On The Road Again


Heading out to vacation, so this week will feature some favorite previous posts.  The one below is especially relevant since this year we're in the car rather than on a plane! The age of Apple has made a big difference in our ability to entertain our kids when we travel.  The Macs, iPads, iPhones, and iPods give us a slew of options that I would have killed for as a child.  However, Billy and I impose a two hour-ish "electronic" limit on our kids regardless of the length of the trip.  At some point, this means that the kids have had enough screen time and it is time to power down and spend time together as a family...just like they did in the "olden days."  That means that, at this point, we usually have to bust out car games or "find" things to talk about.

Call us gluttons for punishment.

There are multiple consequences for making the decision to turn off the video and/or iGames.  Most of them are pleasant and worth the effort.  At least one is less so.  First the bad news: our kids have been known to get car sick if they are reading while we're driving on a curvy road.  Switching out video for the written word can be, shall we say, "upsetting" to the stomach.  We should be able to mitigate this by either a) warning the kids to stop reading when we change terrain or b) keeping a plastic bag handy.  Unfortunately, we don't execute this consistently.

The good news is that we end up recycling or making up games that at least keep the short people entertained for hours.  Here are some of our favorites:

  • Pick a letter and go in circles naming things with that letter (L is for Lion, Lettuce, etc.) until someone gets stumped.  Yes, there are a lot of words out there, but the game can be surprisingly difficult when under pressure to answer...especially if you are seven.
  • Add a letter game.  Someone picks a letter - say an “s” and the next person has to add a letter without spelling a word.  In this example if you add an “a” the game continues, but if you add an “o” you’ve spelled the word “so” which means that you lose that round.  We play it so that every time you lose a round, you get one letter from the word “ Horse” – once you lose five rounds, you’re out of the game entirely.  Also – whatever letter you pick HAS TO be part of a real word.
  • Find something that we can see from where we sit that matches the letter ( E – ear! exit! Ecru! – ok – no one ever said “ecru”) – Take turns picking the letter
  • License plate game - make a sentence from the letters in a license plate – for example – BHC 308 becomes “Billy’s Hairy Chest 308”
  • Find the alphabet in order of signs and license plates
  • Acronyms using each other’s names (JOY becomes Just Ornery You)

During our recent Thanksgiving trip we started a  "rating" game that is the new fan favorite.  In this game we take turns giving a scale and then asking someone to rate something.  For example, someone said, "On the scale of 1-100, how much do you like watching the movie Cars 2?"  On the next round, another person said, "On a scale of 1-5, how much do you LOVE Taylor Swift?" As you can imagine, when you play this for an hour you learn a good deal about your family.

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you enjoy long car rides?