I’m not teaching you anything new here, folks. I’m just jogging collective memory. Do you remember, back in the day, before awesome podcasts and movies and iPads and iPods and iPhones came along to keep everyone busy on long trips?
“You mean back when there was only black and white TV and dinosaurs roamed the Earth?” say my kids. Yeah. Then. Sitting in the backseat, untethered by seatbelts, we’d play Car Games.
Sometimes they were complicated, like the one where my older brother and I made up this whole radio variety show using the dome light as our microphone and we were the hosts and all the special guests too. We played that for months.
Although it is great to have something that keeps everyone busy in the car individually, I have found that engaging the whole group can keep those young brilliant minds and imaginations entertained far more than just a movie alone. When the whole family is collaborating on a solid goal like “find a _____ we haven’t seen yet!” well, it is just bonding, folks. And it makes transition times a lot easier on everyone. Alone time and together time at the same time. It’s a mashup of needs for a long trip and Car Games create that. Here are a few, just to remind you.
License Plate Game: A surprisingly fun game for all ages. All you have to do is keep your eyes peeled for license plates from all 50 states. Can you find them all? If you don’t get every one on your trip, can you find the rest in your own town? You’d be surprised.
A few summers ago, I felt like all I did was haul my kids from camps to playdates to swimteam to… We played the license plate game just to give us something to think about besides traffic. That’s when we noticed that cool stuff would happen – like maybe a blue station wagon would cut me off at the light, BUT, it has a Nebraska license plate. Awesome! Check Nebraska off the list!
Alphabet Game: Together you try to find all the letters in the Alphabet in order using road signs. Only one sign per letter. You’d be surprised how challenging this game can be. You can make it a competition if that makes it fun for your particular group, but I prefer to play it as Team Family. Some letters can be pretty hard to come by. Thank goodness for places like Xenia, Ohio. Just sayin’…
Animal Game: What animals can you see? Horses and cows become very exciting when you play the animal game. Even driving through the midwest you’ll see llamas and lambs, donkeys and chickens, geese and maybe even snakes if you’ve got hawkeye kids. Turns out, most people do.
What else, my friends? Do you have a game to share? It takes a village to keep the family happy on a 12-hour trip, even if where you end up is the beach. Let us know.