Bug on face

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Rick Ryckeley

What better way to start the New Year than describing the creepy-crawly on your face?

Don’t think you have a creepy-crawler sitting on the tip of your nose, hanging out in your ear or sunning itself on top of your head? Well, you’ve never ridden in a car with our two granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline.

Car wars are a common occurrence if you have small children riding along, and “Bug on Your Face” is just one of the many games we’ve created in order to keep the peace. It worked for a little while, then the war broke out once again, so a new game had to be invented … then another … and another … and still another.

So you don’t have to spent time this new year making up your own, here are some of ours, but make sure you follow all the rules and award all of the points. Trust me, failing to do so will start a new war when your backseat occupants relentlessly call out the blunder.

Bug on Your Face. An adult starts the game by identifying the person in the car with a bug on his or her face. Rotating clockwise, each occupant takes a turn describing the bug: its size, color, number of legs, whether it crawls or jumps, etc. Once everyone has taken a turn, the adult repeats each description in order out loud. (As the game progresses, this gets to be a game unto itself, and don’t worry, the kids will correct any missteps.)

The adult then adds a new characteristic and the game continues. After everyone has had one turn, anyone can end the game when it is their turn by shouting, “Smash Bug!” A new game starts by that person stating who now has a bug on their face. Special game rules: bugs are not allowed to go to the bathroom, puke or any gross things like that. One exception is that a kiss bug is allowed to kiss.

Yellow Car. Unlike Bug on Your Face, anyone can start the Yellow Car game simply by shouting out, “Yellow Car” when one is spotted. They’re awarded one point and the game continues. Cars, trucks, school buses, and motorcycles all count as yellow cars. The vehicle must be on the road or in a parking lot – construction and grading equipment do not count.

The game resets after the occupants leave the car for lunch or any other breaks. If you spot a municipality’s school bus yard, you will automatically win the game. Special game note: Catoosa County’s school bus yard is just before you enter Tennessee, off the right side of I-75 north.

I Spy with My Little Eye. We didn’t make up this car game, but we did make up the rules. Someone starts by saying, “I spy with my little eye something (insert color).” Then everyone else gets a turn asking one question describing what was spied.

For example: “Is it inside the car, front seat or back?” When it’s the adult’s turn, they review out loud all the characteristics of what has been spied (see rules for Bug on Your Face above) and the game continues. At any time, a person can guess and, if correct, start a new “I Spy” game. If incorrect, the same game continues.

Yellow Suitcase. Though not a car game, Yellow Suitcase helped us keep the peace during our recent trip back from Washington, D.C., with our granddaughters. After returning the rental car and enjoying going through airport security, we finally arrived at our gate for a three-hour wait.

After the first hour, game creation became critical for our continuing survival. While walking the concourse hand-in-hand with our two little angels, the game quickly evolved into a blend of I Spy and Yellow Car.

If you see someone wearing anything red, five points are awarded, yellow backpacks are 25, and be the first to spot a dog, you’ll get 50 points. The game is won when someone spies the elusive yellow suitcase.

Special words of caution for game participants and parents: The longer a yellow suitcase goes without being spotted, the more intense the competition will become. Children will start shouting when they spy something point-worthy. Walking up and down a concourse with children in tow shouting WILL get the attention of the TSA.

Not that that happened during our three-hour wait, mind you … just saying. But in case anyone wants to know, the TSA folks at Reagan National are very friendly and understanding.

Here’s hoping our travel games help keep the peace in your car this year. And if you create your own, please send them along. Won’t hurt to have a few extra in our arsenal.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]