To pass the time in the car or van, whether it is on long road trips or a jaunt to the store, the kids and I play games. Some I played as a child; others the kids and I have created. They are loads of fun and can be addicting.
One I taught the kids is Slugbug. For those who aren't familiar with this game, a slugbug is a Volkswagon Beetle. They were popular when I was growing up. Fortunately, their popularity has rebounded and they can be found in abundance nowadays. When you see a VW Bug, you yell, "SLUGBUG!" The first one to call it get a point. The person with the most points once you get to your destination wins. I find myself playing this game when I'm in the car by myself. At one time, it had gotten so bad that I knew where all the "regular" places were and would start looking for them when I was with the kids. It wasn't cheating; I was making my trips around town work to my advantage. The kids are amazed because I can see them quite a ways off. The trick: knowing the body style and headlight shapes comes in REALLY handy.
We play the same game with Ford Mustangs. When you spot a mustang, you yell "Mustang!" This one is a favorite of my kids. They love those cars (as does their mom)!
One my kids came up with was Twinkie Banana. When you find a yellow vehicle, you try to be the first to yell either "Twinkie" or "Banana" (the difference: the darker color is a twinkie; the lighter one is a banana). Sometime we just yell "Twinkie Banana" to cover all bases.
My nephew Nathan and a friend of his created another game using Dodge and Jeep vehicles. If you spot a Dodge, try to be the first to say "D-D-DODGE!" If you see a Jeep, say "BEEP-BEEP JEEP!" The person with the most wins. This is another game where knowing the body styles, headlight shapes and emblems really well works to your advantage. This is a hard game because your tongue will get twisted up, especially if you see them close together.
One I do sometimes on my own is finding vehicles all the same color. It's amazing how many vehicles you can find all of one color at one time when you're paying attention. The next time you are out driving, take a look around you and see how many cars there are all one color. It is really interesting.
A game my kids like to play on long trips is the Alphabet Game. Melanie and I used to play this when we would go on trips to Ohio and Florida to visit family. I taught this to the kids either last year or the year before and they liked it. To play, you search for signs that have the letters of the alphabet on them, starting with the letter A. Once you find the letter you are on, you move to the next one. You must go in order and you can't skip any letters. The hardest letters to find are Q, U,V and Z. You can go miles and miles before finding the right sign. You have to keep your eyes open and read every sign you see. Sometimes we play together. Other times we play individually, seeing who can get to the end first. This game can be played during the day or at night, while the car games are best during the day.
I've tried to make up a game similar to the Alphabet Games using numbers instead. I haven't had much luck on this one. This one is not as much fun because numbers are everywhere.
When I was a teenager, my friends and I would thump the ceiling of the car every time we saw a car with one headlight. Sometimes I catch myself wanting to do this for no reason. Strange, I know.
Do you have any games you and your familiy play while in the car? Are there any you played as a child? I would love to hear about them. We are always looking for something new to play.