It’s my belief that every child should have that one weird aunt. You know, the one who will illustrate the kids’ stories about LeBron James, buy ill-advised potentially dangerous Christmas gifts, and laugh at the kids’ butt jokes. This is important, because it teaches kids that silliness doesn’t stop when you become an adult. [Parents don’t get to be quite as silly because they’re the ones who have to make sure the children don’t get lost, injure themselves or make butt jokes.]
However, being the weird aunt isn’t so fun when you’re in a car with kids (unless they’re the kids who have those portable DVD players or you’re an adult with a portable DVD player). In fact, I believe car rides with kids are the primary form of transportation between Dante’s circles of hell.
Between driving my local nephews around and being wedged between carseats in my parents’ van for out-of-town trips, I’ve finally got it somewhat worked out: if I’m the one driving, it’s better to run the show than it is to leave the kids to their own devices — unless the devices are electronic, then have at it kiddos! Here are a few of the weird games we do that don’t entirely suck. You could probably use these with adults, as well. Hey, sometimes we all get a little fussy in the car.
So maybe a lady in a shirtdress and two little boys aren’t the most authentic rap trio, but it helps pass the time if you’re with kids who are old enough to know what rhyming is. There’s a few ways to do it – have them give you one line then you come up with the rhyme to follow it, or maybe decide on a topic then just roll with it. We are big fans of the old-school classics: spelling things (the trick is to add the words “to the” between the letters, guys), making others repeat things (when I say ___ you say ___!), and commanding people to put their hands in the air.
Whatever, it’s better than the license plate game.
The Rhyming Game
Similar to the above, but makes no pretense of being music. They give you a silly sentence, you rhyme it, and you go back and forth creating a story or poem.
The Question Game
This one is such a hit with little guys! Everything you say has to be a question, and the first person to make a statement instead of a question loses.
Okay. I’ll admit it. I have taught them most of the parts of the drinking game Kings. I might be the worst person ever.
Gently mocking annoying drivers
Is it hard to keep from swearing at bad drivers when you have kids in the car? Oh, no no no. You just have to gently mock them instead. Actually, this is what I do when I’m driving by myself too. You pick the type of voice that goes with their car and have at it.
Dumb, Slow voice: Hi, I’m Bob. I have a truck. This is my truck. It can go in any lane! It can go in every lane. Go, truck! Go!
Heavy vocal fry: I’m soo busy. Ohmygod. Ew. Stop siiiiigns? Are for poor people. Gross.
Silly Voice Contest
… which brings us to the silly voice contest. Everybody picks a different silly voice and a persona to go with it, and sticks with it until somebody breaks. It’s not really a “contest” because seriously, everybody wins here. Or loses, depending on your tolerance for bits that go on way to long.
World’s Worst Trifle
When you’ve run out of drinking games to teach to children, start using Friends episodes instead. I know you all remember the beef trifle, and this is a game along those lines. Everyone adds a different layer to create the world’s worst combination of flavors and textures imaginable. I suppose you could make this some sort of educational memory game by going in alphabetical order and repeating all the other layers before adding a new one but I’m obviously not trying to make things too classy here.
Songs In The Style Of…
Whatever’s on the radio, you have to sing it in the style of somebody else. Iggy Azalea in the style of Kidz Bop? One Direction in the style of Blues Traveler? Miley Cyrus in the style of a 1920s lady at a speakeasy? Actually, my nieces and nephews don’t do this, but they do have to listen to me do it – and to be honest, those are all things I sang by myself on the way to work this week alone. Sometimes the adult should get to have fun too.