5 Social Studies Car Games

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Social studies car games

5 Social Studies Car Games

We took a recent road trip hitting both free local ferry services. It was a fabulous trip, and offered opportunity to try out a few new car games. These were all social studies based, giving us the perfect opportunity to practice new skills we’ve been learning.

5 Social Studies Car Games

Social studies is a large umbrella subject, covering:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Civics
  • Economics
  • Community

With all of those subcategories, there’s plenty to work with to create some games! Here’s what we came up with:

1. Where’s It Come From?

This quick playing game gave us a chance to practice naming where different resources come from. It’s simple to play. One person is the host, taking turns asking questions.

Here are some of the questions:

  • Where does hamburger come from? (a cow)
  • Where does gold come from? (mined from the ground)
  • Where do we get wool to make clothes? (From shearing sheep)
  • Where does bacon come from? (Pigs)
  • Where do wooden planks come from? (Trees)
  • Where do blueberries come from? (They grow on bushes.)

You can ask pretty much anything and help your children learn more about the resources we use everyday.

For every question a player got correct, they earned a point. Everyone who earned 5 points earned a piece of candy after the game.

2. Name the States

I challenged my oldest to name all the 50 states. The younger kids helped where they could, but since they haven’t covered US geography in-depth yet, they didn’t play this one for points.

We’ve listened to a great CD set from Wee Sing full of American songs. One of them names all the states in alphabetical order. My oldest tried singing this to name the states, but ended up missing a few.

It was fun to have my husband jump in and try to help her name the five she was missing. Eventually we named them all!

3. Who’s Who?

This game took what we’ve learned about our family and community. I have several pictures on my cell phone that showed family members and places we go to often.

On a player’s turn, they looked at the picture naming the subject. If it showed a person, they named who was in the picture and how that person was related to them. If it was a place, they said where it was, and why we go there.

For instance, a picture of the doctor’s office would have the player say: That’s the doctor, we go there if we’re sick.

A picture of an aunt would have them say: That’s Aunt ____. She’s your sister Mom.

It’s a great way to review important people and places. Just be sure to fill up your camera roll with relevant clips before you head out on the road.

4. The License Plate Game

This one’s a classic! As we passed cars, we peered out the windows to see what state the license plate was from. The little guys called for help if they saw a plate they couldn’t read that wasn’t Washington.

We wrote down the states that we found. We also saw a province of Canada, so we were able to talk about where that was.

This one would have been better if I’d printed off a US map for everyone before we left. Then they could have colored the states as we found them. The visual clue would have helped the younger kids feel more included!

5. Animal Habitats & Continents

My kids love animals, so this was a fun game. On each player’s turn, they’d name an animal. The rest of us would work as a team to describe the habitat that the animal lived in. Then a continent where that animal could live got named. Here’s how a couple of rounds looked:

Polar Bear

They live in the cold and eat fish so they need to be by water.

Polar bears could live in Antarctica.


They live in the tall grass. Lions hunt other animals.

This animal could live in Africa.

This game/conversation went on for several miles and let everyone take part in an age-appropriate way.

After the interest slowed down, everyone drew a picture of an animal in a habitat, which extended the game nicely.

Need Other Ideas for Car Games?

We love playing games every time we hit the road. Here are other collections for you to use:

Math Car Games

English/Language Arts Car Games

Musical Car Games

What are your favorite games for the car? I’d love for you to share them in the comments!

Photo credit: Hon Kim via Unsplash


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