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School Bus (Car Game)

Since they were old enough to talk, my girls have been obsessed with school buses. Every time they see one driving down the road, they shout out "school bus!" It started out as a novelty, something they could get excited about during a car ride. It turned into a game, something that mommy and daddy could use to keep them from fighting while trying to drive.

Last year, I traveled quite a bit for work. While most miles were covered by air, many were covered on the road in rented minivans with three coworkers. Calling out school buses had become second nature to me, so it was only a matter of time before my colleagues asked if I was crazy. I explained the game to them, and in order to level the playing field I started writing down the rules. By this time last year, we had laminated rules and a score sheet.

For those of you hitting the road, whether you have kids or not, I thought it was time to share school bus. The rules are listed below, as well as a link to download a PDF version that you can print out and laminate at home. Bring a dry erase marker with you and use the backside to keep score. Feel free to add your own rules and prizes and share with your friends.

Good luck!



The object of the game is to collect the most points by being the first to call out a valid sighting of a school bus.


A school bus is defined as a vehicle recognizable as a traditional school bus (most notably by the drop down windows). The words “school” and “bus” do not need to be on the vehicle.

Exception: When in Mexico, green buses (public transportation), replace the traditional school bus.

A valid sighting

  • must be verified by another player
  • must be a bus in operation
  • may not be in a “bus barn”
  • is valid only when all players are together in a car


Each correct call is worth one point for the first person to make the call. A false call results in the loss of a point. The same bus cannot be called by more than one player.

In the event of a simultaneous call, the player making the call who currently has the lowest score is awarded the point. If players making the call are tied, no point is awarded.

Points accumulate until a game concludes.

A game starts at the beginning of the day when all team members are together (in a car), and it concludes once the team members are together for the last time at the end of the day.

An extra bonus point is awarded for valid sightings of non-yellow school buses.


The person at the conclusion of each game with the most points is the winner. Depending on the age of players, awards can range from getting to choose the next in-car DVD to an adult beverage paid for by the player(s) with the lowest score. In the event of a tie score, all players with the same score share agreed upon awards equally.

Download the Rules