Games to Play in the Car (Including Paper and Pencil)

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If you’re like me, you and your kids are in the car a lot. Whether you’re driving on a road trip, to a restaurant, or a dance class, here are a few fun games to play in the car.

Some, your kids can do with a pencil and piece of paper and others don’t require anything but your eyes.

Paper and Pencil Games for the Car

Hangman

Two or more players. One player thinks of a word and writes a line for each letter, then draws a gallows. It’s not a bad idea to give some adult help on this step. The other players try to guess the letters in the word, one letter at a time. Each incorrect letter means the drawing player draws a body part on the gallows. The object is to guess the word before you get “hung” – which is a full-body picture on the gallows. 

Tic-Tac-Toe

Two players.  No explanation is needed, right?

Boxes

Draw a grid of dots, in other words, rows and columns of dots. Each player takes turns drawing a line between any two adjacent dots.  If you make a square with your line, write your initials in that box. Once all the dots are connected, the person with the most boxes wins.  Example here.

Morse Code Writing

Print out the code and have your kids make secret messages in Morse Code.

Pencil Rubbings

Put coins, keys, or a comb under the paper and rub with the side of the pencil. Note: you might need some wet wipes handy afterward.

Story Add-On

Get a piece of paper. The first person writes down a beginning to a story – it can be one sentence – then folds the paper to cover what he wrote. The second person continues the story without looking and adds detail or action. That person folds the paper over her part. And so forth, until someone ends the story. Open, read, and laugh!

Monster Add-On

Fold a plain piece of paper into four horizontal sections. The first person draws the monster’s head, folds over the paper so it is covered. The second person draws the neck, shoulders, and arms then folds it over. The third person draws the body then folds it over. The fourth person finishes with the legs and feet. Open and check out your masterpiece!

License Plate Game

Spot license plates from different states. Whoever sees it first calls it out and records it on their U.S. map.

Verbal Games for the Car

Alphabet Game

Starting with A, find the letters of the alphabet in the correct alphabetical order using road signs. “I spy A!

Variations: Find the alphabet on license plates only.

I Spy / 20 Questions

One person sees something and says, “I spy with my little eye, something _____ (blue).” Now, the other players must ask yes or no questions to figure out what that object is. “Is it round?” 

Alternatively, play the traditional 20 questions by thinking of an object that is a vegetable, mineral, or animal. Other players ask yes or no questions.

Would You Rather

Think of two silly or gross questions to ask each other starting with the prompt, “Would you rather…” Or use a card game to get started.

originally published in 2009
updated in 2022

Games to Play in the Car (Including Paper and Pencil)

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  • WELCOME

    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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