5 simple and free car games to make a long journey fly by!

Make the long journey fly by
Make the long journey fly by

When I was a young child I recall the dreaded long drive to my Grandad’s house. Whenever we went to visit we would be stuck in the car for about 4 hours and that was my parents and all five of us kids. That many people in such a close environment usually meant short fuses and loud explosions! Over the years of doing that trip, we learned to be creative and actually invented some simple games to pass the time. Our family games can be your family’s sanity. Take a few minutes to consider these simple ideas to make your long drive fly by.

1. "Famous Faces"

This is a really easy game to play. It is most effective on a road where there are two or more lanes heading in the same direction as you because then you will pass or be passed by numerous other vehicles. You decide on a vehicle that you are going to overtake and then all players look at the driver of the car and have to give their very first reaction as to who the person looks like. Usually they are likened to a celebrity, sports person or musician but sometimes they look like someone your family all knows or even a next-door neighbor. The funny thing is that more often than not two or more people will think of the same person. The only rule is that you have to say the FIRST person you think of. No scoring for this game, but lots of laughs and the odd argument as it is inevitable that you will hear, “No it doesn’t. It doesn’t look anything like him!”

3. "Number Plate Game"

When I was growing up in England, car number plates were in the following format – ABC.123.D or A.123.BCD. In this game players would take it in turn to select a car that you were coming up behind before the number plate was even visible and the player would then have to make a word out of the letters on the number plate. If a word could be made from the three letters together in the order they appeared you would get 3 points (e.g. CAT.251.X would give 3 points for the word “cat”). If a 4-letter word could be made using the 4th letter, again in the order displayed, then 4 points were awarded (e.g. BON.852.E would give 4 points for “bone”). If you could make a word using the 3 letters in order but adding a letter yourself you would get 2 points (e.g. CRE.446.J could get you 2 points by adding a W to make “crew” or adding A to make “acre”). Lastly, if you add 2 letters to make a word you would get 1 point (e.g. COS.762.W could give 1 point by adding A & T to make “coast”). Play up to a pre-determined score or for a set time limit. This one gets your brains working which is a great thing for kids.

The White Horse wins 4 points!
The White Horse wins 4 points!

2. "Count The Legs"

This one is a game that will only work in countries where there are pubs that have pub signs outside and it will work best on the back roads through towns and villages. Players take turns to be allocated the next pub sign that you pass. That player is then awarded points for the number of “legs” depicted on the pub sign. For example, “The White Horse” would give 4 points to represent the 4 legs on the horse, “The Black Swan” would give 2 points for the 2 legs on the swan, etc. You can play for a set amount of time or until a target of say 20 points has been reached by one player. There’s no skill involved in this one – it’s just luck of the draw.

4. "Cricket"

This game had to be played on a road with two or more lanes going in the same direction. You would have two teams and one team would be in bat first. That team would score runs for vehicles that your car passed. Scoring was regular car = 1 run, large lorry/truck = 4 runs, and coach/bus/emergency services vehicle = 6 runs. The team at bat would keep scoring runs until they had lost a set number of wickets (usually 3). Wickets were lost whenever your car was passed by another vehicle. Then the other team would have their turn at bat scoring runs in the same way. The game would end when one team reached a pre set number of runs, a preset number of wickets or after a set time had elapsed. You will find that this game also involves a lot of yelling at the driver to pass or not pass as the situation dictates!

5. "Spot The Item"

My brothers and I would often make up a sheet of things to spot on our journey and then see who could spot the highest number of the items on the way. Our sheet would include things like:

  • Police Car
  • Ambulance
  • Army vehicle
  • Taxi
  • Tow truck
  • Train
  • Broken down car
  • Fire truck
  • Two tone car
  • Convertible car
  • Llama
  • Donkey
  • Horse & foal together

The list is endless and you can make up a combination of whatever items you like, but you want to make some easier to spot and some really hard so that everyone keeps their eyes peeled (except the driver of course!)

Happy trails!

Well, there you have 5 simple and free car games to make that boring long journey pass by in a flash. These are only the things we did as a family, but they can be adapted or used as prompters for you to come up with your own unique car games. Good luck and happy trails!

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Comments 4 comments

cebutouristspot profile image

cebutouristspot 4 years ago from Cebu

Nice tip. I am planning a long road trip and this would surely save me the trouble of dealing with kids tantrums.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

This is a great hub for people with little children. My daughter is 16 right now so it won't work, but I hope people who have kids that are young read this. Thumbs up!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

thanks for breaking down car games that could be played during a long car ride. I dread long car rides they last forever ! anywho thanks for the hub. Voted up


sara 18 months ago

sometimes we forget how hard this can all be for a small child. Thanks for this insightful post. We have not had to move countries, but my kids do attend an immersion school.

http://kids-issues.blogspot.com/2013/05/remarkably...

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