14 Games to Play on the Train with Kids

speeding train

Written by our Web Team

5 min read | 24 May 2024


Long train journeys can be challenging for children without engaging activities tailored to their interests and the travel environment. However, with this selection of our favourite games and activities, you can ensure an entertaining and stress-free start to your train holiday.

Naturally, you’ll want to pick and try several of these ideas to keep things fresh. Here are our top 14 activities and games to play on a train to keep children happy, even on the longest journeys.

The best games to play on a train

Try these 10 kids’ train games to play without disrupting other passengers.

1. Travel bingo

Travel bingo will keep children entertained while engaging them in their surroundings.

Players cross travel-related items off their bingo grids when they see these items on the train or out of the windows. Examples might include travel coffees, suitcases, trees, and train stations.

2. Guess the animal

One person thinks of an animal, and the other players guess which animal the person is thinking of. Players can ask up to 10 questions, which must be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to help them guess.

Whoever guesses the animal gets to choose the next animal. If no one guesses within 10 questions, the person thinking of the animal chooses a new one.

3. The never-ending story

In this train game for kids, one person starts telling a story. However, they can only tell the first line. Players take turns telling the next line in the story.

While 'The never-ending story' can keep going as long as you want, you'll know it's time to switch games when the ideas start to dry up.

4. A to Z

One person chooses a topic, such as foods or places to visit. They come up with one item relating to this topic beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

When they miss a letter, they’re out, and the next player starts their turn. This player chooses a second topic and lists items from A-Z. See which player can go the furthest without missing a letter.

A young girl staring out of a train window.

5. I Spy

A classic game, ‘I Spy’ is an ideal game to play on a train. People often board and leave the train, and the outside scenery constantly changes. This provides a continuous stream of new items to guess.

The first player says, ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…’ Then, they say the first letter of the item they have chosen. The other players guess what the mystery target is, and the person who guesses correctly goes next.

6. Animal spotting

Train journeys are great for spotting new animals that your children may not see often in your local area.

This game is ideal for younger children, especially on rural train routes such as those into the Cotswolds or Lake District. Passing patchwork fields and farmland, you’ll be more likely to catch animals on these routes.

7. Guess which hand

Bring a small item, like a coin or a wrapped sweet, on the train. Hide your hands as you pass the item between them.

Bring your hands back into view and ask your children to take turns guessing which hand the item is in. The player who guesses correctly the most in one round wins.

8. The yes/no/um game

Take turns asking one player questions. They have to answer without saying ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘um.’ See who can answer the most questions without falling into this trap.

9. Play a card game

If you take a board game on a train, the occasional jostling of the train could lead to valuable pieces being lost into awkward crevices. However, card games like Uno, Monopoly Deal, and Snap are ideal games to play on trains.

Either sit at a table or use the folding tables on the back of the chairs in front to lay the cards out.

10. Who can stay quiet the longest?

While technically not a game, per se, ‘who can stay quiet the longest?’ rewards the child who goes the longest without making any noise. For parents, this game can just be a welcome break, bringing a few moments of peace on the journey.

However, beyond the peace and quiet, you can make a game of this ‘game’. Make it more fun for your children by encouraging them to do some silent activities to help them be crowned the winner.

Let’s now explore some of these activities kids can do on a train to keep them quietly engaged.

A young boy sitting at a table on a train, playing chess.

Other travel activities for kids to do on a train

Aside from travel games for kids, there are plenty of other activities children can enjoy. Here are four things to do on the train that will help keep them entertained from the start of your family adventure away from home.

1. Colouring or crafts

Arts and crafts can keep children entertained for hours. While glue or glitter crafts aren’t ideal for train journeys, non-messy crafts are easy wins. For example, you can try:

  • Colouring sheets and wax crayons

  • A friendship bracelet-making kit

  • Scratch-art

  • Sticker books

  • Activity books with puzzles like hangman and noughts and crosses

2. Follow an interactive map

Parents often hear the dreaded question, “are we nearly there yet?” when travelling. Let children track the journey's progress by encouraging them to follow the map on a tablet or phone.

You could also print a map and draw the train stations on this map before you travel. Your children can then use this map to tick off the stops on the way.

3. Listen to an audiobook

Thanks to apps like Audible, there are countless audiobooks available for children. Rather than packing a bag of heavy books, a pair of headphones is all you need to enjoy endless stories on a tablet or phone.

But if your little ones still prefer books with pictures, YouTube has many free children’s book readings available too.

4. Watch a film

Tablets and phones also make it easy for children to watch a film while on a train journey, easily filling a couple of hours. And with Avanti’s onboard Wi-Fi, you don’t have to worry about any buffering interrupting the peace and quiet.

You can make the experience more immersive for the kids by selecting films that align with your destination. Going to explore castles? A film about knights and adventures could be a hit. Beach-bound? How about a sunny, seaside story?

This way, the film not only keeps the kids entertained but also gets them excited about where you're headed, making the train journey an integral part of your travel fun.

Two young children playing a mobile phone game together on a train.

Stay entertained while travelling with Avanti

Now you have some exciting games to play on a train, it’s time to book your train tickets.

Quieter trains can be less distracting for children who want to play games and enjoy activities. Off-Peak trains are usually the quietest, as they run outside of commuter hours.

You may be able to save on your train tickets with a Family Fare, Group Ticket, or Family and Friends Railcard. This railcard allows you to save a third on adult fares and 60% on children’s tickets. The discount applies when up to four adults and up to four children aged 5-16 travel together.

The railcard typically pays for itself within three journeys, with the average group saving £114 per year.

Booking Advance Train Tickets can also save money. Sign up for Priority Ticket Alerts to hear when the best-priced tickets are available.

Sometimes, booking two Advance Tickets can be cheaper than booking one flexible return ticket. Our Best Fare Finder will show you the most cost-effective way to plan your route.


Buy train tickets for your next journey

Buying through our website or app saves you money because we never charge booking fees.

To take a look at more ways to save including using a Railcard, booking in advance, and booking as a group, visit our ways to save page.

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