With the abundance of DVD players installed in many of today’s new vehicles, long family road trips never again have to result in whining, crying and traumatic emotional scarring.
So you´re driving by the purple mountains majesty? Eh. Why bother appreciating them as a family when it´s so much easier to slip in a disc, slap headphones on the kids, and lull them into a glazed stupor? Why, it would be almost as if they weren´t even there. But despite how tempting that may be, I´ve discovered that traveling with my kids doesn´t have to include packing modern appliances or sedatives (for me, not them). With a little ingenuity and a high tolerance for cyclonic messes in the back seat, any family can survive a long distance jaunt together; maybe even enjoy it. All it takes is a little planning and a few games.
Travel Bingo , Pocket Scrabble, Mad Libs and License Plate Bingo are just a few games that have entertained and educated my children while we were on the road. They provided amusement, got us talking, and sometimes even incorporated the scenery that whizzed by the car windows.
However, there were a number of games that my siblings and I played on road trips as youngsters that I recommend stay at home where they belong (or in the prison yard where they most surely originated.)
Provoke the Trucker -this consisted of us kids shaking our fists out the back window at the burly truck driver in the 18-wheeler behind us, who would gesture profanely at my bewildered father as he whooshed by us.
Etch-A-Sketch -you would think this would make a good travel toy until the user, shaking it vigorously within the close confines of the back seat, "accidentally" (aka on purpose) gives you a concussion by smacking you in the head with it.
Mystery Writing -this game consisted of a child (usually the older) pinning down another child (usually the younger) and drawing humorous pictures and phrases in permanent ink over areas of exposed flesh. This was a detestable game, especially if a child was sensitive and easily embarrassed by having the word "booger" tattooed across his or her forehead.
Slug Bug -this was a brutal game that I despised, mostly because I was never as quick or packed as much punch as my siblings, who always managed to quip, "no backs" seconds before delivering the death blow.
Road Kill Soup -a gruesome game whereby the winner was the one who could positively I.D. the most smooshed pitiful livestock remains gathering flies in the ditch.
Retailers would be wise to encourage parents to stock up on travel games now. Left to their own devices, kids will come up with games of their own, such as Hide (the Tuna Salad in the Trunk) and Seek. I can guarantee after WE played that one, none of us felt inspired.