We are seasoned car-trippers. Last summer we travelled 499.5 miles to Orono, Maine. (Yes, I mapquested the mileage.)
Here’s the funny part about our long car rides.
First, we have a small SUV with only one row of back seats. And in that row are three, very tightly squeezed carseats. Close carseats=close sibling love. (Maybe not.)
Second, our radio and CD player broke over a year ago, when our then, 2-year-old son placed a quarter into the CD slot. Oh wait, I was able to retrieve the quarter with a part of tweezers. It was the penny that caused the radio to short-circuit. A CD still remains stuck inside. Which one?, I’m not sure.
So, on long trips, we have to make the best of mom’s imagination and games. Here are a few of our favorites…
1. Yellow Car! I Win! We learned this fun car game from a neighborhood boy who is our occasional mommy-helper. It’s a simple game. Whenever you see a yellow car, you shout, “Yellow car!, I win!” The kids absolutely love it. Commercial vehicles are banned from the game (sorry Merry Maids) and buses, too.
There are also different versions of the game. Someone once told me you are supposed to touch the roof of the car when you yell, “Yellow Car!” If you really want to know the official rules, visit the official Yellow Car Game site.
My eldest son, though, made-up a bunch of his own rules to make the game more interesting and to achieve a true winner. He decided each yellow car is worth 2 points. Golden yellow cars are 4 points. Purple cars at 5 points. Pink cars, the rarest car to find (he believes), are 10 points. Highest points WINS!
My 3-year-old, on the other hand, likes to take it to a new level of imagination. He states, “Red car! I win!,” “Green car! I win!,” “White car!, I win!,” all in succinct, rapid succession. He’s having fun and we’re laughing. Happy memories are made, that’s what matters.
2. Punch Buggy! We all know this childhood game accompanied with a good punch in the arm.
Our family?, we play the non-violent version, though— hands are kept to oneself. We also play alternative versions. For example…
Hug Bug! for Mini Coopers
Bruiser Cruiser! for PT Cruisers.
What to do when you see a yellow VW Beetle? Simply state, “Punch Buggy; yellow car, I win!”
3. Rainbow Cars. Teach your children the colors of the rainbow while also passing the time away!
Eyes peeled, we need to find one car in each of the colors of a rainbow, in order. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. (We tried the indigo; it didn’t work well because no one in our family really understands to concept of indigo. And violet, we just call it purple. Roy G. Biv would be so disappointed in us.)
This game can last a long time because, let’s face it, purple cars are hard to find. On a recent trip to Long Island, it wasn’t until the 3 hour trip home that we found a purple car. I was the gate-keeper, but when we completed our rainbow, the whole family felt successful. And relieved.
4. I Spy. Green is a common color to spy when driving on a highway. Do you agree? Trees, grass, signs, cars… there’s also a lot of black. I did buy the I Spy Go Fish card game and that only lasted about 5 minutes. The traditional game is much better.
5. Mommy as Mater. Or any other vehicle from Cars. On our road trip, my son brought his bag of Cars figurines and I, for hours, kept my three children entertained as I used a silly southern accent to animate his little Mater truck. Mater talked about everything, from scenes in the movie, to the need to take a nap, to my husband’s bald head. I also played the French race car, Raoul Caroul, and Lightning McQueen. Instant cartoon and interactive, too! My children loved that Mater knew their names and made funny jokes.
Do you have any fun car games you play on road trips? Share them with us!
We’re heading north in the fall to peep at the leaves, so we could use some good ideas.
Or maybe we should just get the radio fixed and bring a DVD player.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog by Brenda Milouchev, a New Jersey mom. You can also find her at Meridian MomTourage, where she recently wrote about a stress-free family vacation without toys.
Photo credit given to Ferry Dust.