Do you have great childhood memories of holding your breath through tunnels on road trips? Did your family enjoy playing games, such as trying to “collect” different state license plates, to pass the time?
For many, road trip car games like Slug a Bug and the Picnic Game have gone the way of AAA’s famous “triptik” maps, replaced by GPS gadgets and electronics.
Hours go by and the only sound in the car these days is the stilted voice of the GPS narrator and the click of portable electronic games. And most of the passengers can’t even hear that because they’re wearing earbuds.
But not everyone has given up on old-school road trip games because they can bring the family closer together and help keep the driver engaged and entertained.
Dr. Mark Adamczyk’s family created a fun game your family might enjoy on your road trip this summer.
“Basically we look at the people we are passing on the road or who pass us, and we try to make up a quick story about them,” said Dr. Adamczyk, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Akron Children’s Hospital. “For example, on a trip to Columbus for the state basketball tournament, my son and his friend and I played. We identified a British spy (a guy driving an Audi and wearing an ascot), a masseuse (young woman with a lot of beads hanging from her mirror), Morgan Freeman’s son (driving a truck) and John Cena’s dad (driving a pickup with a big beard).”
The game is a ton of fun that sparks creativity, but Dr. Adamczyk has 2 rules: “It can’t be negative and no stereotypes.”
Charlie Solley, director of government relations at Akron Children’s Hospital, plays the Hawk Game. The Hawk Game was created by Charlie’s father long ago and he has adapted it for his 4 young children.
“Anyone who has traveled around the Midwest has seen any number of hawks flying about. We have Cooper Hawks, Redtail Hawks and Sparrow Hawks. So we have developed looking for hawks into a family game,” said Charlie. “This goes back years when I actually played a similar game as a child. My father would give you a dime for every hawk you spotted if the sighting could be verified by another passenger.”
In the game Charlie’s family plays, the first passenger in the car to spot 3 hawks in a row is named the Hawk Master and holds the title until someone else spots 3 hawks in a row.
“The nice thing about traveling in Ohio is that hawks are everywhere so the game is typically pretty active,” Charlie said. “That said, you really have to concentrate on scanning the fence lines and trees as you drive, so it keeps the kids occupied and off their devices.”
The Solley family record for hawk sightings is 38 in a 2-hour drive.
It doesn’t matter if Wendy Sawyer is traveling 10 minutes to the store or taking a 6-hour family road trip, her family loves to play the guess-what-I-am-looking-at game called I Spy.
“My husband, Paul, was a summer camp counselor and he used to play it with the campers when they went for long hikes or canoe rides,” said Wendy, a recruiter in volunteer services at Akron Children’s. “He started playing it with our girls when they were little. They love it.”
I’m Going To The Moon
One of Andrea Joliet’s favorite road trip games is I’m Going To The Moon. Her family had 2 twists for this one.
In the first twist, passengers take turns naming an object they’re going to bring to the moon in alphabetical order. Each passenger has to repeat the objects in order, and add another one to the list.
- Player 1: “I’m going to the moon, and I’m bringing an airplane.”
- Player 2: “I’m going to the moon, and I’m bringing an airplane and a boat.”
- Player 3: “I’m going to the moon, and I’m bringing an airplane, a boat and a canoe.”
In the second twist, passengers name objects that begin with their first and last initial. They don’t have to repeat the objects in order but they cannot repeat an object that has already been listed.
“Using your initials can be really challenging because often family members share at least one initial, and for my daughter and me, we shared both the first and last initial so you really had to think hard,” said Andrea, director of corporate communications at Akron Children’s.
Who’s the Brainiest of them all?
To help break up the boredom of long car rides, Dr. Greg Omlor and his wife, Michele, would entertain their daughters Liz and Jen by playing Brain Quest, a curriculum-based question and answer game. His girls are adults now but the fun memories remain.
“My girls would read the questions to us and it was something that allowed everyone in the car to interact together,” said Dr. Omlor, a pediatric pulmonologist at Akron Children’s. “The one trip that stands out was when we went to Williamsburg. They used to compete to see who could answer the question first. They always got excited when dad couldn’t answer a question that they could.”