Friday, April 20, 2012


Quality, Antiques, Dairy Queen.  Besides the letter Q what can these things have in common?

Before the invention of the hand held video game, before the invention of the portable DVD player there was The Alphabet game! We had to find ways for our kids to be entertained in the car on long trips.  Short of stopping more often to let them burn off energy and carrying snacks and drinks in the car in a cooler, we played games.

Everyone kept an eye out for billboards and road signs.  You started with A and whoever said the word and the letter first got that letter.  My kids were always trying to beat me at it.  Sometimes I would almost let them win and then slaughter them in the end with a Z word.  Of course as they got older they got better at it and sometimes I even lost for real.

Q was the first letter that we always got stuck on.  Not that many Q words on the highway.  You had to look for Quality Automotive or maybe Quality Inn.  Roadside antique stores and the occasional Dairy Queen.  Being stuck on Q pretty much allowed everyone to catch up and sit on the edge of their seats to be the first one to see the Q word.

Then there was V closely followed by Z as the next hard letters to find.  V's were usually found in city or county names, where Z sometimes only came in big cities with Zoos or truck Plazas.  We could play about 6 or 7 games before the kids got bored with that one.

In the sparsely populated parts of the country was the game of Cows and Horses.
Cows are worth 1 point and horses 2.  The very scarce goat was 3 points.  Each kid would take their side of the road and every time they saw one of these farm animals they had to count, out loud, how many they saw until they were out of site.  Cows were 1, 2, 3 etc. Horses were 2, 4, 6, etc and of course goats were counted by 3's.  Whoever had the most points at the end of the designated time or miles won.  Or whoever reached 500 first won.  Now, if you passed a graveyard on your side of the car you lost ALL your points.  Listening to them count as fast as their mouths could go when we passed a large herd of cattle was cause for lots of giggles.

And of course there was always the popular "I spy".  I spy....something green (or whatever color the object was, inside or outside the car) and then the guessing would begin.  Sometimes the object was guessed and sometimes there was giving up.  And of course each kid wanted to be the "I spyer".  If you guessed you got to be next.  If everyone gave up then you got to be the "I spyer" again.

So, if you remember these car games then I would imagine you are older than 25 or 30.  If you don't, then you are either too young or you didn't take very many long trips as a kid.  Either way you missed out.  Try it next time you are in the car for a long trip and want to turn off the electronics.  You might find it's fun.


  1. Stopping in from the A to Z Challenge and great to meet you! Car games were fun. I had three siblings and on long drives our parents insisted we play them. Or else.

  2. Visiting from the A-Z challenge, and I'm all for less (or none) electronics... Then again, I don't have kids, so it's easy for me to imagine banning beeping machines from my immediate surroundings. I loved these car games. One we'd play often was counting cars: someone would get blue cars, someone else red cars, someone else another color, or trucks, or something. Whoever saw the most of their assigned color/vehicle won. Or we'd sing--my mom and I especially liked to sing, and one of my earliest memories is trying to teach her the songs we'd learned in kindergarten. There was a lot of "no, Mom!" involved :D

    Thanks for the happy memories!

  3. J was the first letter we always got stuck on! :) My kids are finally old enough to play and its still fun! And you always beat us!!!! :)

    1. Maybe you got stuck on J, but not me!

  4. We have kids so we also have electronics...but we try to provide a balance of the old and the new.
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (around #776 on A to Z list)


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