Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

    Former MSE Lee
    0 WOW
    Great 'Free Car Journey Games' Hunt
    • #1
    • 2nd Aug 10, 10:26 AM
    0 WOW
    Great 'Free Car Journey Games' Hunt 2nd Aug 10 at 10:26 AM
    MSE Update, 24 June 2014: We're revisiting this Great Hunt. What free or low-cost tricks do you have to keep your children amused on a long trip? From playing I-Spy to giving them books to read, we want to tap into MoneySavers' collective knowledge. Read on to see what was said last time, or click 'reply' to add your tip...


    Great 'Free Car Journey Games' Hunt

    It’s summer, you’ve a long journey with your partner or the kids planned – so it's time to play I-Spy, “I went to market” or what else. We thought we’d tap MoneySavers for your car games (included is Martin’s made up scrabble-buzz game).

    Here’s an example:

    Martin’s Scrabble-Buzz game

    As Mrs. MSE and I are major Scrabble fans, I made up this game for when we’re stuck in the car, you may hate it, but we love it.

    Step 1: Picking the ‘tiles’: This is easy, one person starts by saying any letter. Then the other person(s) picks one and you alternate until you’ve got seven

    Step 2: The game. As soon as the seventh letter is said – the aim is to come up with the longest word possible.

    The first person to get a seven letter word wins, yet if you don’t think there is one, you can say “Buzz” and name a word of less than seven letters. After which (provided it’s an acceptable word) the other person then has one minute to come up with any longer word to win. If not the person who buzzed is the winner of that round.

    Note: The person who picks the seventh letter has an advantage if they pick that letter in their head, they think of the word before telling it, so the seventh letter must always be named instantly.”

    Please post your own games by hitting the reply button.

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by Former MSE Darryl; 24-06-2014 at 4:59 PM.
Page 1
  • mumtolandw
    • #2
    • 3rd Aug 10, 9:53 PM
    For Pre-School Age
    • #2
    • 3rd Aug 10, 9:53 PM
    I've never posted on a thread here, but here goes....

    we have two pre-school children (2 and 4) and Martin's game sounds great but it's a bit beyond them atm.

    What we do when the kids start to get a bit fed up is spot cars of a specific colour - it has to be an unusual colour, i.e. pink, or guess what is inside of a lorry depending on the colour of it. For example a green lorry (has to be a big cargo carrying type) could carry apples, but my son might say snot (!!).

    I'm looking forward to seeing what other people post as we've a 5 hour drive to look forward to in a couple of weeks!

    • babyshoes
    • By babyshoes 3rd Aug 10, 11:08 PM
    • 1,709 Posts
    • 3,325 Thanks
    • #3
    • 3rd Aug 10, 11:08 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd Aug 10, 11:08 PM
    Making up words or phrases using the letters in numberplates around you. When you are stuck on the back of a motorbike for hours in the freezing rain, it is about the only distraction available, apart from making up silly songs and singing them out loud....
    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 06-08-2010 at 4:45 PM.
    Trust me - I'm NOT a doctor!
    • Tarry
    • By Tarry 3rd Aug 10, 11:12 PM
    • 10,951 Posts
    • 24,191 Thanks
    • #4
    • 3rd Aug 10, 11:12 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Aug 10, 11:12 PM
    Making up words or phrases using the letters in numberplates around you. When you are stuck on the back of a motorbike for hours in the freezing rain, it is about the only distraction available, apart from making up silly songs and singing them out loud....
    Originally posted by babyshoes
    I've done that I can't drive and I amuse myself at guessing what country each numberplate comes from And guess what the lorry is carrying especially if it's foreign. I sound very sad, but motorways are boring, and I feel carsick if I try to read, and can't sleep on moving vehicles as likewise I feel ill, so it stops me going mad. I'm a very sad person or amused
    The Very Right Honourable Lady Tarry of the Alphabetty thread

    -I just love finding bargains and saving money
    I love to travel as much as I can when I can
    Life has a way to test you, it's how you deal with this that matters
  • jeffbond
    • #5
    • 4th Aug 10, 7:38 AM
    • #5
    • 4th Aug 10, 7:38 AM
    First time poster, long time reader

    Our 3 are 8,10 n 14 on journeys the kids take it in turn making a sentance from the 3 letters on the nearest car eg. PL08 ABC would be anythin like ' A Big Cat' 'Another Brown Cow' etc.
  • maidmarion44
    • #6
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:17 AM
    Fun for bored passengers
    • #6
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:17 AM
    When my children were younger we would go up to Great Yarmouth which was about 5 hrs from here we would do the usual singsong, Eye spy, but their favorite game was snooker this is played the same way but using cars instead of balls each person takes a turn 1st you have to find the 10 reds then you must find the colours but you have to find a red before you find the colour ie red,yellow,red green,red,brown etc if after five mins you cant spot your car then your are given a white which is -4 points and miss a go. the children loved it and it would pass a lot of time. As they got older they would make tournaments .
  • GroovyGretel
    • #7
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:22 AM
    • #7
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:22 AM
    This is a game to fill hours and it's a twist on 20 questions that I made up so that my 5 and 3 year old could play.

    We still play this now that they are 7 and 5!

    "I'm thinking of a (insert something - animal, dinosaur, place, food) in my head, can you guess what the (something) might be?" to a jaunty little tune.

    We don't have a limit on the number of questions but it can be quite tricky, esp when my 5 year old comes up with a particularly obscure dinosaur - pachycephalosaurus anyone?

    We also play Mr Miggins went to the (greengrocers, toy shop, supermarket, to a party etc etc). sometimes we do it alphabetically, sometimes it just has to be really descriptive (ie super fast, extra large sausage making machine).

    I'll be looking to see other good ideas!
  • annie_paw
    • #8
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:37 AM
    • #8
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:37 AM
    With one 10 yr old daughter who seems incapable of travelling quietly, we have had many of these over the years! Here is a selection of current faves:

    Red car game - each person keeps track of number of cars seen of a certain colour. Good for local drives, the more side roads and driveways the better.

    The car game - take it in turns to yell out the make of the next car approaching you (or overtaking on dual carriageways). Gets pretty hectic in busy traffic conditions. Have now officially become a car nerd! Make up your own rules - we now seem to have more than there are makes of car eg Fiat and you're out, Dad always out on Vauxhall, extra points for minis etc

    Food lorries - pretty simple but great for boring motorway journeys. First to shout out name of next approaching supermarket lorry. Often include non-supermarket eg Warburtons bread, Walkers crisps.

    Muddle - bit like I-spy but with more imagination. One person starts with 'I spy with my little eye something beginning with muddle' and silently says alphabet until the other person says stop. He calls out the letter and the others have have a set amount of time to think up most imaginative thing they have seen in that time, and submit that to the 'muddler' who awards points as he/she thinks fit. If you can spin it out to 5 mins a round it's agreat way of giving the driver some much needed peace.

    First to see - also can be fairly quiet so a great favourite with adults. Someone sets the task (eg first to see 3 yellow cars, a boat, a dog) and winner chooses next.

    3 names - drives me crazy but DD loves it (can't see boys enjoying it though!). First person thinks of categories (eg a baby girl kitten, a male dolphin, a boy dalmation ) and everyone has to give them names taken from signs they see as you drive past - bizzare, but works for us in (extremely) small doses.
    • mummypops
    • By mummypops 4th Aug 10, 8:43 AM
    • 76 Posts
    • 253 Thanks
    • #9
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:43 AM
    Have you tried Car Bingo ?
    • #9
    • 4th Aug 10, 8:43 AM
    Car Bingo!!
    This has been the most entertaining game we have ever played and its very simple and suitable for all ages.

    Start your journey by thinking of 5 or 10 things to find, this could be person walking a dog, police car, boat, horse, pub, yellow car.... etc and then spend your journey trying to find them. The first person to identify something on the list then crosses it of their list but everyone else still has to find it. The aim is the first person to cross off everything on the list.

    You can make this simple or as creative as you need to and often items depend on the type of journey you are making. With an 11 and a 6 yr old, we are finding things such as an emergency vehicle without flashing lights....... someone riding a pushbike with a shopping bag.....

    I should say this does get competitive and no matter who says " I don't want to play" they just can't help themselves but to join in.

    I hope this helps, Happy Driving.......
    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 06-08-2010 at 4:46 PM.
  • chilli.
    Travel Bingo

    As in post number 9, we play car bingo but I print out different bingo cards for each family member. These cards have small images which makes it more appealing to younger children.

    It helps if you know the journey, then you can add things like orange elephant, dinosaur and giant wickerman, which are all things we see on our journey from the south west.

    Our children are no longer small (17, 15 & 9) but I'll still print out some cards for our 6 hour journey we have coming up.

    I'm looking forward to hearing some new ideas.

    Happy Holidays everyone
  • Gezzie
    Travel Bingo
    Hi - First time post!

    I have tried travel bingo too - its excellent for my 7 year old lad!
    If you go onto the Cadbury world website, into planning your visit and into fun packs, you can download some ready printed sheets - along wiith other things to colour and do. This is designed to accompany a trip there (Which is great) but would work well on its own

    Happy travelling!
  • elyphant
    Two of our latest favourites are:

    In my suitcase...
    First player says 'In my suitcase I have a something', then each other player comes up with their own item that they have in their suitcase. Then the first player says what they're going to do with what's in their suitcase, and then all the other players have to do that same thing with theirs. An example might make it clearer! So one round my son said 'In my suitcase I have a spaceship' (nb your suitcase is infinite in size!!!), I said 'In my suitcase I have a pencil sharpener'. Then he said 'I'm going to get the NASA scientists to inspect my spaceship'...and I said...'I'm going to get the NASA scientists to inspect my pencil sharpener'!!! Can be very very hilarious.


    one player starts by saying any letter. You go round each player, and everyone must add a letter. The sequence of letters must form the beginning of a word, but you musn't actually say a word. So you could have c then a as that makes the beginning of cat, can etc, but if you are the next person and you say 't', that makes a word so you lose that round. You have 3 lives and when you've lost 3 times you become a ghost and are out. It sounds simple but sometimes you have a very complicated word in your head and end up accidentally finishing off another much simpler word. Hope it makes sense, much easier to play than to explain!

    We also do travel bingo, 20 questions, making words out of number plates, spot the x coloured car, travel snooker as mentioned before. Another one is to look out for Eddie Stobart lorries as they all have a name.
  • justanna
    Rat a tat
    We play a game withour 5 year old in the car called "rat a tat". Probably not the best on Motorways but as we live in Mid wales we spend at least half of any long drive on country roads!

    You need to keep a look out for post boxes, churches and phone boxes. If you see a postbox shout out "rat a tat", "ting-a-ling" for a phone box and "ding-dong" for a church. You get a point for the first person to shout out as long as they shout the right sound, loose a point if you shout out the wrong thing or at the wrong time (eg loose a point for shouting rat-a-tat when you see a red dog poo bin rather than a post box!).

    This is a game passed down from my husbands family and we haven't come across anyone else who plays it. It does pass a bit of time though and out son likes to try and think up new things to look out for and sounds you can make for them.
  • JayW
    Fizz Buzz
    A good counting game to help with arithmetic - the players take turns to say the numbers in order from one upwards, but every time they get to a number that divides by 3 you have to say Fizz and then when you get to a number that divides by 5 you say Buzz. One that divides by both 3 and 5 is Fizz Buzz. It starts 1,2, fizz,4, buzz, fizz, 7, 8, fizz, buzz, 11, fizz, 13, 14, fizz buzz, 16 etc.
    Probably one for older children!!
  • toptart
    Pub Names - Legs!
    This game doesn't work well on motorways for obvious reasons. But it's great fun on all other routes and suits all ages.

    Allocate each child (or two teams) to left or right hand side of the road. Every time you pass a pub the child with that side of the road scores for the number of LEGS in the pub name. eg. The Swan = 2, Fox and Duck = 6, Builder's Arms = 2 (count only one builder), Duke of Wellington = 2. (but if he's on a horse on the sign score 6). Add up scores at end of journey.

    When multiple names like Hen and Chickens, Fox and Hounds, Coach and Horses arise, you declare an outright winner and start again, to avoid arguments.

    Simple and good for arithmetic and observation training!

    PS Obviously The Moon and Sixpence or The Slug and Lettuce score 0 !
    Last edited by toptart; 04-08-2010 at 11:20 AM. Reason: afterthought
    • sams247
    • By sams247 4th Aug 10, 12:05 PM
    • 1,036 Posts
    • 3,290 Thanks
    When our offspring were little I'd get them some catalogues (woolworths, empire stores etc) and then they could pick out some of the things they might see on the journey. I'd cut these out and then they'd spend a happy hour glue-paste them onto card (we used the old method of flour-water paste, sets like concrete and very cheap). This kept them amused whilst we packed etc. Then, on the journey they could look out to see if they could find the things on their cards. It was excellent for when they were not at the age of reading. One DD used to pick wierd and wonderful thngs like a tent, or a toaster, but it's amazing how often we'd (eventually) see some of these things.

    We also did the 'I went to market and bought....' game mentioned above.

    And although it sounds odd, it is the one game the children mention now they are adults - the what would you do game. You make up a scenario. So, what would you do if you were in a shop and you could pick anything at all to have for free. What would you do if you saw a dragon. What would you do if you went on holiday and all of your friends were on an island and their boat had sailed away without them, what would you do if you were King/Queen for one day. We also used to place 'real' situations in as well as fun imaginary ones. What would you do if a really lovely lady came up to you and offered you some sweets? What would you do if you got lost in a big shop? These became lively conversations, and could be directed to be fun even in serious times.
    For those who believe, no proof in necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible
    2 Savers Club #40 - 4
    20p Savers Club #3 - 3.20[B]
    1 a day saving #51 - 15
    Virtual Sealed Pot 2020 #14 .20.69/100
  • tpaien
    driving games
    My wife and I regularly drive from Surrey to Yorkshire, and have perfected a few games which enjoy playing on the drive up. One of our favourites is the alphabet game, where you pick a topic, and then have to take alternate turns through the alphabet naming the appropriate subject (like Cities – Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff etc). Restaurants, High Street Shops, Drinks, Sweets and Chocolates are all good topics, but probably our number one “topic” is “Things Americans Say”. Of course, when it’s your turn, you have to put on your best American accent, and just let rip! A typical game might cover “Yee Ha Grandma!”, “Supersize me”, “Have a nice day”, “Scotchland - where’s that?” and “Corn Dog”. Oh how we laugh.
    Last edited by tpaien; 04-08-2010 at 3:13 PM.
    • esmy
    • By esmy 4th Aug 10, 10:19 PM
    • 1,283 Posts
    • 5,548 Thanks
    Another vote here for pub cricket ie counting the legs in the pub name, though we solved the rows about Coach and Horses etc by counting that as a 6. First to 50 won.
  • mandlou
    We play a game called The Ministers Cat, this is one from my childhood from when we used to make the 9 hour car journey to visit family in the north of scotland twice a year and works equally well with my children now that we make a regular 3-5 hour journey (traffic and baby feeds depending lol).

    Each person take turns to 'describe' the ministers cat in alphabetical order i.e Person 1 might say 'The ministers cat is an artistic cat' and person 2 might say 'The ministers cat is a blue cat' (they don't have to be likely scenarios lol) My children use some highly amusing adjectives for this one and we find that with a 7 year age gap between our two girls it is perfect as my 11 yr old can show of her vastly superior vocabulary and teach her little sister a thing or two, and my 4 year old can hold her own in the game too as long as you tell her tell her what her starting letter 'sound' (phonetics) is.

    Just don't ask me why it is the 'ministers cat' specifically. Lol
    • iankerry
    • By iankerry 4th Aug 10, 11:03 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    one child has pencil and paper. person 2 has an image in their mind (say a football pitch viewed from the air - or a side on view of a fish tank). person 2 then gets child to draw the picture by describing what thye have to draw. thye mustnt look at the picture as it evolves.

    so, i might say (for birds eye view of footy pitch) draw a big rectangle. then draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. then on the left side of the left box, draw a square and the same of the right. draw 11 small circles on the left and then 11 on the right. get the idea? it is creative - imagining interesting pictures - good for clear communication - and a laugh when either the drawer guesses or when you see the picture of how badly to expressed your vision!
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,969Posts Today

8,566Users online

Martin's Twitter