Car rides can be fun if you prepare for them properly. When you know that you will be in the car for an extended period of time, have some games ready to play that everyone can enjoy. The best car ride games are the ones that are just as fun for adults as they are for children; they make the ride more interesting, allow time to seem to pass by very quickly, and even allow everyone in the car to learn something. Before your next long car ride, you should learn some of the more popular car ride games and use them to make the trip fun and even entertaining.

20 Questions

In the game of 20 Questions, one person answers questions that the rest of the participants ask. The person who will answer the questions chooses a person, place, or thing and keeps it a secret. The others must guess what the person, place, or thing is by asking a series of questions that can only elicit "yes" or "no" answers. The person answering the questions keeps track of how many questions are asked, and the maximum amount of questions allowed is 20. If the group cannot guess the answer after 20 questions, then the group loses the game and a new person is chosen to answer questions.

The group can try to guess what the person, place, or thing is as often as it wants, but each guess is considered one of the 20 questions. The person answering the questions is not allowed to give any hints at all and can only answer questions by saying the words "yes" or "no." When driving in a car, the group simply picks one person to answer questions and that person gets the game under way.

I Spy

"I Spy" is one of the more popular car ride games because it is easy to play and anyone can play it. To get the game started, one person in the car simply stays; "I spy, with my little eye, something that ..." At this point, there are two popular ways to play the game. One version has the person saying "I spy, with my little eye, something that starts with the letter 'D.'" The rest of the group guesses objects until the correct object is identified.

Another variation of the game has the person saying "I spy, with my little eye" something that is the color brown." The rest of the people in the car then start naming off brown objects until the correct one is found. In either case, the game is great for small children because it can teach them association skills between colors, letters, and objects. The only real rule in the game is that the object cannot be a passing landmark that the car drives by and will not drive by again. Most people confine the objects to anything found within the vehicle.

The Alphabet Game

When you are on a long car ride, the scenery changes often. You can put that scenery to good use in an educational and fun game called the alphabet game. To start off the game, each person playing writes down the letters of the alphabet on a piece of paper. The driver can play, but someone else must keep track of the driver's letters to allow the driver to focus on the road. Each time a person sees a word written out somewhere, they can call out the first letter of that word and cross it off their alphabet list. The first person to get all of the letters in the alphabet wins.

License plates cannot be used because they do not offer real words. Players do not have to go in order when finding letters, but only first letters of words can be used. For example, if your car passes an FBI office, then only the letter "F" can be used. Each person must find their own letters and cannot use letters from someone else's source. So if the driver called off the "F" from the FBI sign, then no one else can use that sign for their letters.

The Animal Game

The Animal Game is a version of 20 questions that deals specifically with animals. One person thinks of an animal and the others try to guess what animal it is by asking questions that elicit only "yes" or "no" answers. You can either put a limit on the number of questions or just allow everyone to ask questions until the animal is guessed.

When playing the Animal Game, keep in mind the passengers in the car. Very young children are going to recognize a limited number of animals. To make the game fun for everyone, use common animals that everyone will recognize.