6 Fun Word-Based Car Games for Road Trips or around Town with No Supplies Needed

6 Fun Word-Based Car Games for Road Trips or around Town with No Supplies Needed

Whether you’re looking for car games with no supplies needed while driving around town or easy road-trip games to help reduce screen time on road trips, these six fun word games for car trips can make any drive better!

1. A License to Spell

In this car game, choose a license plate from a car passing by. See who can be the first person to spell a word with the letters in the order they appear on the license plate, adding in other letters to help form the word as needed. For example, if the letters on a license plate in order were “PGE,” possible words could include “page,” “purge,” and “package.” If nobody can think of a word that fits, make one up using the letters in order; the person who can come up with the word that seems most like a real word from those letters wins!

For this game, you may want to have a dry-erase board where you can write down the words or letters involved, though it’s not necessary.

2. The Spelling Game

In this spelling game for car trips, one person starts with a letter. Then other players take turns in order adding another letter to the first one to start forming a word of at least four letters. You don’t want to be the one to actually finish spelling the word, though, or else you’re out of the game and the person after you starts the next round. Then the cycle begins again with one person eliminated each time a word is spelled until you have just one person left as the winner. My family always plays that you can’t spell proper nouns, but you can adapt the rules however you’d like.

If you suspect that the person before you added a letter but doesn’t actually have a word in mind, you can challenge them; if they did have a real word they were forming, then you’re out for challenging them, but if they didn’t have a real word in mind, then they’re out and you start the next round. One of the trickiest parts of this game is when there’s a word within a word that you’re spelling that will get you out of the game without realizing it. For instance, if you add a “P” to “C-A-M” because you wanted to spell “C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E,” then you’d be out early because “C-A-M-P” forms a word, too.

Credit for this game did not originate with us (but I don’t know who invented it); my family heard about it when I was a child, and we’ve been playing it for several decades since then—now passing it down to the next generation!

3. Wacky Words

In this no-prep road-trip game, take turns coming up with a completely nonsense word. For example, “hydif,” “merr,” “bwapda,” or “rolstant.” Then, challenge everyone to use it in a sentence to make it sound as natural as possible. Pick a winner who had the most natural use, the funniest use, etc. Or simply take turns coming up with words; the structure won’t matter too much because they’ll get distracted simply inventing words and giggling at how silly they are, especially for younger children.

For this game, you may want to have a dry-erase board where you can write down the words or letters involved, though it’s not necessary.

4. Word Mash-ups

For this easy car game, you’ll also be inventing new words. But in this version you’re given a definition and then you create a word for it by combining others words. For instance:

• “When you’re tired in a good way from a fun day” could feel “eoboy” (“yeah, boy!”) or “goored” (“good tired”).

• “Dropping vowels out of words to shorten them for text messages” could be a “vowelation” (“vowel” + “violation”) of the English language. ;) (That’s my dad’s word, and I do think it should become a real word in the dictionary!)

• “An exclamation when you’re excited a friend won a game but you don’t want to make the other players feel bad” could be celebrated with “gwon” (“good win”) or “gabro” (“good job, Bro!”).

• “Wanting a treat because it looks good and not because you’re actually hungry” could be “totgry” (“trying out treats” + “hungry”) or “swull” (“sweets even though I’m full”).


This road-trip game can be a great option when you want a little more quiet time in the car, because it usually makes everyone pause for a moment while they think up word options. It’s usually easier for ages 10+.

5. The Song Game

This car game is popular in many places (it didn’t originate with us but has been around for years), but it’s important to include on the list for great word-based road-trip games. Simply think of a word and then take turns coming up with a song that uses the word in the lyrics. If you can’t think of a song, then you’re out until that round is over. For extra fun, try providing genres that the word needs to be used in, such as Disney songs or holiday songs.

6. Word-Association Memories

Like the song game, this easy car game starts with a single word and then everyone else shares a family memory related to that word. It could be something broad like “vacations” or specific like “ice cream.” This road-trip game is more about remembering fun moments than it is about competition. You may even want to record the audio to capture the great memories that come up for your family stories. (Did you know you can easily upload audio memories to preserve them for your family using the FamilyTree app from FamilySearch for Apple or Google Play?)


Do you have other favorite car games? Share them in the comments below to help others!


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