If you’re planning a family road trip for 2018, you already know the essentials to have on hand—plenty of snacks, likely a screen of some kind and games galore. When it comes to road trip games, we’ve gone beyond “I Spy” and the iPad to bring you the latest and greatest car games for kids that are unplugged and uniquely fun. Scroll down to see them all.
Mental Blox – On The Go
There's no spring break or summer slide when these brand new brainteasers are entertaining and educating little passengers. Each 20-piece set includes a book with 10 different kinds of games or puzzles. Complexity grows with the kids as they hone problem solving and acquire math skills. With one or two-player options and a durable carrying case that makes clean up fast and easy, this is the perfect game to keep in the backseat.
Ages 5 & up.
Available at learningresources.com, $14.99.
Handheld Oregon Trail Game
The nostalgia game craze is in full swing, and now The Oregon Trail, our favorite computer game of yesteryear, is back! This time as a handheld device, but rest assured—the sounds and graphics are the very same ones you knew and loved. A whole new generation of backseat pioneers will love trading for supplies, fixing broken wagon wheels, and forging rivers! Read more about Target’s exclusive release here.
Ages 6 & up.
Available at target.com, $24.99.
Easter may be over, but three jumping rabbits are still on the loose! Sliding foxes and mushroom hurdles are also on hand, so the object of Smart Games’ new Compacts game is to make sure the rabbits hop into those brown holes safely. It’s an impressive cast of characters for this single-player game, but don’t let the cuteness fool you—this crew means business. The levels steadily advance, and by the end of the car ride, your gamers may well be “wizards.”
Ages "7 to adult."
Available at amazon.com, $14.99.
My First Crayola Touch Lights
Toddlers and pens don’t necessarily go hand in hand. How about a mess-free option? This new gel-surface tablet offers just that, along with all the freedom and creativity of finger painting, as well as six songs and 12 colors to keep imaginations brewing and doodling.
Ages 2 & up.
Available at shop.crayola.com, $24.99.
While this play board may look like a laptop, it promises screen-free fun, thanks to 200 different puzzles in one! Twenty-eight two-color magnetic puzzle pieces offer up hours of spatial reasoning, problem solving, focus, and portable entertainment.
Ages 8 & up.
Available at educationalinsights.com, $21.99.
Magnetic Game Box The Seasons
No matter what time of year you hit the road, the kids can depict what they see out the window with this new game from HABA USA. Whether that’s picking spring flowers, swimming in summer, flying a kite in autumn, or building a winter snowman, kids can puzzle together seasonal scenes with 90 magnetic tiles at their fingertips.
Ages 3 & up.
Available at HABAUSA.com, $19.99.
Solo passengers fear not! Should you choose to accept Smart Games’ new Pockets single-player game challenge, all you have to do is arrange 10 different puzzle pieces so that the nine central squares match the challenge image. Once you figure that out, another 119 challenges will more than get you to your destination (Upon which parents will probably want to play this one.).
Ages “6 to adult.”
Available at amazon.com, $9.99.
Talk about flash cards that do it all—inviting drawing, basic number practice, and fun shapes, all with the magic of a water-filled, non-toxic pen. And by the time you’ve journeyed another few miles down the road, the painting will have disappeared and the fun can start all over again.
Ages 10 months to 3 years.
Available at amazon.com, $8.88.
Flip-to-Win Hangman Travel Game
Melissa & Doug’s updated version of the classic time-passing game comes with an erasable whiteboard for reusable play. The fact that the pieces can’t fall off, no matter how bumpy the ride, makes this ideal for any road trip. The kids may not even realize they’re working in great spelling practice, too.
Ages 6 & up.
Available at melissanddoug.com, $12.99.
Magnetic Car Race
Who said the kids can’t drive? This magnetic travel car race game from the Purple Cow sports a portable racetrack that unfolds into a flat surface for up to four drivers to head off to the races.
Ages 3 & up.
Available at amazon.com, $8.66.
For mind-bending fun, look no further than Otrio. A brainiac tic-tac-toe-like game the whole family is likely to love on or off the road, its small, solid wood board and grooved pieces also make it car friendly. All that’s left to do is align three pieces in one of three ways. So simple… right?
Ages 6 & up.
Available at target.com, $34.99.
Camping Adventure Carry Case
If you’re heading into the woods and the kids keep asking, “Are we there yet?” they can go ahead and pitch a tent with Playmobil’s new camping-themed set. They can also get a leg up on canoeing, catching a fish dinner and setting up a campfire for the night. They will be camping pros by the time you arrive!
Ages 5 & up.
Available at playmobil.us, $14.99.
Even solo backseat travelers will crack themselves up puzzling together zebra-pigs and elephant-sheep, thanks to Janod’s brand new jungle-themed Magneti’book. Design cards serve as inspiration (and regular ol’ tigers are of course fine, too). We love how its cute book cover opens for easy use and display.
Ages 3 & up.
Learn more at janod.com, $14.99.
6-in-1 Travel Magnetic Games
The main goal when we travel is usually to pack light. Well, Pressman managed to fit six classics—Checkers, Chess, Backgammon, Parcheesi, Chinese Checkers, and Snakes and Ladders—into one hand-held package. Not to mention a fun art refresh for 2018. Just turn the knob to cue up your next game. Perfect for 2-4 players.
Ages 7 & up.
Available at amazon.com, $9.20.
50 Road Trip Games
Why play one game when you can have a go at 50? Each card explains the rules of the game and any extra materials that may be needed, so do a little advance reading before hitting the road. Categories of play include “pop culture,” “brain games,” “classics,” and “just for fun.”
Ages 4 & up.
Available at amazon.com, $10.95.
What favorite games will you pack for your next road trip? Share in the comments.
— Jennifer Massoni Pardini
Editor’s Note: All items were available at list price upon publication.
All images courtesy retailers.