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Question of the Week - Car Games

The weekend before the sickness struck down my house like the plague, the Pumpkin and I had a special weekend together with my parents.

My parents just bought a house at the beach about 2.5 hours away. That weekend was my first chance to see it since they got it in November. January in Maryland is too cold to go to the actual beach, but I wanted to see the house and spend a weekend with my girl. So the Pumpkin and I took a little road trip!

We had a great weekend together and with my parents. The house is beautiful and very comfortable. It's a 5-10 minute drive from the beach. There are three guest rooms, each with two twin beds, plus a pull-out couch in the living room. They are making it kid friendly, with a big room they are calling The Rumpus Room.

Best of all? They have agreed that it will be a peanut-free house! As soon as I brought up the issue with my mom, she quickly assured me that it would have to be a peanut-free house so that we could relax there and bring the Pumpkin without worrying constantly for her safety. What a relief!

I am planning many many MANY trips out there this spring and summer! I'm planning to go as a family, bring one or both kids myself, go by myself, and spend a lot of time with my parents, sister's family and brother's family. Plus whichever friends of our families can go. I think the only person more excited about the beach house is my parents!

But this means a lot of 2.5-3.5 hour car trips coming up. That's not too long, but just long enough to start needing some entertaining car games. My favorite car game from growing up, which I still play with Londo or even by myself, is The Alphabet Game. That's when you look out the window of the car and get each letter from A to Z. The first one to find them all wins.

The Question of the Week is:

What car games do you and your kids like to play?

My daughter is too young for the alphabet game, so I started making up some others on our way back from the beach. We looked for colors outside, calling out where we see the color (green sign!), and we looked for shapes. We also guessed the animal by the animal noise we made.

But my favorite to play with her, and I'm pretty sure he favorite also, was Name That Song! I would whistle a song, and she would call out what it was. Then she would hum one, and I would call out the name. It turns out that my girl is REALLY good at guessing the songs! We've been playing this on other car rides since then, or at other times during the day.

What about you and your family? What did you play in the car growing up? What do you play with your kids on car trips now? What games are you waiting on until they are old enough to play with you? Or do you just sing along with the radio?


Jan said…
We do "I'm going on a trip..." (You take turns, each person recites the previous list, then adds something to it to take on the trip.)

Sometime we pick a letter and try to think of every word we can that starts with that letter. You'd be amazed at how young the kid can be. They don't care if you're thinking up all (or almost all) the words.

They're just starting to like "I Spy".

We can check out and download audio books from our public library. I burn 3 or 4 onto a CD and we listen to stories.

We/sometimes just I sing fun songs. They like longer ones like "There's a Hole In The Bucket" and "The Other Day, I Met A Bear".

As a kid my favorite thing to do on long car trips was read. My daughter has just started reading chapter books (to herself) and it's really fun to look back there and see her with her nose in a book. :)

I believe, too, that long car trips (especially if it's just me and one kid) are a really fabulous opportunity for talking about stuff. We've talked about death and God and peer pressure and divorce in the car. It's a really good time for that stuff, because you won't be interrupted and nobody's going to get distracted or busy with something else. There's something else, too, that I'm finding hard to describe. As the adult, sometimes this stuff is hard or awkward to talk about. It's maybe easier if you don't have to look at your child. And I think it's maybe true for the child, too. I see my kids, sometimes, in the rearview mirror, turning over the information they've just been given in their little minds. Sometimes several minutes pass before they're ready to comment, or ask another question. I think if you're focused just on the heavy conversation, they don't take the time and space they need to process first. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

And lastly, my kids are way past this now, but when they were just learning to talk, I entertained us both by going through their vocabulary and counting. The pediatrician always told me (though I've forgotten) how many words were the norm for their ages. (Obviously my adorable supergeniuses blew that away. Duh.)
hush said…
I let my 3 year old have my cell phone to play this little jumbled picture game featuring the characters from 'Toy Story' and 'Cars.' It has worked wonders in terms of getting him to remain in his car seat without complaint for the entire car trip.
Zenmoo said…
We played a version of the alphabet game. For each letter, you had to come up with a name, country and food (ie my name is Annabelle from Austria and I like to eat Apples) and so on... I know my cousins play "I spy" using colours for their pre-reading kids. So 'I spy something that is blue...'

My husband and I sing songs, mostly Old MacDonald - Moo has just started with responses. Got no idea what animal "Gah" corresponds to in Old MacDonald, but she certainly knows when to interject. I like to come up with new and random things Old MacDonald might have on his farm. Like a toaster. Or a cowboy. Or maybe some goldfish...
Becoming Mommy said…
We dont do car games because Sasha will not concentrate. He's a running monologue of random.
Victoria said…
We are big fans of I Spy. My DD usually picks something outside the window that has long past, so being observant is crucial!
Cloud said…
My Mom's family has a rhyming game called Stink Pink, where you come up with a rhyming phrase then give everyone else a clue to guess it. The number of syllables in the "stink pink" part tells how many syllables in your phrase- so "big pig" is a stink pink, and "foggy doggy" is a stinky pinky, etc. For "big pig", I'd say that "I have a stink pink for a large porker", or something like that, and then everyone would try to guess.

Anyway, Pumpkin is still too little for that, but I suspect it will make an appearance. So far, we've just done music and her magna-doodle, and timing the long drive for a nap.
Charisse said…
Depends how long the drive is :) Mouse actually gets a little carsick if she reads in the car (I've always been the same). She's fine playing games or daydreaming or talking to us for up to 2-3 hours; after that, we call on what someone on one of my lists calls "DVDus, the god of peace and quiet". So for our most common long drive, from SF to LA, that means once we pass Harris Ranch (the midpoint and meal stop) you can watch a movie. But we don't have a built-in screen or anything, so that option is only for special occasions like a 6-hour trip.
Clare said…
We've done the alphabet game, and bingo with a road trip theme (I think you can buy cards to cross off things like stop signs, big rigs, etc, but we just made them).

Perversely, my sister and I LOVED a game that involved cows and graveyards. Every time you pass a field that has cows in it, you have to estimate how many cows you see. If it's on your side of the car, you get to "keep" the cows. But if you pass a graveyard, you have to bury all your cows. The person with the most cows at the end of the trip wins. This probably wouldn't work on a trip down the ocean in Maryland, though.

When she gets a little older, MadLibs are hysterical if you have someone to write down the words. Even my 3.5 year old can do them, if you explain what a noun or whatever is.

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