Fun games to play in the car: the best in-car travel games for kids
Keep your kids entertained on long car journeys with the best in-car travel games for kids
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It’s almost summer holiday time and with most overseas destinations out of bounds it’s likely to be a bumper year for families holidaying around the UK.
Searching out a change of scenery for a break can mean long periods in the car and that can mean bored children.
There are plenty of ways to keep young passengers entertained but it’s always a good idea to have a few travel games to hand as a quick distraction, so we’ve rounded up nine of the best car-friendly travel games to take with you this summer.
Best for: Getting one over on your sibling
This stats-based card game has been around since the 1970s allowing players to compare everything from cars’ top speeds to the cuteness of dogs in a battle to win their opponents’ cards.
It may have started with cars and motorbikes but in recent years has expanded to cover dozens of subjects.
There are still plenty of machine-based sets but also editions comparing Harry Potter characters, dinosaurs, pop stars and dangerous animals, so you’re bound to find something to suit your brood.
Best for: testing their observation
You can, of course, play I Spy the old-fashioned way with nothing more than your eyes but these books offer an alternative packed with new things for kids to spot.
With books specifically themed around road trips, travel and vehicles, they’re an ideal distraction on long boring stretches of motorway and can be returned to again and again.
Best for: strategy
A classic game that blends strategic thinking, skill and a little luck as players try to locate and sink their opponents’ fleet.
Featuring two compact fold-out game boards with storage areas for the red and white pegs, this set brings all the fun of the full-size version in a set small enough to fit in a backpack or car seat pocket.
Best for: classic espionage
From the same stable as Battleships, this travel game incorporates everything we love about the original Guess Who? and shrinks it down to an in-car friendly size.
The portable game trays feature 20 character cards and a deck of mystery cards for players to try to identify. When you’re finished the cards pack up into the game tray for easy storage.
Best for: firing their imagination
These neat illustrated dice are small enough to be packed away anywhere but can unlock an entire world of ideas and adventure for children of any age.
The illustrations provide a starting point for your young ones to create a story incorporating what they see on the dice.
With nine six-sided dice the possibilities for inventive tales are almost endless and there are even themed sets for youngsters obsessed with Batman or Adventure Time.
Best for: Variety
As great as all the other options on our list are, too long playing just one game can get a bit boring. So why settle for one game when you can nab a set of four for less than a tenner.
Magnetic playing pieces mean that older kids can challenge each other to games of chess, draughts, Ludo or snakes and ladders on the move without fear of the pieces being lost forever down the side of a seat.
Best for: Problem solving
This neat book and shape set can be played with as an individual or with the help of a sibling.
Featuring a set of 20 magnetic shapes and a spiral-bound puzzle book, each page presents different patterns, from animals to architecture, which players have to recreate using their shapes.
A test of spatial awareness and pattern recognition, it’s ideal for children of any age and there’s as much fun to be had creating your own patterns as attempting those in the book.
Best for: numeracy
You’ll need somewhere to roll the dice into for this one but apart from that, this compact version of another classic board game makes for a great travelling companion.
The five dice take up virtually no space and the score pad can easily be tucked in a door pocket when not needed.
Roll your dice and work out the optimum score, all the time trying to secure that mythical five-of-a-kind.
You might want to lay down some ground rules though to stop an unexpected cry of Yahtzee! Frightening the driver.