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Group Games to Play on a Charter Bus: 15 Fun Activities for Long Bus Rides


You’ve got a bus full of unruly impatient children and a long ride to get to your field trip destination. This is the sort of scenario that keeps teachers and counselors up at night! Rather than expecting them to sit in silence and stare out the window or simply putting out a movie to have them tune out, there’s more you can do to make the bus ride part of the experience itself.

One of the best things you can do to keep your children engaged and having fun throughout your trip is to play games, activities, or even icebreakers to get your kids having fun! Not only kids will enjoy these games, however. Bus trip game ideas are also a great way for adults to pass the time and stay entertained throughout the ride.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best ideas for what to do to pass the time on a long bus ride with your class, including responsive games, card games, and even music games.

In addition to the comfort, safety, and reliability they provide, our Chicago Motor Coach buses are perfect for playing these types of long bus ride games. If you’re an educator, camp counselor, or tour leader, use our PA system to explain the game and make sure all of your kids can hear the instructions. Or, if you need a visual aid, use our onboard screens and DVD players to introduce the activity. You’ll have space and comfort to play the best coach trip games listed below.

#1: 20 Questions

20 Questions is a classic game that has always been a favorite game to play on a bus – and it just never gets old.

The way to play this game is to think of an object or person in your head. Be careful not to reveal what you thought of in your head. Meanwhile, your opponents ask you a series of questions, 20 to be exact, answerable by yes or no to try and figure out the object or person in your head. The person asking is also entitled to one guess after they ask the question. The first person to get it right wins the game.

#2: Treasure Hunt

Don’t worry, there’s no actual treasure to find during this group game for bus tours – but it does involve a lot of searching.

While playing Treasure Hunt, players decide what to look for as the designated treasure and actively search it out – the first one to find the designated treasure wins. For instance, you can look for a red barn, a blue corvette, or a bald guy. Or you can start easy and look for a bird or a cat.

To make the search more exciting, you should put together a list of treasures that you want you and your friends to look for and print them all out for everyone to see. Each person then crosses out an item as they see one. The first person to cross out everything on their list wins.

#3: Trivia

No matter where you are, no one in their right mind would want to say no to trivia games. And there’s one bus game for kids where your entire group would want to play: Trivial Pursuit.

Trivial Pursuit is a trivia game that you can play one-on-one or with your entire group during your trip. It involves a person’s ability to answer general knowledge and pop culture questions so no one has a true advantage.

If your charter bus is technology-friendly, then you’re in for a treat. Use your smartphones or on-board electronics to play the game.

To play this fun bus trip game, challenge someone you know, or break into large groups and go head-to-head. Make it more challenging by offering up prizes like snacks or drinks.

#4: Name That Tune

Name That Tune is a slight variation on Trivial Pursuit where, instead of answering trivia questions, you guess the title of the song or tune. All you need is your smartphone and a pre-made playlist on Spotify or any other media player. You can also make use of the onboard karaoke machine on the bus.

Not only is it a good way to pass the time on your road trip, but it can also be a great way to learn about other people’s tastes in music.

#5: Two Truths and a Lie

One of the best bus games for kids to play on a school field trip is Two Truths and a Lie.

As you can already tell from the name, each person shares three facts about himself but with a twist: two must be true while the other must be a lie. It is then up to the others to determine which is which.

You can make the game more interesting by picking a theme, like firsts, work stories, or public humiliations. Each time you fool everyone, you score a point.

#6: Chain Game

The Chain Game has always been a favorite school bus game for kids. One person chooses a topic like movies, songs, celebrities, teams in sports, or musicians.

As one person gives out a name, the next person then names something that begins with the last letter of the first name. For instance, if you choose TV shows and the first person says Happy Days, the next person can then say a TV beginning with the letter S, like maybe Seinfeld. The next person then gives a show that starts with D.

A player is eliminated when one person fails to give an answer. The last one standing wins.

Chain Game

#7: I Spy

I Spy is a classic game that has always been played by kids in the back seat as their parents drive on their family trip. It’s also one of the best games to play on a bus field trip.

The game involves participating members looking out the coach’s windows and yelling out “I spy with my little eye…” and then proceed to give an ambiguous description of the thing. The thrill of the game comes from the fact that the bus may, at any time, pass the object and miss it.

Watch in amusement as your group scrambles to find what you saw and point it out. Keep the game exciting by just keeping score.

#8: Mini-Board Games

Board games aren’t just for playing at home. In fact, there are a handful of group games to play on a bus on your school field trip. Games like Guess Who?, The Settlers of Catan, Bananagrams, and Thirty Seconds are some of the most fun games you can play during your trip without the hassle of setting up. Modern coaches will even have small tables or trays available so you have a place where you can set up and play your board game.

#9: The Cemetery Game

While this bus game to play doesn’t involve dead people, it sure is a killer. Before your trip, assign each side as their own team. You then assign what you want to look for, such as the number of dogs, cats, cows, horses, or pigs that you pass by during the trip. Each one you find equals one point.

The fun begins when the bus passes by a cemetery. If one group finds a cemetery on their side, they lose all their points and go back to zero – the first team to 100 wins.

#10: Cards

When all else fails, there’s nothing like a pack of cards to keep you company during your trip. Whatever game it is, whether it’s hearts, spades, or rummy, it’s nice to know you and your seat partner can have something to play on your charter bus trip.

#11: Say Your ABCs

Go back to the basics for this bus trip game idea that will pass the time while you’re on board. Practicing the ABCs is especially ideal for younger children who are just getting familiar with the alphabet and could use a little more practice.

To make this game a bit more challenging for kids on the bus, adults can start by singing the ABCs only to stop at a random letter. Allow the kids to pick up where you left off, challenging them to know what’s next.

Say Your ABCs

#12: Would You Rather

This is a perfect ice breaker game for bus trips if you are riding with people or kids you don’t know well. Would you rather is a simple game and it doesn’t require any equipment. Adults can take turns asking questions comparing outlandish scenarios, and the other participants will choose which they would prefer.

For example, one question may be “would you rather eat pasta for every meal or never eat pasta again?” Another example may be “would you rather spend a summer day at the water park or going to the zoo?”

Adults can participate in this game, too! Feel free to get as creative as you’d like! The more difficult it is to decide between the two options, the more fun this charter bus game is for everyone involved.

#13: Magnetic Bingo

Take a magnetic version of this classic game on your charter to help pass the time! You can purchase magnetic bingo sheets from any major online retailer for a game that both children and adults will enjoy. The magnetic boards will help prevent chips from flying all over the bus while it’s in motion.

Nominate one adult as the caller and the rest of the participants will take a bingo sheet that’s filled with random numbers. As the caller pulls random numbers from the pile, participants will scan their sheets to see if the number is there.

If the number is there, the participant will mark the number with a magnetic chip. The first participant to get five numbers in a row is the winner.

#14: License Plate

This is a classic bus game to play with both kids and adults. Take your mind off how much longer the drive is and put your skills to the test. The license plate game is simple: whoever can spot as many different state license plates as possible is the winner.

You’d be surprised to learn just how many different state license plates you’ll see while on the road! If needed, you can use a piece of scrap paper and a pen to keep score. One new state license plate is equivalent to one point.

#15: I’ve Got a Secret

Another fun game to play on the bus is a recreation of a tv show from the 1950s. Choose one person who will be the secret holder. Ideally, the secret will be tough to guess. Once the secret holder is ready, other participants will have 30 seconds to ask questions about the secret.

If participants cannot guess the secret in time, the secret holder wins. To make the game a bit easier, you can always add additional time to the clock to give guessers more time to unveil the secret.

Chicago Motor Coach for Charter Bus Trips

For charter and school bus trips, Chicago Motor Coach, Inc. is your best choice for bus rentals in the Chicagoland area. We are one of the most referred and preferred bus rental companies in the city focused on group transportation – and it’s easy to see why.

We offer the best coaches that you can rent, whatever the event. Chicago Motor Coach also has many options available if you require transportation for groups of 20 or more schoolchildren.

For further questions, please contact us and Let us know how we can help you!

Your Trusted Chicago Charter Bus Rental Company
Vinny Pantchev
Owner of Chicago Motor Coach, Inc.

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