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Road Trip Car Games

July is finally here! For parents of young kids, we are often caught off guard by the extra meals to plan, the big changes in routine, and having to find ways to battle summer boredom. We are suddenly whisked into a whirlwind of Band-Aids, popsicles, goggles, and flip flops. Our senses are stunned by the pungent scent of sunscreen and chlorine, while we wallow in the regret that we didn’t sign them up for an extra week of summer camp. Inevitably, we take a deep breath, clench our fists, and plunge into the planning of that dreaded summer road trip!

Yes, summer road trips can be stressful but with a bit of planning, they don’t always have to be. For me, it’s the several-hours car rides that I don’t always enjoy. I know many of us resort to giving the kids a tablet to keep everyone quiet in the car, but I’m trying to keep screens out of our summers when possible (haven’t they had enough already?). If you’re brave enough to join me on this screen-free quest, here are some of our favourite car ride games and some new ones we’d like to try.

A to Z game

This one is our go-to game every car ride. One person picks a category, and we all take turns coming up with words that start with each letter of the alphabet. Since we’ve been playing this one for years, our categories have become quite interesting!

True or False

Bring some non-fiction kids magazines on board. Kids can search for interesting facts and then either read them out loud or change one small detail about the fact. Grown-ups decide if the statement is true or false. 


We have a playlist of the kids’ favourite songs – including the entire soundtrack of Encanto. While we sing along, I sometimes pause the music to see if they know the next lyric. And for sanity’s sake, parents get to ban certain songs (think Baby Shark and What does the Fox Say?)

Alphabet Eye-Spy

No guessing needed for this one. Someone calls out a letter then we all look for and call out items that start with that letter. 

20 Questions

One of us thinks of a person, place or thing and we take turns asking “yes” or “no” response type questions. 

Would You Rather

There are tons of “would you rathers” online and they make for very interesting conversations in the car!

Watch Your Mouth!

Choose 3 to 4 “off limits” words and try to get others to say them in casual conversation. Some good ones are yes, no, and, bored, and daddy.

Writing/Drawing games

Bring some writing tools or invest in Boogie Boards (electronic writing tablets). We play a bunch of drawing games, tic tac toe, hangman, and math fact games. Sometimes we are even graced with a few minutes of quiet drawing time.


Frank Emanuele is a proud father of two boys, a special education teacher, and a director of Dad Club London.


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