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Games to play in the car with kids on long journeys

When the school holidays roll around, no amount of preparation feels adequate. You may have booked the perfect trip, delicately balancing everyone’s expectations, but a car journey can throw things off course from the get-go. Kids’ moods are unpredictable – fact – and fewer things rile them up (or bring them down) more than a long journey on the motorway.

Children using a map in the back of a car

A decent car game can make these parts of the journey more educational and entertaining. There are lots to choose from that everyone can enjoy. Here, we take a look at ten of the best.

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

A version of twenty question, this is a classic, loved by children and adults alike. Taking it in turns, each player thinks of something within the animal, vegetable and mineral categories and has the others ask questions, trying to guess what that thing is. It requires logic, concentration, team work and has that all-important competitive edge.

Road Trip Bingo

This is a great one for when the pilot and co-pilot need to concentrate or relax. Give your kids a set of items to visually find on the journey, allowing them to enjoy and utilise the outside scenery as it rolls by.

I went to the shops

A pleasingly old-school drama lesson game that the whole car or just the kids can enjoy. Taking it in turns to name shop items in alphabetical order is not as simple as it sounds when every item needs to be remembered and recited. It quickly descends into hilarious confusion.

Toca Life Vacation App

This extremely fun one-player app lets kids plan and pack for a holiday all of their own. Its unique aesthetic and fantastic design allow for hours of creative entertainment – a perfect choice if your child is by themselves in the back seat, or likes to play alone from time to time. Available on iPhone, iPad and Android.

Sago Mini Road Trip App

Similarly to Toca Life, this beautifully rendered and interesting app is perfect for single players aged 3 and above – letting them choose which friends the character Jinga goes to visit and enjoy the adventure that ensues. There are no set rules, and there are hints available too. Available for Android and Apple.

Lonely Planet Kids’ Boredom Buster

This fantastic book provides hours of road-related fun, for both individual children and siblings. It’s comprehensive and enjoyable, and you don’t even need stationery! Available from Lonely Planet online, or Amazon.

Spot the car

A simple, effective game. Simply tell your kids a car make or model, and get them to find one, or more, in the allotted time! Motorways can allow for rare and common sightings alike.

Secret place race

If you’re one of the few who still keeps a map in the car, then this is a good choice. One person chooses an obscure location – a village, town, river etc. – and the other has a mere 60 seconds or 6 minutes to find it. See? Maps are fun.

Heads Up! Kids app

There was a time when you couldn’t get on an off-peak train without stumbling upon a Heads Up! match. This kids’ version substitutes the slightly obscure cultural references and figures of the original for more straightforward subjects and questions, but keeps the hilarious and frantic phone/head interplay intact. By turning the device’s volume down, and kindly requesting that no one shouts their answers, will ensure that the driver isn’t distracted. Find it on the App Store.

Number plate sentences

Using only the letters (leave out numbers for simplicity’s sake) of car number plates, get your kids inventing silly sentences. BM51 SMR? Bring Me Sally-Marie’s Raincoat, more like.

We know how hard long journeys can be as a family but with these games your car journey could be a breeze. As a new driver with a family, we know how tough long journeys can be on you too. Planning games and activities for the kids ahead of time can make your journey a breeze.

As well as making sure you have the kids games covered, why not make sure you’ve got adequate insurance cover at an affordable price with our new driver car insurance too.