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10 games to play in the car on a family road trip

Happy kids playing games in the car on a road tripRemember your own childhood family road trips?

Instead of watching screens you watched the road go by. Everyone listened to same CD and every time you saw a Volkswagon Beetle you hit your sibling in the arm. Sometimes pretty hard.

Well, if you’re keen to mix it up and share some of that fun with your own kids, here are some games (most a bit less violent than Punch Buggy) to teach your family before your next family road trip.

We’ve also got some tips from our Bub Hub forum members on how and when to play.

10 games to play on a family road trip

Car Cricket

This less-boring version of actual cricket is perfect for long trips on country roads. Each player takes turns being ‘up to bat’. Runs are scored each time a car passes on the opposite side of the road.

Depending on how you play, each type or colour of vehicle scores a different amount of runs.

For example, you could score as follows:

Semis, road trains and large trucks = 6 runs
Medium trucks, cars with caravans or trailers = 4 runs
4x4s, vans = 2 runs
Regular cars = 1 runs
Red cars = out

The person with the highest score after a set number of overs (depending on how long the trip is) is the winner.

HUBBER’S TIP: “Best played on country roads, it can get quite frantic when passing through a town. The best bit is when you get a string of red cars and everyone is out for a duck.” – Narribri

Car Bingo

This game does require a bit of pre-planning. Do up some cards, like regular bingo but instead of numbers have a range of different colours on them.

When you pass a car of that colour you cross it off until you get the whole card crossed off … then you shout ‘BINGO’, just like Nanna does every Saturday!

Instead of colours you could play using different modes of transport – use drawings if your kids can’t read yet.

Quick version: “Each person has a different colour car they have to watch out for and the first to get to 5 or 10 wins” – EliG

HUBBER’S TIP : “Red and white are common but green/brown can take AGES!” – veve

The Mintie Wrapper Game

There’s not much to explain with this game… but it is an excellent way to keep the kids quiet for a long while.

First give them a Mintie (the chewing alone will give you at least 5 minutes of peace) … then get them to tear the wrapper carefully to make one long piece. The passenger with the longest wrapper wins!

HUBBER’S TIP: ‘We use Minties or Fantales … once we’ve eaten the lolly first!” – One of THOSE mums!


There are a few different versions of Spotto doing the rounds among Bub Hub forum members. But they all have the same aim … everyone looks for the same item and whoever sees it first yells “Spotto”. You can keep a tally to determine the winner at the end of the drive.

Items could include: personalised number plates, makes of cars, car colours, certain letters on number plates etc etc.

Variations on the ‘spotting things’ themes are: first person to see a semi-trailer has to say “I see a semi-trailer … semi-trailer I see” quickly before anyone else. Or if you spot a white horse you say “Ping … I see a white horse” to get a treat. First to see a windmill has to yell ‘windmill’ before anyone else. First to see a number plate from each Australian state and territory. First to spot a car with one headlight only. First to spot a magpie etc.

HUBBER’S TIP: “We played Spotto! Mum and Dad would write out a list of things we had to find and we’d yell out ‘Spotto!’ when we spotted something on the list! It was funny when we had to spot a lady in a hat … we had the car windows down and would all scream ‘SPOTTO!’ and the poor lady would nearly jump out of her clothes!! – from one of our Facebook followers!

The Number Plate Game

This one is for older kids (and an R-rated version could occupy a carload of adults on long drives).

Basically you see a number plate and you make up a funny/clever phrase using the letters. No one really wins, it is just good for a laugh.

For younger kids: “We also played the number plate game, where you go through the alphabet and find the next letter, so if you saw NAY-123, you have the A, then the next number plate has to have a B, etc etc, or use numbers, 0-9.”

HUBBER’S TIP: “For example, 856 EEL elephants eating lollipops” – loving5. “Or LIR would be Lauren is racing! That was my old cars letters.” – Atlantic Puffin


An oldie but a goodie. The rules are: one person has to choose something they see (eg. a cow) then say “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘C'”. The first person to guess right wins, and then it is their turn.

HUBBER’S TIP: “It can get a little boring if you’re driving along long roads where its only really trees/sky and what you can see in the car … so we also play ‘I DON’T spy with my little eye … ‘, which opens up the options. Has to be something you CAN’T see (dinosaur, monster, people who aren’t in the car etc)” – veve

The Alphabet Game

There are a few alphabet games out there. For example, you could name all the boys names starting with ‘G’, or a girls’ name for every letter of the alphabet.

Then there are alphabet/memory games like: “I went to the shops and I bought a …” or “I went to the zoo I saw an anteater …”. Then the next person has to remember what was said before and continue with the next letter of the alphabet.

HUBBER’S TIP: “We go through the alphabet and find things starting with each letter.” – One of THOSE mums!

Maybe you won’t want to tell the kids about these games …

Corners: This game probably belongs back in the early 80s. It is super unsafe and won’t even really work these days as there are usually carseats in the back. But basically each time you turn a corner you all squash the person on that side of the car. I have seen legs up on the windows to ensure a good ‘squashing’.

Punch Buggy and Pinch Mini: Basically if you see a VW Beetle then you say “Punch buggy” and punch the person next to you. It you spot a Mini … you say “Pinch mini” and pinch them.

HUBBER’S TIP: “We played Punch Buggy but it can get pretty aggressive, so we weren’t allowed to play it much as kids (there used to be a car rental place on the Sunshine Coast that ONLY rented out VWs, so when we went past it, the thumps in the car were pretty … well .. full on). – veve

And if you’re ever in the UK …

We love this game from one Bub Hub forum member who grew up in the UK. It probably won’t be as fun in Australia as most country pubs are just named after the town.

The Pub Game: Take it in turns (ie the next pub is yours then the passenger is next). You get how ever many points the number of legs the name of the pub had. Eg The Man and his Dog = 6 points, The Elephant and Wheelbarrow = 4 points.



 Visit our family holiday and travel hub for more information and tips

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Our Bub Hub team is in the thick of the sleep deprivation, tantrums and unconditional love that comes with parenting. Plus, with the support of Mater, we have unvetted access to the minds of Australia’s leading ...

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