As Bruce & I are getting ready for a road trip to my family reunion, I've been thinking a lot about the ways people entertain themselves in cars. We just bought an SD card to copy a significant portion of our music library on it so we'd have stuff to listen to along the way. We used to use CD's, & we always started with Pulp Fiction, but we recently got a more versatile car stereo.
Anyway, what astounds me is all the people with TV's & DVD players in their cars to entertain their kids. We used to drive all over Ohio & Michigan (& a couple times all the way to Florida) when I was growing up. We weren't even allowed to read (except for maps or directions). We were supposed to talk to each other or enjoy the scenery. So we played games!
I had this great car bingo set with cards for different types of animals, or vehicles, or buildings, that you marked off as you went. Of course, we also played the Alphabet Game & the License Plate Game, but we had two family favorites that usually filled the majority of our trips - Inky Dinky & Double Rhyming & Guessing.
Inky Dinky is a rhyming game. One person comes up with a phrase that rhymes & gives a clue to the other players. The Inky Dinky part references the number of syllables in the phrase. For instance: depressed father, ink dink. If you answered "sad dad," you've got the gist. Double Rhyming & Guessing is one I think Mom & I made up ourselves. It's very similar, but involves adding more or different words. For instance, using the above example, we might say "now he's happy" to indicate an answer of "glad dad" or we'd say "depressed dad's apartment," which, of course, translates to "sad dad's pad," etc..
Bruce & I invented our current favorite driving game a few years ago. It's called Spot the Buick. The impetus for the game was the fact that, at the time, we & Bruce's parents both drove burgundy Buicks. During a trip home to visit them, we noticed there are an overwhelming number of Buicks in Ohio & Michigan! So, we started counting in Columbus & we had well over 150 points by the time we got home to Durham!
We have a grand time playing Spot the Buick. The rules are simple: 1 point for each Buick, 2 if it's burgundy, 3 if it's Mom & Dad Loebrich's burgundy Buick (only counts once per trip if we're caravanning with them). Since it's our game, we reserve the right to make up other rules - I once gave a burgundy Buick 3 points because the back seat was full of teddy bears! Because we're also kind of car nerds, & we're watching the traffic anyway, we also keep a rough tally of unusual cars we see - like Maseratis or Rolls Royces - &, of course, now that we drive one, we also count Smart Cars.
Driving games are fun - some of our friends invented a game that involves counting cows & can result in resurrected zombie cows if you pass a church & a cemetery in the right order! - I highly recommend interactive driving games that involve watching scenery & laughing with your traveling companions. It's the only way to go - & if you happen to spot a Buick (or the vehicle of your choice) along the way, feel free to make up your own rules & start playing!