45+ Screen-Free Road Games and Activities

I’ll be the first to say that I love a good screen on a road trip!

We keep our screen time low at home, which means that when it’s time for a long car ride, my kids are THRILLED to pull out the tablets (this is our favorite one) and watch shows or play games for a few hours.

But we like to take screen breaks too – both because too much screen time in a moving car gives several of my kids headaches or motion sickness and because it’s nice to mix things up to make the time go by faster!

Whether you’re looking for a fully screen-free road trip or some screen-free activities to alternate with a screen, here are some favorite road trip games and activities to keep everyone happy on the trip!

(Free road trip reading chart here!) 

road trip games and activities for families

  1. A family audiobook. You knew this one would be first! I have a whole list of favorite family audiobooks here – perfect for adults and kids to enjoy together.
  2. Yoto players. And. . . .no surprise that this one is second. A Yoto player is especially great for road trips because each child can listen on their own with headphones plus easily control the volume and what they’re listening to! (If you’re new to Yoto, I have a whole post about them here!).
  3. Search and Find books. If you want a book that will provide more than a few minutes of entertainment, a search and find book is a hit! Here are some of our favorites.
  4. A sketchbook with fun pens or pencils in a pencil case. This is a huge hit in our family – an inexpensive sketchbook plus a set of colored pencils goes a long way!
  5. Magnetic Paper Dolls. My parents gave this set to my girls years ago and it still gets used all the time – it’s a perfect road trip activity because of the box and the magnets!
  6. 50 states license plate game. This is one of the classic road trip games! One family said, “we keep a notebook, write down all fifty states and tally how many of each you see.”
  7. Pencil box with a lego mat glued to the top. This is so genius because they can play on the go AND store all the LEGO pieces inside the pencil box!
  8. Wikkstix. We gave some of these fun reusable modeling sticks to my younger girls for Christmas and they’ve been a huge hit!
  9. Mini magnet tiles. We love our magnetic tiles at home and mini ones are perfect for on the go!
  10. Rubik’s cube. For some of us (ahem, me!), this would take me a 15 hour road trip to complete! This is the one we have (I love that it doesn’t have stickers that will curl or peel off).
  11. Finger knitting. This is a fantastic road trip activity – if you need a tutorial, try this one!
  12. Water Wow. I LOVE these Water Wow books (even as an adult I find them very fun and relaxing) and they’re a perfect road trip game.
  13. Magna Doodle Board. Some toys stand the test of time and this is for sure one of them!
  14. Notebook with Stickers. Grab a pack of cheap stickers and a notebook and let your child go to town!
  15. Kanoodle. This one person game packs up easily so it’s perfect for playing on the go. (There is also a two person version if you prefer that!).
  16. Shashibo Box. Two of my kids have these and absolutely LOVE them. They’re like a more involved fidget toy and endlessly fun.
  17. 20 Questions Game. This is another road trip classic – take turns thinking of something and then the rest of the car has 20 questions to try to narrow it down. (When I was a kid, my parents bought this little 20 questions toy and it seriously wowed us all so much!).
  18. Paper Fold books. We discovered these paper fold animals last year and they are AWESOME. No paper or scissors required – just folding. My kids are obsessed.
  19. Magnetic puzzles. You definitely don’t want to be losing puzzle pieces on a trip and magnetic puzzles make it much easier to keep track of them all. Here are some fun options!
  20. Painters tape. This is one of those viral mom hacks right now – painters tape is designed not to leave residue or stick too much so it’s perfect for taping on windows and just playing with (my kids LOVE tape!).
  21. Silly Putty. Another classic. I can’t explain why silly putty is so delightful, but it is!
  22. Paint by Sticker Books. We have gone through dozens of these books over the years – there are adult ones that my older girls love (and I love because they take more time!) and easier ones for kids (my youngest especially loved these when she was 3 or 4).
  23. Tape a $1 bill to ceiling and pick something to spot. This was a funny road trip activity an Instagram reader suggested – you pick something hard or funny to spot and the first person to see it gets the $1 bill!
  24. Sing alongs! What could be better than all belting out your favorite songs together as you road trip?
  25. Podcasts. I love a podcast for a short, stand-alone listen. Here are some of our favorite podcasts!
  26. Read Aloud. I don’t do this often because it hurts my throat to talk loudly enough for everyone to hear (I’ll always pick an audiobook that we can all listen to instead!) but Bart’s mom is the queen of reading aloud on a road trip and I love it!
  27. Rubberneckers Game. This was a new one to me, suggested on Instagram, and the reviews say it is fun for the whole family!
  28. Water painting. I love these books that only require water and a paintbrush (way less mess!) and make beautiful colors! 
  29. Alphabet Game. Pretty sure I played this one million times as a kid on road trips! You race the other people in the car to spot every letter in the alphabet in order on signs and license plates out the window!
  30. Water Ring Games. You might remember these from the 90s but they’re just as fun today!
  31. Get talking card games where you read a question and every member of the family has to guess what the answer is.
  32. Rainbow loom bracelets. Another 90s classic coming out to play!
  33. Brain Quest. I remember these trivia decks from my childhood and my kids love them now.
  34. Mad Libs. These are a classic – my in-laws gave my kids some sets of these and they can’t get enough.
  35. Guess the Song. This is a great game for keeping everyone engaged and especially easy if your car has a bluetooth connection so you can play music to the whole car from your Spotify or Amazon Music app.
  36. LCD drawing boards. These are so great for endless games of tic-tac-toe or doodling or whatever else without tons of paper waste.
  37. Small magnetic tin games. Amazon has so many options for these simple travel games, like this magnetic 4 in a row game! 
  38. Fidget toys. There are so many great fidget toys available now – this is a great, affordable mixed set.
  39. Highlights Hidden Picture Books. I LIVED for these activity books when I was growing up – perfect road trip activity!
  40. Small figurines for pretend play. This is especially fun if you have kids seated together in your backseat so they can play together.
  41. Draw with Expo markers on the windows. Handing your child a dry-erase marker and telling them to draw on the window will probably blow their mind. I’ve never tried this but I’m tempted to on our next road trip!
  42. Window Clings. There are a million inexpensive options and they’re so fun!
  43. Road Sign Bingo. You can make your own or buy these reusable sets for under $10!
  44. Super Slide Puzzle. We got one of these for Christmas for our 7 year old and everyone including the adults in our family LOVES it.

Any other favorite screen free road trip ideas? I’d love to hear!

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  1. When my kids were young, we played the 3-letter word game. One person starts with any 3-letter word. The next person would have to say a 3-letter word starting with the last letter of that word. Each person saying a word using the last letter of the person’s word before them. We helped the littles but as they got older the rules got harder (No reusing words) We played until they ran out of words, got bored or needed another distraction. Now I play it with my grandkids. Can play anywhere, anytime. Try it, you won’t be disappointed. (ie, pan-not-ten-new-was…)

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