as their first name. Start by trying to find the first letter on licence plates or road signs. “The first letter in your name is ‘S’, can you find a licence plate or sign with an ‘S’ on it”, and so on.

7. Car craze challenge - What would you do?

This car game is a great way to spend your time together and get to know how your children think. It also uses the same processes of comprehension, analysis and expression applied when children are reading. Think of interesting scenarios and ask your child what they would do in that situation. For example, “What would you do if you discovered hidden treasure?” or “What would you do if you got lost in the shopping mall?” You can also stock up on riddle or joke books or some educational apps on your phone or tablet device to give your child some positive educational screen time on your travels.

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