10 Car Games to Play with a Whiteboard

Oct 6, 2016

My son loves to draw, write, and doodle. All the time. So, to save some trees, we usually substitute paper and notebooks for a Magna-Doodle, chalkboards and, recently, a whiteboard. This summer we traveled to Alberta and took two whiteboards, one for each of my sons, and some dry erase markers with us on our trip. They were perfect for the kids to use while riding in the car for hours because it fit perfectly across their laps. Plus, minimal supplies are required.

So if you are planning on travelling during the holidays or are going on vacation, then you will definitely want to pick up a whiteboard or two for the kids. Here are some of the ways that we use whiteboards while travelling with the kids.

1. Tally Mark Counting

Encourage your kids to keep track of things they see while travelling in the car, such as road signs, traffic lights, colors of cars, etc. You can write a list of things for them to find on the whiteboard and they can keep a tally of the items that they spot.

2. Tick-Tack-Toe

Obviously, whiteboards are perfect for some games of tick-tack-toe. Your kids can pass the whiteboard back and forth to each other in the backseat or they can pass it back and forth with someone in the passenger seat.

a photo of a child drawing on x's and o's on a white board

3. Barrier Games

If you aren't familiar with barrier games, they are a great language and speech game for kids. My oldest son has expressive speech delays, so we enjoy playing barrier games and we made no exception while travelling in the car this summer.

Barrier games are designed to be played by two or more players with a barrier of some kind between each other. I played this game while in the passenger seat, while my oldest son sat behind me in the backseat. The barrier for us was my seat. In barrier games, the players take turn describing something to place somewhere on the game board, while the other player(s) draw or place those items accordingly. At the end of the game, both players should have the same picture.

So to play this in the car, my son would tell me to draw something, such as a large circle in the bottom left corner, and we would both draw a large circle in the bottom left corner of the whiteboard. Then I would tell him to draw something and then we would both add it to the picture with the large circle. We would keep repeating until our whiteboards were fairly full. Then we would compare our drawings to see if they matched or not! They should match if all players give good descriptions.

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4. Hangman

Just like tick-tack-toe is a given, so is hangman. Guess letters until you can guess the top secret word or phrase that your child has picked.

a photo of a child drawing on a whiteboard playing hangman

5. Doodle Drawing Game

I remember playing a game like this one with my dad when I was little, although we would use scrap paper and pencils. For this version, one person draws a squiggle, shape or doodle on the whiteboard. Then the whiteboard is handed to another person who would then turn that doodle into something different. You never know what the finished doodle will be!

Here's an example of a blob shape that I made, with a smiley face saying "hi" added to it by my youngest son.

a picture of a doodle that a child did on a whiteboard

6. Trace Hands

Encourage your kids to trace their hands on the whiteboards. Depending on how smooth or bumpy (ahem... Saskatchewan roads) the roads are, this activity could be quite difficult since tracing the fingers is a great fine motor workout for little ones.

You can expand on the hand tracing by:

  • Labelling the hands and the individual fingers.
  • Numbering the fingers to practice counting.
  • Turning the fingers into little people by adding facial features, hair, arms, etc.
  • Tracing hands repeatedly using different coloured dry-erase markers and by tracing your hands on different angles around the whiteboard.

a photo of a child's hand that is being traced on a whiteboard

7. Object Tracing & DIY Puzzle

Grab random objects from within your car (if travelling) or around your home and encourage your kids to trace the different objects on the whiteboard. Once all the items have been traced, turn it into a puzzle game and ask your child to put the objects in their spots on the whiteboard like you would a puzzle. (See a paper version of this puzzle activity here!) 

8. Music Theory Game

If your kids are taking music lessons, then why not sneak in some simple music theory with the whiteboards? Draw a clef and have your child compose their own songs, label notes on the lines and spaces, etc.

a photo of a music notes that have been hand drawn on a whiteboard

9. Comic Strip Frame Drawings

This activity is one that we did using Pokemon figurines because, well, my kids are obsessed with all things Pokemon. What we would do is pick a character, place it on the whiteboard, and then draw a scene around the character. Sometimes we added speech balloons to make it look like their favorite characters are talking and other times we just drew a random scene for them, such as a birthday party, swimming in a pool, dancing at a disco club, etc. It's a really fun way to get the kids' creativity going!

So use what you can find while travelling. Maybe it's that toy car you have stuffed in your purse or your child's favorite small stuffed animal that gets dragged everywhere. Or maybe you got a toy for your kids at a fast food restaurant. Those toys work perfect for this game!

10. Draw Roads for Cars

If you have a kid who loves little cars, then this activity is perfect for them. Get them to draw roads and intersections on the whiteboard, wide enough for a toy car to fit. Then they can drive the cars around their homemade roads. They could add details such as buildings and trees to create a miniature little town for their car.

Or if you have a train lover, then try drawing train tracks for their favorite toy trains, as an alternative.

What other fun games and activities can you think of using whiteboards and dry erase markers?

Article Author Dyan Robson
Dyan Robson

Read more from Dyan here.

Married to her high school sweetheart, Dyan is mom to two boys, J and K, who also teaches piano out of her home. On her blog And Next Comes L, Dyan shares her story of raising a child with hyperlexia, hypernumeracy and autism, amongst a variety of sensory activities for kids. You can find out more about their story on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.


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