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Are We There Yet? Five Games to Entertain Your Kids During Car Rides

by Jared Stenzel on 13/04/08 at 5:07 am

A list of five games meant to entertain younger kids on those long car rides.

“Are we there yet?” A very common question asked by younger kids on long car rides. If you are looking for some fun ways to entertain yourself or your kids, this list will contain possibly one fun game you’ll actually want to play.

  1. License Plate Game:

    This is best geared towards very long out of state trips. What you do is you take a sheet of paper and write every state in the United States on it. As you are driving you cross out the different states as you see their license plates. This will quite possibly take you all of your vacation and return trip to spot every state. As it gets closer to the end of the vacation you can add a little extra incentive for spotting these by putting a dollar amount on each remaining state.

  2. Alphabet Game:

    This game won’t work too well when you are driving on the freeway, but it works excellent when you are driving through cities. You play against at least one other person. You start at “A” and try to find every letter in the alphabet between “A” and “Z”. They have to be in order. There are a few tricky letters that are best spotted on license plates.

  3. Compound Words:

    This game is probably not something anybody over 10 would play, but when I was younger, it was rather entertaining. You simply go back and forth amongst everybody who is playing and start listing off compound words. If you repeat a previously used word, you’re out. If you cannot think of a new word within a certain time frame that you can decide, you’re out. After a while it gets a bit tricky remembering all the previously used words, as well as thinking of new words. All pronouns are prohibited.

  4. Bingo:

    This isn’t your traditional bingo game. This requires either a pre-designed board, or purchasing a few boards. The boards have different stop signs, stores, landmarks, and many other things you would expect to see while driving through a town or on the highway. You can play either black out or plain bingos. To make it more fun, make sure the boards you pick actually have items that you can expect to see. A few boards I’ve used before have a light house. That’s basically a dead square unless you’re near the coast.

  5. Alphabet Memory Game:

    You may have played different versions of this; however some people may not have. What you do is before each turn you state, “I’m going on vacation, and I’m taking…” Each turn you get the next letter in line. So you may start of saying apples, and then your partner says baseballs, and the last person says cake. Every turn you would say, “I’m going on vacation, and I’m bring apples, baseballs, cake…” You lose once you forget one of the letters. When you get to “Z” and you still haven’t determined a winner, try going through again going “A” through “Z”, and then start over starting each turn with the next letter of the second alphabet.

These games are not really meant for the teenage crowd as I realize that you would much prefer listening to your Ipod or playing a PSP. This was meant to provide some free, unique game ideas that anybody could provide to entertain each other with on those long, painstaking drives across America. Any other games you have played that you suggest that would fit it with this, leave a comment describing it.

Liked it

Darlene McFarlane

Apr 13th, 2008

I enjoyed reading this article, Jared. My sister and I played games like this on many long car rides when we were kids. Even though we never asked them, we knew our parents would soon join in. When I look back it was a small joy we all shared. Thanks for the memory and for the tips for new games to pass on to my grandkids.

Nice to see an article from you and hope school is going well.


Judy Sheldon

Apr 13th, 2008

Jared, thanks for the trip down memory lane. We also played “I Spy”. I’m not sure of the exact rules, but it kept my sister and I occupied, then my kids, and the other day I heard my granddaughters playing it. One individual sees something and gives a vague clue, because you don’t want anyone to guess what you say. The guesser can ask a question and try to guess. If they guess right they pick the next word. Mom was very good at this one.

Anne B

Apr 13th, 2008

we always played “geography”, where a person says a place, and the next person has to say a place beginning with the last letter of the place said. for example, if player one says “arkansas” player two would have to say a place starting with “s”, like “south dakota” and player three would have to say something beginning with “A”, and so on and so forth. good game, but always too many “a”s and “e”s and not enough places in your head to say.

Anne Lyken-Garner

Apr 14th, 2008

Great games Jared, I play a few of these with my children.

Alexa Gates

Apr 18th, 2008

The liscense game is fun :) (


May 12th, 2008

Fun and great games for children,thanks Jared.


Jun 16th, 2008

Nice article. I really like to play a game where you choose a category (such as foods + drinks, places, bands, etc.) and then you say something from the category and start the next word with the last letter. For example, if I said “melon” then the next one would have to start with ‘n’, so I might say, “nutmeg” or “noodle”. After a while, it does get a little dull but it’s pretty fun for a while. Also, if you’re doing places, you’ll probably end up with lots ending/beginning in ‘A’.


Jun 16th, 2008

Oh sorry Anne B I didn’t read your comment… well mine’s the same as yours but you can play it with different categories. =)


Aug 20th, 2008

I love these ideas. My family and I love playing another alphabet-like game (we don’t have a name for it yet), where we go through each letter of the alphabet, and each person has to name something that begins with the letter we’re on. Whatever is named must match a category that we agreed on before the game started, like animals or countries. It’s pretty simple, and it gets hectic and hilarious when we just start blurting out random things that don’t really go with the category, but for us, it’s a lot of fun. Try it out. :)


Aug 21st, 2008

My computer keeps me entertained instead, lol!


Nov 26th, 2010

I can see why your articles get many hits…very good job.

Heather Davis

Jul 27th, 2011

I have 3 small children and this is Brilliant! thx for posting!

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