15 games to entertain kids on long car journeys
"Are we nearly there yet?"
Remember this classic clip from 'The Simpsons'? If you want to avoid the haunting chant of “are we nearly there yet?” on a car journey this year and don’t want to lean on technology, then keep reading to discover 15 free games to entertain kids on a long car journey.
There's a couple of old school classics which the whole family can play, as well as some reworked lesser-known ones - and we have even created our own fantastic free games for you to enjoy, and there's a bonus for if you're travelling to your next Trail adventure!
‘The Car Treasure Trail’ - a seriously enjoyable diversion!
Think 'Blockbusters' but with car colours! Print off our (not so accurate!) road map of Cornwall and colour in the cars in a mix of whichever colours you'd like.
As you spot cars with those colours on your actual journey, move along the map to try to be the first to get to the finish line. This will keep your young explorers occupied for about 30 minutes and will stop any ‘Are we nearly there yet?' comments coming your way.
Eyes down, look in – it’s time for ‘I-Spy Car Bingo’!
‘I-Spy’ with a difference - passengers keep their eyes peeled to cross items off their bingo cards that they spot on their journey. Easy to play for all kids aged 5–105, and you’ll be able to focus on your journey in relative peace while listening to Classic FM or He4vy Met4l FM (if that floats your boat) until someone shouts “house!”
‘The Bottle of Treasure’ – perfect pre-school kiddies paradise
Any age can enjoy this treasure hunt in a bottle, but it's perfect for the really young explorers. Before your journey, fill a plastic bottle with sand or rice along with some small objects or letters. Then, challenge the munchkins to see what they can discover in their treasure hunt in a bottle while enjoying some peaceful sensory play and learning.
Sink car boredom with ‘I-Spy Battleships’An original game combining two classics - ‘Battleships’ and traditional ‘I-Spy’. Rather than choosing which squares to ‘fire’ in, your shots are determined by what you spot out the window while on your car journey. Great for grumpy pre-teens and bored-backseat drivers!
‘We’re All Arms & Legs!’ - the raucous rural car game
Keep a sharp eye out for road and pub signs on your side of the car to trump your fellow passengers. The premise is simple - each arm or leg spotted counts as one point. So, either of these signs would be worth eight points (six legs and two arms!).
Perfect to power the car on giggle juice, kids and adults from five and up will love this game.
Timeless classics – these games will never tire
There's a very good reason that classic travel games are brought out over and over again on long journeys - they're brilliant fun! Remember these ones? ‘Who am I?’, Traditional ‘I-Spy’, ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf’ and our personal favourite, guaranteed to have you giggling away, Buzz.
Maths made fun! - It must be ‘Car Cricket’
A game of cricket, but played in the car. Different coloured cars equate to a different number of runs, but watch out for a red car as you'll be out! Don’t worry - you don’t need to be in Mensa to keep count. This game should give you and anyone else aged 9-99 the ‘LOL’ factor for 30 minutes.
In the same way that Strawberry Laces aren’t one of your ‘5-a-day’ (unfortunately), you can’t count this as your daily half-hour of exercise.
Old, classic memory-based games
Memory games are a great way to keep calm with collective concentration or have a good giggle or two, depending on the game. These are some really great lesser-known games which are good for improving the memory of little (and big) ones: ‘I Heard it First!’, ‘Let’s go Shopping’, ‘Chain Letter Game’ and ‘Number Plate Scrabble®’.
The ultimate wordsearch – hours of silence?
There is only one word to find, but we believe this is the hardest word search in the world, so much so that you might be able to drive from Carlisle to Cornwall with your seven-year-old trying to find it. Don’t worry - we’ll let you know where the answer is as well so that an M25 mood doesn’t materialise!
Excite young adventurers with Treasure Trails Mini Clubs!
If you're heading off on a Trail adventure, keep your little explorers entertained with a Mini Club pack, themed and free to download with any Trail purchase.
They'll get some bonus puzzles to complete on the way to your family day out, as well as an adventure record section and an ID badge with tips on how to choose their codename. A must-have accompaniment to your Trailing trip for any explorers aged four to eight (although older kids and kidults love them too!).