Travel games for children

Driving with children on long trips is a test for your patience and your concentration. The best way to avoid you being distracted by children in the back seat is to keep children occupied while driving.

Travel games while in the car are a great way to keep kids occupied and entertained while on a road trip and they are fun for children and adults alike. They can also be a great way for children to learn about the environment around them and to ward off car sickness. Here are a few games to try:

Animal poker

This is a simple game. Each animal is allocated points (see table below). Children look for animals on their side of the road. The first player to reach 100 wins, but if you pass a cemetery all the points are "buried" and you go back to zero. Pictures of animals don't count.

Animal Points Animal Points
Single sheep 5 Dog 10
Flock of sheep 10 Rabbit 15
Single cow 5 Cat 15
Herd of cattle 10 Cat in a window 20
Horse 5 Kangaroo 20
White horse 20 Emu 20

King of the road 

Similar to Animal Poker, this game can be played in cities and towns as well as on country car rides. Search for the vehicles and add up the points. The first to 100 wins.

Vehicle Points Vehicle Points







Ambulance - lights on








Police car




Police car – lights on


Tow truck



Everyone loses all points if you are pulled over by a police car.

Number plate scrabble

  • When you pass a car, make a word using the letters on the car's number plate.
  • You can put letters before, between and after the letters, but you can't change the order of the letters. For example, SFT could become "safety" but not "fast".

Location, Location

  • The first player spots a place name and says it aloud.
  • The second player has to search for a place name beginning with the last letter of the first one.
  • For example, the first player may see Victoria on a number plate. The second person may see a road sign with Ararat written on it, and calls it out. The third player has to find a place name starting with T and so on.

Ghost words

  • A great game for older kids, and for times when it's dark outside.
  • The game begins with a player saying the first letter of a word they have in their mind. They do not say the whole word.
  • The second player then adds a letter, with a mystery word in their mind that begins with those two letters. Each player adds a letter in turn, all with an unspoken word in their head beginning with those letters.
  • Players are allowed to bluff, but be warned! If you don't have a word in mind, and another player challenges you, you'll drop out of the round. Challenges must be made before a new letter is added.
  • You'll also be excluded from the round if:
    • You complete a word with the letter that you add
    • You can't add another letter
  • The winner is the last person left after all the other players have dropped out.

Car bingo

  • Download our Car Bingo activity sheet. The activity sheet has pictures of different things children can see as they travel.
  • When they spot one of the images on the sheet cross off that item (for example, a cow).
  • The first player to get a complete row of five, whether diagonally, horizontally or vertically is the winner.

Alphabet lotto

  • Download the Alphabet Lotto activity sheet. This sheet lists the alphabet, with spaces for children to write next to each letter.
  • As you drive children look for things that start with each letter. Start at A and work your way through to Z. The letter X can appear anywhere in a word. The first one to finish wins.

Other tips for keeping children occupied

  • Listen to a children's audio book – an audio CD can tame even the most active children as they follow a story.
  • Note paper, pencils, story books.
  • Music and songs.