Car Journey & Travel Game Ideas

Posted by Tabi Marsh on

Photo of Hang On, Monkey travel game. A magnetic version of Hangman.

With the summer holidays on the horizon and many people having not done long car journeys for quite while, I thought today would be a great time to round up car games and toys. From a reminder of the free ones that many of us have played over the years to highlighting some small books and games that we stock and are ideal for helping stave off the "are we there yet?" comments.

There's also a free printable Car Games Worksheeet that you can download that has  a few of the games already on there. We are a Makaton Friendly business and so the Car Journey Bingo and other sentences on the sheet involve Makaton Symbols. These are really easy symbols, so if you do not know Makaton, no worries it will not hinder you being able to use it and have fun.


1. I spy with my little eye

The absolute classic of a car game that needs no other explanation!


2. Once Upon a Time

Someone starts with "Once upon a time" and then as you go around the car each person adds a sentence to the story.

This can go on for however long you want or until everyone has added a certain number of sentences. It's best to pre-define though how long you are going to go on for so you can give the story a strong ending.

This game can get silly, serious, out of this world and more, it really lets children's imagination fly.


3. Theme Song

Hum a theme song and everyone else has to guess.


4. Linkee & Dinkee Linkee

Inside of box showing the cards and pencils for the game Linkee from Ideal Games

Linkee is a great family game that is easy to adapt for a car journey. Just pop some of the cards in an envelope to take with you! The aim of the game is for each player to work out the 4 answers to the questions on the card without telling anyone else. The person who wins the card is the one that then works out the link between these answers the fastest.

An example from Dinkee Linkee:

1. Which animal beginning with L is said to never change its spots? (Leopard).

2. What type of animal was Aslan in the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Lion).

3. What type of creature is Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh (Tiger).

4. What it the fastest land animal on the Planet? (Cheetah).  

The winning answer is the link - Big Cats.

Dinkee Linkee is suitable for ages 8+. If your kids are 12+ then the original, Linkee, is your best option. I love this game as it is only of the few games I can regularly win in our family!


5. Count the ....

Choose something to be counted throughout the journey. Whether it's a specific animal, car colour (best to go slightly rarer colours like yellow and green rather than white!).

For either the entire journey or a shorter period of time everyone has to keep count & the winner is the one with the most at the end. (I've included one of these on our free printable which you'll find at the end).


6. Would you rather?

Take it in turns to put scenarios to the rest of the car. E.g. Would you rather eat worms or drink gone off milk?

Another game that is great for brining some laughter to the car on a long journey. 


7. Magnetic Games & Activities

Open tin of Petit Collage Magnetic Dress Up Dinosaur Discovery showing the two scenes and the magnetic clothes and accessories.

Magnetic games are brilliant for car journeys as they are self contained and not as easy to accidentally drop pieces. We have themed magnetic dress up tins where the child can come up with outfits and dress the scene whilst playing by themselves. We also have magnetic Hang On Monkey (Hangman) and Cats and Dogs (Four-in-a-row) which can be played with 2 players.

The brilliant thing about these magnetic tins is the size is also perfect for popping in your handbag and taking out and about with you. So if you're at the beach and need a game, or you are at a restaurant waiting for food, you'll have something to help keep the children occupied and enjoying themselves.


8. Go through the Alphabet

Choose a topic (e.g. animals or foods) and go around the car with the first person saying one of those items that begins with A, the next B and so on. 

To make it harder for older kids you can either do more specific topics (e.g. veggies not food), or eveyone has to do each letter (but rotate who starts each time for fairness).


9. Numberplate Sentences

Pick a numberplate that you spot on your journey. What could the letters stand for? Have everyone come up with their own answer before moving onto another numberplate.


10. Numberplate A-Z

Can you spot every letter in the alphabet on just numberplate during the journey? (We've popped this on our printable at the end).


11. Usborne Minis

Front cover of Usborne minis Pirate Puzzles.

The Usborne Minis range is a fantastic selection of small books designed for using on your travels. You just need a pencil and some crayons. Whether your child likes art, words or puzzles. There is something for everyone.




12. Car Journey Bingo

Worksheet for Car Bingo and other car journey games. All done using Makaton Symbols and in a Makaton Friendly way.

Here is our free printable Car Bingo game. It is full of 25 items that you may see on your journey.

Who will be the first to get 5 in a line?

And then maybe complete the card?

The images are predominantly Makaton Symbols from the Makaton Charity (, but because they are designed to be simple they are understandable whether you know Makaton or not.






Click here to shop our full range of travel activities and magnetic games.

Good luck on your travels and enjoy the holiday or day trip at the end!


Tabi's signature (the owner of Papilio)


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